GQ Style managed to pin down the very elusive Andre 3000 for a rare interview session. Speaking with GQ Style’s editor-in-chief, Will Welch, Mr. 3000 opens up about what led him to move to New York City, feeling enabled, his new Tretorn collection, the death of his father, not having a partner to help with life’s issues, Big Boi being a better rapper than him, making new music and Anita Baker.
Below are some mouth-watering excerpts from the interview.
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was 2003, so…
Yeah, around there. Before that album, I moved to California. It started a little bit before then, and I just chucked it off as Aw, yeah, man, I just need to take a break. And I started to notice it getting worse and worse. Because the more you run from it, the worse it gets. You don’t want to explain it, because you don’t want to be a weak link around your friends. I never told my crew for a long time, so I just started getting to myself. Spending more time with myself and stopped touring. And it felt great for me to do that, because it’s like, Phew, I don’t like that life, I don’t like that confrontation.
For your famous “Hey Ya!” performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, were you having those feelings?
Yeah, I mean, a curse can also be a gift. So if you’re watching the “Hey Ya!” video or that performance, I was really nervous. So it made me just move really fast. In the “Hey Ya” video, I didn’t make that shit up like a routine or anything. They were just like, Go! And I’m like, All right. Fuck. [moves fast] And of course that’s what people responded to. And I hated it. So after those times, it was like, All right, I’m done.
Financially, are you in a place where money doesn’t affect your decisions about releasing music?
Well, I can’t say that I don’t buy a lot of things. And I do a lot for family and friends. But it’s not like I’ve got five cars and three big houses, I’m supporting all these women, or I gotta support my coke habit. So right now, I don’t have to worry about those things. But who knows what it’ll be in five, ten years.
Part of me just wants to say, Come on, man! Put out more music! Let us decide if it’s worth it.
I’m with that, because I want to hear both sides of it. But if I were to drop dead right now, honestly, we’ve done it. And that’s the truth. You know what I mean? Here’s the only thing that I would regret: Man, you know, there is still that album that you wanted to do.
What do you mean?
Like, I wanted to put out my own project. Things I’ve been working on. But that’s for my personal [satisfaction], you know? And when my dad passed away, there was mourning for him dying, but there was a whole ’nother wave of mourning because I realized, Whoa, he died in his house alone. And I wondered: Had he done everything he wanted to do?
You know people still think of you as sober and vegan, right?
Yeah, my life has changed a lot. I was a vegan/vegetarian for like 14, 15 years. After our first album, we were going hard, out on the road, doing drugs, partaking in every woman, and I started to see myself deteriorate. I would look in the mirror and be like, “You look like shit.” So I got to a point where I said, I gotta stop. So I went that way and tried it. What’s funny is this idea that people have of me as being straight-edge. My homie Cee-Lo, from Goodie Mob, he has this joke. He’s like, “Man, I don’t know why these women think we’re sitting cross-legged with incense like some Buddhists, praying with our hands. I mean, we out here fucking these bitches.” [laughs]
The truth is, you have some pretty raw sex raps. But people’s image of you is unshakable.
We’re human. I try to find the goodness in the world and like, you know, I mean, even Jesus—Jesus had to get a little bit, you know what I mean?
I mean, I hate to say it like this, but Martin Luther King, he was out there, you know what I mean? Just because you have a natural urge and you follow it, it doesn’t mean that you can’t want the best for people and the best for yourself. And now, to be honest, when I write about sex, it’s more like: I’m on a time clock. I’m getting older, so you want to get it all in.
So are you going to the studio? Are you making music?
Actually, I hate going to the studio. So what’s got me going once again is me being excited about other artists. I’ve been working on producing a few artists. A couple projects. But here’s the crazy thing: I don’t have the pulse anymore. Rhythms change every generation. The intensity and the drums change. And I’m not on the pulse. I can’t pretend. It’s kinda like watching your uncle dance. So the only thing I can do is this kind of novelty, off thing for them.
Read the full interview here. Believe me, it’s worth it.
Image via GQ Style.