Andre 3000 Speaks On Hendrix Biopic And What’s Next
On becoming his idol Jimi Hendrix in the new biopic:
“I wanted André for the role, beyond the music, because of where he was psychologically — his curiosity about the world was a lot like Jimi,” said John Ridley, the film’s writer and director, who also wrote the screenplay for “12 Years a Slave.”
Given that playing Hendrix had been discussed for so long, were you reluctant?
I may have said it to John [Ridley]: “Man, I’m old. I have gray hair. Get some young unknown kid to play Hendrix.” I turned it down. They kept at it. I actually asked my son, [Seven]. He said, “Yeah, man.” Honestly, I needed it in my life, too. Hendrix kind of saved me. I was in a not-so-great space, just in a dark place every day. I needed something to focus on to get me out of my depression and rut. Sometimes, when you’re alone, you can let yourself go. I knew if I got on a train with a lot of different people, then I couldn’t let them down.
On aging in Hip Hop:
I’ve heard you say that you didn’t want to become an old rapper.
I remember, at like 25, saying, “I don’t want to be a 40-year-old rapper.” I’m 39 now, and I’m still standing by that. I’m such a fan that I don’t want to infiltrate it with old blood.
But over the last five years, you’ve recorded maybe three or four guest appearances a year, and those verses are always really strong.
I struggle with the verses. I don’t sit around and write raps, I just don’t. Now the only time I’m really inspired to write raps is if an artist that I enjoy invites me to their party. So if Future calls and says, “Hey man, I want you to do this,” I don’t want to let Future down. I don’t want to let Lil Wayne or Drake down, because I love them.
But when you show up to the party, do you believe that you have something to contribute?
My son, he’s 16. Him and his buddies, they’ll be in the car, and I’ll say, “Hey, what do you think about this verse?” That’s my gauge at this point. I don’t have the pulse. Part of art is knowing when not to put paint on. And when to change your medium.
Why the tour now, then?
Honestly, I never planned to go onstage again in that way. If I feel like I’m getting to a place where it’s mimicking or a caricature, I just want to move on. But I felt like: Let me do it now ’cause these kids [in the audience], it feels good to know that they’re happy. I really don’t actually get anything from performing.
On if we’ll EVER hear a new 3 stacks project:
So no plans to put out an album, but we might get a gallery show?
No, I’d love to put out an album.
Sung or rapped?
It’s hard to say. [Laughs.] I’m just going to call it honest. I know this may sound morbid, but I was like, if I were to die today, I have all these half-songs on my hard drive, and I don’t want that.
But you don’t have a time window.
When you feel it, it’s right. If you don’t feel it, then why? Honestly, think about it. Why do it? Why?
We won’t hold our breath on that album release date…but super excited for the Hendrix film! Will you be watching?