The legendary Atlanta artist is releasing his debut solo record, New Blue Sun, on Nov. 17.

By Noah A. McGee

Well, I’ll be damned. I guess Killer Mike wasn’t teasing.

After years of begging for new music from Andre 3000, he has finally granted our wish (but not in the way that you think).

His debut solo album, New Blue Sun, is set to release on Friday, Nov. 17. On Tuesday, Dre revealed that the record will be an 87-minute, instrumental album where he will be playing the flute almost the entire time.

That’s right. No dope world play. No double entendres. No triple entendres. No GOAT claims. Just music, in its purest form. Disappointed about the decision? Andre 3000 doesn’t care.

In an interview with NPR, Three Stacks discussed how difficult it’s been for him to write new music, saying, “So, in these times, it just comes harder for me to do it and I don’t know why. I mean I try it all the time. It’s not like I don’t try or it’s not like I have a lot of these songs just sitting — I have songs but it’s not like rap things that I really feel happy about sharing. And really, that’s the most important part. I have to feel happy about sharing it.

He continued, “That’s why New Blue Sun was something that I realized, whoa, I really want people to hear it. I really want to share it. That’s my only gauge. I have to like it as a person, as an artist myself, because if I don’t like it I can’t expect nobody else to like it. I can’t pretend in that way. That’s always been hard for me.”

An instrumental may not be what we want, but it’s what Andre 3000 needs

Although the excitement for Andre’s debut solo record is real, there are still some who are disappointed in the revelation that there will be no raps, just music. This morning, as I shared my excitement for the news on social media, a friend of mine commented on the post, writing, “He’s not rapping.”

I responded by writing, “Lol so?”

New music from our most celebrated and hallowed artists is not a right, it’s a privilege. Andre 3000 did not have to release new music, but he wanted to, for the health of his own spirit. Besides, if you’re a true lover of music and hip-hop, instrumental albums can be some of the most emotional, spiritual, sentimental, and passionate forms of music out there.

In his interview with NPR, talking about his love of Jazz and instrumental music, Andre said, “But I remember when I was about 20 and I got into producing… I always liked some songs, the pop songs like “Take Five” or Chuck Mangione [”Feels So Good”] — 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. These dudes, they were smoking. They were doing heroin. They were in clubs. We trade verses; they [were] trading solos. [When] you really get into it and you really understand what they were doing — and how rebellious what they were doing [was] — you’re like, man, this is the ultimate.”

He continued, “Once I discovered and got deep into it—loving Eric Dolphy and Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, you know, Pharoah Sanders—like these are some of my favorites. And as a child, I’m like, Whoa, they can actually say something, or make me feel something, without saying something.”

Some of the most talented and respected artists of our time create instrumental albums in the hip-hop space. Madlib, The Alchemist, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, 9th Wonder, and Apollo Brown, just to name a few. They aren’t making pointless music. It’s music that conveys thoughts and feelings.

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