When you’re listing the most influential people of the early 2000s, you’d be remiss not to include OutKast's André Lauren Benjamin aka André 3000. We could go on and on about the many, many ways he influenced so many people’s lives starting back in the late ‘90s and continuing until, well, now, but we don’t need to do that because, obviously, you already know about André 3000.
Only, it’s probably likely that it’s been a while since you last saw him, right? Pretty much every single person on Earth saw him in the music video for “Hey Ya!” and then what? What happened to André 3000? As of 2023, he's officially coming back to the game.
What happened to André 3000?
André 3000 has previously taken a considerable step back from the spotlight throughout his career. He has made a few public appearances, including a 2014 OutKast reunion tour, but other than that has kept very under-the-radar.
Despite keeping a low profile, André has still kept busy. He said that he’s recorded “hours and hours” of music files and has also designed an entire line of merchandise for Anita Baker and his own clothing line called “Benjamin Bixby.”
In 2018, he dropped two new songs on SoundCloud. He also hosts his own radio show on Sirius XM.
Now, 17 years after becoming a solo act, André is gearing up to share some new music. On Nov. 14, 2023, he announced a brand-new solo album entitled New Blue Sun. The album is set to be released on Nov. 24. Reportedly, it will be an "entirely instrumental album centered around woodwinds."
It certainly sounds like it'll be a departure from his previous work, but the mere fact that André is ready to release new music after more than a decade is cause for celebration in and of itself.
Why did André 3000 stop making music? He's dealt with social issues in the past.
The end of his hiatus is pretty historic, but at this point, it should come as no surprise that it's taken him this long to release new music.
In a 2017 interview with GQ, he spoke a bit about being diagnosed with a “social thing” that may explain some of his absence from the public eye.
“I didn’t notice it until I became an entertainer,” he said. “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. [...] [I]t started to bleed over into my normal life. I’d just meet new people and I would freak out or have to leave.”
“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.”
Obviously, famous people are still people, and needing some personal time is totally understandable. However, he certainly hasn't been twiddling his thumbs with new music coming down the pipeline.