Introducing GQ’s first-ever video cover, a new format that offers all the access and depth of a classic GQ print profile, but does it via long-form digital video. For our first video coverage, we’re proud to unveil this immersive 34-minute feature-length film about André 3000. Watch the video, reported by GQ’s Zach Baron and directed by Noel Howard, in its entirety above, and read the profile that accompanies it with our 2023 Men of the Year Issue below.
When André 3000 was a child, he would get on his knees and recite what he called the rapper’s prayer, which appears to be the case: God, we just want to be good rappers. Then he grew up a little, and with his friend Big Boi, who knelt and prayed beside him, he founded OutKast. OutKast turned out to be more than good: the band was great, among the greatest of all time. This year, the duo’s fifth album, that of 2003 Speakerboxxx/The love below, was certified platinum for the 13th time, making it the best-selling rap album in history. André has been grappling with the consequences of this child’s prayer ever since it was answered. “That’s life: you want what you want until you don’t want it anymore,” he says, laughing a little. “I don’t regret any of it, but it’s kind of like, now that I’ve reached a certain level, I miss certain things about normalcy.”
That’s why he comes here, to this laundromat on the Westside of Los Angeles, not far from his house in Venice. One of the reasons anyway. “It gives me a chance to see the world,” he says. (Another reason: industrial washers and dryers are faster than the ones he has at home.) Other customers notice this but usually don’t acknowledge it. “I’m older now, so a lot of people look at me like, ‘You look like him, but no, it’s not 3,000.’ »
I’m not sure: very few people in human history have looked like André 3000, who, at 48, still has the handsome face and closer voice he had when he was 19 years old, and although his current daily uniform of overalls is longer. a camo shirt may be less flamboyant than what he wore at the height of his fame, it’s still overalls over a camo shirt. Additionally, he usually carries a flute with him to play in the alley while waiting. “I play everywhere,” he says. “If I’m waiting for a cup of coffee, if I’m just outside my car, I take my flute almost everywhere I go.” Perhaps you’ve seen videos: Andre wandering through an airport or the streets of Philadelphia, pumping out strange melodies from a variety of wooden instruments.
In November, André will release his first new record since 2006’s OutKast. Idlewild. It is called New Blue Sun. There’s no rap on it. There are, in fact, no identifiable voices: it’s a record built almost entirely around wind instruments, full of long, meandering songs with long, meandering titles. It’s a delicate and fanciful document: New Age music for an era that hasn’t quite begun yet. André recorded it here in Venice, in a few different studios with a handful of other session musicians, last year. The recordings you hear are more or less improvisations: everyone is playing for the first time in the song.
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