Andre 3000 GQ Style Interview
Andre “3000” Benjamin is widely considered “top 5 dead or alive” among many hip-hop enthusiasts…but apparently doesn’t even feel as though he’s a particularly great rapper.
3000 revealed this and other tidbits to GQ in their upcoming holiday issue, all while flaunting his idea for Anita Baker tees and merch. Benjamin sat down with GQ style to talk fashion, social anxiety, and being much more of a “stereotypical rapper” than a lot of folks seem to think.
First, he reveals that he has a clinically diagnosed social disorder that adversley affects his comfort level with touring and performing:
I was diagnosed with this social thing. I didn’t notice it until I became an entertainer. I don’t know if it’s the shock of all kind of people coming up to you, or the expectations, but I got to this place where it was hard for me to be in public without feeling watched or really nervous.
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.
And, while folks look at him as the “enlightened one” and his rap partner Big Boi as more the “hood rapper,” their roles are severely reversed when it comes to their personal lives:
I can say, man, my partner, Big Boi, has always been on it. He’s sharp. He always knew the right decisions. He got into a real relationship really early. Right before our second album, he had a kid, and he and the girl stayed together, and they’re married now. I did the opposite. I’m all over the place. I never went on real dates. I don’t want to meet anybody’s parents. Like, I’m a fucking rapper.
The secret reality of OutKast is that while Big Boi was “street,” and you guys were marketed as “the player and the poet,” he’s always been super on it.
Big Boi is smart as f*ck. We went to the same high school. I dropped out in 11th grade. Big Boi graduated with honors. When you watch early OutKast videos, Big Boi’s the leader. He always had the confidence, where I was kind of like the shy one. Big Boi can rap better than me—I always said that. If somebody said, “Pick who you want from OutKast to go to battle with you,” it wouldn’t be me. ’Cause like, what I’ma do? Say some mind shit? You can’t have thoughts in a battle—nobody gives a shit about that.
The entire piece is definitely worth a read. Do you think we’ll EVER get a solo project from this guy?
Jason Nocito for GQ