Photo by Philip Cosores
André 3000 is known to most as a hip-hop legend, but his rap appearances have been pretty limited over the last few years. Luckily, 2016 was an atypically busy year for ATLien with guest appearances with everyone from Frank Ocean to Solange to A Tribe Called Quest. Still, fans might want to be cautious about holding their breath for a solo record or another OutKast effort, as André revealed in a profile for Complex that rap is “more like a hobby for” him at this point in his life.
The Complex story was focused on his fashion career, specifically his role as Creative Director for Swedish shoe company Tretorn. He said he prefers the collaborative nature of acting and fashion design to the solo stress of working on his own music. That’s why most of his recent rap work has been as a featured artist. “I work better with other people. I clearly see that now,” André said. “Like, I haven’t put out an album in years, but if Frank Ocean or Travis Scott calls and says, ‘Hey, man, I want you to be a part of this,’ it’s like I have a goal, a target. When I’m on my own, I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs, like, ‘Ah, I’ll do it tomorrow.’ It’s different. There’s a kind of certain magic when you work with other people.”
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But that doesn’t mean a new collaboration with his OutKast brother Big Boi is an intriguing proposition for his creative mind. “If we never do another album, I’m totally fine with that,” he admitted. “When I was 25, I said I don’t want to be a 30-year-old rapper. I’m 42 now, and I feel more and more that way. Do I really want to be 50 years old up there doing that?”
“It’s really just an excitement thing, and where I am in life. I kind of like not being a part of [rap], now that I’ve done it. As I get older, I start to see myself move more back from it — the hustle and bustle of putting out an album, the pressure of being in the studio trying to come up with something. Now it’s more like a hobby for me, so I don’t think about it in that way.”
Sure, people would kill to have a hobby like hip-hop become their career focus, but it seems André 3000 is happier now being André Benjamin, fashion and acting mogul. “When I watch other rappers that are my age I commend them, but I just wonder where the inspiration is coming from,” he concluded. “At this stage I’m really more focused on what I am going to be doing 10 years from now. And I hope to God it won’t be rapping.”