On Nov. 13, the world woke up to the announcement that André 3000 — the seven-time GRAMMY winning and 23-time nominated Outkast star — would release his debut (!) solo album, New Blue Sun, on Nov. 17.
Via an NPR scoop, stunned to learn there are "no bars, no beats, no sub-bass. André doesn't sing on this joint, either." Rather, the instrumental, 87-minute album is the culmination of a years-long preoccupation with various flutes — including contrabass, Mayan, bamboo, and a variety of digital models.
And in their reactions, some of those fans spoke for all of us.
"Andre 3000 has about as much critical goodwill as it's possible to have and he is going to test every fiber of that collective empathy," one journalist and editor opined on X. Another music writer and editor chimed in: "This is the tracklisting. This is going to mess up so many peoples' Spotify algorithms."
And Roy Wood Jr., a correspondent on "The Daily Show," summed it up: That boy trained wit Pai Mei & got a Hattori Hanzo Flute. He ready."
With New Blue Sun on the immediate horizon, here's everything we know about it.
It's Built On Improvisation
As NPR points out, New Blue Sun materialized in part due to André's relocation from Atlanta — where Outkast famously hails from — to Los Angeles. There, he ran into the potent percussionist and experimental jazzer, Carlos Niño.
After André and his flute began dropping by Niño's house for basement jam sessions, he was introduced to a whole new world of collaborators, including keyboardist (and Alice Coltrane disciple) Surya Botofasina and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Nate Mercereau.
"We're listening to each other, we're responding to each other, we're supporting each other at certain times… it's kind of mirroring real life," the artist told NPR. "It's a full living, breathing album because it's fully alive. We didn't sketch it out."
The Titles Are Absolutely Gonzo
Check them out for yourself:
I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A "Rap" Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time
The Slang Word P(*)ssy Rolls Off The Tongue With Far Better Ease Than The Proper Word Vagina . Do You Agree?
That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control ... Sh¥t Was Wild
BuyPoloDisorder's Daughter Wears A 3000™ Button Down Embroidered
Ninety Three 'Til Infinity And Beyoncé
Ghandi, Dalai Lama, Your Lord & Savior J.C. / Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, And John Wayne Gacy
Ants To You, Gods To Who ?
Dreams Once Buried Beneath The Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens
Have Gandhi, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the Dalai Lama ever appeared in the same song title? We think not.
The Album Title Represents Rebirth
André described New Blue Sun's title in heavily sci-fi, yet personal terms.
"The next world or the next beings will be under a bluer, cooler burning sun. It will burn cooler, but it will be large," he explained to NPR. "So when you look up at the sky in these times, there'll be this larger globe of bluish, still bright but bluish because it's cooler. It's kind of like this whole album and this whole direction is a new world for me."
It Represents A Culmination Of His Interest In Jazz
In said interview, André 3000 shouts out jazz/pop crossovers, like Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" and Chuck Mangione's "Feels So Good," as galvanizing.
"As a rapper, I associated jazz music with old people and elevator music," he admitted. "I remember that playing on the radio as a kid and humming the melodies. So I'm getting affected by these instrumental cats. And once I started really getting into it, I'm like, hold up: Jazz was the rap of that time."
From there, he absorbed John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Yusef Lateef… the rest is history.
"That Night In Hawaii…" Is About An Ayahuasca Trip
Yes, he really did turn into a panther… or felt like it.
"We did it like a three-night kind of phase. The first night was inviting and beautiful and the most powerful love and connection with all things I've ever felt in my life," he said — and the second was a different story.
"My stomach was hurting, my mouth contorted like a panther and I actually turned into a panther," he related. "And I was doing like GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR — like, that kind of thing."
If you find yourself purring for this strange, lovely offering, check it out this Friday, and read the full NPR interview — and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more info about New Blue Sun!
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