In the interview you did with GQ the other day, you mentioned that it’s better to be on deadline, or else you’ll never get anything done. How does that work with this solo album? Are you putting yourself on a deadline? I’m actually putting myself on deadlines more than ever. I don’t have someone policing that. Even in Outkast there were no police. But now it’s just time. I’m at a place now where my deadline is my own self. I’m looking at it like, Okay, I don’t want to be like 40 years old and to haven’t done this album. And I don’t have a sense of time. When people say, Man, we haven’t heard from you in like five years, or seen you, to me, it feels like a year. I don’t have a good sense of time, but I do know I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I have to get my ideas out before I just let them go away. That’s how ideas work. All the songs are written, we all just get them as gifts. And if you don’t act upon your ideas they’ll go to somebody else. I’ve seen so many ideas that I just sat on that other people have done years later, and I’m like, Wow, I could have done that. I just didn’t do it.
Is the rap industry more open to multiple generations of rappers now? Yeah, I think in certain ways. We’re getting into that place where it’s like rock and roll stars. People still go watch the Rolling Stones. People love them. I think there’s a sense of nostalgia. And that’s one thing—I don’t really subscribe to it though. I don’t like nostalgia, really. So I don’t like that people just hang with you because you were a certain thing at one point in time, so you stood for a certain thing. I do accept the blessings, but at the same time, to me, it’s all about the now. I want to be doing what I’m doing now, and be accepted for what it is now. I love that people love what we were doing, but I think right now we’re in a time where older rappers can tour. I’m a rapper, and I just have to be honest, once you get to a certain point—I’m a fan of hardcore rap. Sometimes I like stupid gangsta rap, and I know at a certain age it doesn’t match. I want the raw rap. At a certain age your life changes, at that point you become something else. And I never want to be the uncle or grandfather kind of guy, so I’ll just have to shift my qualities elsewhere, find something else to do. I love rap so much, I don’t wanna taint it with old blood. I don’t want to do that. Like, I want to hear the new guys, and that’s why I support the new guys. We don’t have new flows. None of us old guys have new flows. None of us. The young guys have the new flows. The only thing that we have is years of experience. That’s all we have.
Do you feel like you learn from newer artists? Yeah, of course. I’m learning what people are listening to now. Learning what the younger heads are into. The funny thing about hip-hop—it’s such a young thing, just like rock and roll in certain ways, early rock and roll. Hip-hop is about being hip. And at a certain age, you’re not as hip to a certain crowd, and you lose hipness. And I think it’s a thing that people don’t talk about enough, but it’s a real thing. I have to ask my son sometimes, like, what’s cool? Make sure you don’t become that old flow guy. I’ve seen it happen and it’s a real thing. You know, people that I love and adore, their flows have just gotten dated, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s almost like watching your dad. Your dad moves to a completely different rhythm than what you move to. And that’s how flows are because we grew up on a different rhythm. And so the younger heads are growing up on different rhythms so they rap differently. I’m not trying to keep up with the younger guys at all. Right now, I’m just trying to—I’m basically an aging rapper just trying to have fun knowing that time is limited.
You haven’t really appeared in any music videos or performed live in awhile. Yeah. Well, when you’re at this age you go through this thing. Well, me personally—I go through this…do I still wanna do it? I’ve done it for years, since I was like 17, 18 years old. You try to find what you love to do, which I’m doing now. I never really knew if I wanted to step back into the arena, if I wanted to really be in the business. When I would get these calls from artists, I felt great about it. At the same time, I never wanted to tease people in a way where I’d be in the video and then they won’t see me for another ten years or anything. So, you know, when I would talk to these artists and we’d agree that we’d do these songs, we would all be in agreement that it was just vocals. There was no visual or anything. Every artist I work with from Beyonce, from Young Jeezy and Jay-Z, from BoB, it was all understood before my first rhyme was written that there was going to be no videos. And I always felt like—you know, I haven’t been in even in a video with Big Boi—it’s kind of disrespectful of me if I can just jump in a video with a new artist and I haven’t even jumped in the video with my own partner. So I always said, I’m not going to fully jump back into it until I really do it. I’m not going to play around. If it’s not my project or an Outkast thing, or you know, if I’m supporting Big Boi, then it just didn’t make sense for me. It just didn’t feel right doing it. So it’s a loyalty to myself and trying to make sure I really wanted to be in the business again.
A music video used to be such an event. Is it also about taking some of that excitement back? Yeah, maybe. I don’t know. Things have changed now. There’s so much content. People record everything. People will record [themselves] sitting on the toilet seat just talking. I don’t know what’s an event anymore. The only thing I know how to do is go with what I know, and I just feel like—it just didn’t seem like a right time to do it. For me to jump in videos, if I wasn’t sure I was prepared to back it up. I always felt like, if I’m going to jump in the video, there’s going to be an album coming.
Any time you do an interview or there’s an announcement about something that you’re doing that’s not Outkast, everyone asks about when the next Outkast project is coming. And every time, words get misconstrued, or casual statements get blown out of proportion. Is it difficult for you to have to talk about it every time? It’s expected. I guess the unfortunate thing is how the internet is today—is that it’s all about shock and it’s all about getting attention. So they always take out the parts that seem shocking and blast it. Sensationalize whatever they want to sensationalize. It’s always been, No, there are not any plans right now. We’re not on the roster or on a schedule with a label to put out an Outkast album. I can’t say if or when we will, but I’m going to be in Outkast forever in some kind of way. I can’t really say Outkast is over so it always trips me out when these things get on the internet, and [people] go, Andre said there’s going to be no more Outkast. And then me and Big Boi get on the phone like, Oh, that’s unfortunate that they said that kind of thing. But I just have to say that because we’re in the information age, and there’s a lot of misinformation—you may have tweets from somebody saying, I saw them together, or I saw them in the studio. And there even may be close friends that are just so excited about seeing me and Big Boi together, they may say we’re in the studio together. It’s totally not true. Like, I may stop by the studio to hear what Big Boi’s doing for his album, just to say hey as a friend and see what’s going on. And next thing you know it’s, Oh, they’re in the studio together. No, not at all. There’s no plans for an Outkast album right now. Next year will be 20 years as Outkast, which is—I’m still amazed at it. I’m happy that we’ve been around that long. Happy that we have people that still care about Outkast. There’s a lot of guys that came out around the same time that are not around anymore. So it’s really a blessing. So I think when I hear things on the internet that Outkast is over, I think, that’s a shame. Because I don’t have the power to stop Outkast, you know? I didn’t start Outkast by myself. I don’t have the power to stop Outkast. If we do another Outkast album one day, I would be super happy. Because I’ll know that the vibe is right, and we’ll put our all into it. But if we never do another Outkast album, you know, I won’t be sad because we’ve been blessed. We’ve been around.
You guys have had a better career than most artists ever have, and you’re still going. Right. Maybe one day it’ll happen. I just hate when people say, Well, they said it’s over. It’s all about vibe, man.