André 3000 is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, but his output has mostly been limited to guest appearances over the past several years. On the latest episode of the Broken Record podcast, the OutKast MC spoke with pioneering producer Rick Rubin about the pressures of matching his previous output while creating new music.
“In my own self, I’m trying to figure out where do I sit,” André explained. “I don’t even know what I am. Maybe I’m nothing. Maybe my history is kind of handicapping in a way. So I’m just trying to find out what makes me feel the best right now. What makes me feel the best is when I do these random kind of instrumental things. They make me feel the most rebellious.”
The Atlanta native later elaborated that he needs to feel comfortable enough to experiment without feeling judged:
The problem with being a successful artist is you have to find a comfortable place to feel uncomfortable. I liken it to if you’re a kid and you’re in your room and you’re playing with toys, and you have this world going on… Once the attention is on that world, the world goes away. You got to find a way to get back to that place to where you can build those worlds again and not have the eyes or the judging. That’s hard for me.
He added that trying to rediscover his sound has made it difficult to make music at all. “My focus is not there, my confidence is not there,” he said. “I tinker a lot. Like I would just go to a piano and sit my iPhone down and record what I’m doing. Move my fingers around and whatever happens. I haven’t been motivated enough to do a serious project. I’d like to, but it’s just not coming.”
Listen to the full interview here