André 3000 Talks New Music, 'American Crime,' & Erykah Badu
André 3000 is exploring a new frontier in 2016: television. The OutKast rapper joins the cast of the John Ridley-directed drama “American Crime,” whose second season premieres tonight on ABC. In his first TV role, he plays an architect and the husband to Regina King.
But despite the new gig, he hasn’t forgotten about music. “I still get time to think about music,” André tells Billboard in a new interview. “[Shooting TV and film projects] is not so bad—it kind of puts you in the place where you’re fiending to do music. I’ve been holding [back] for a long time, so now I’m really interested in figuring out some type of music to do. I’m always recording.”
The reclusive star also opens up his musical reunion with baby mama Erykah Badu (They duet on “Hello” off her mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone), OutKast’s 2014 tour, and whether we can expect new music anytime soon.
On his role on “American Crime”: “It was fun because it was like an exercise in being able to be outside of myself. I’ve never been married. Of course, I have an 18-year-old kid now, so there were parallels, like the issues of being in a black family or a black person having a black kid in a private school. In real life, I always feel like an oddball going to my kid’s school because I’m a musician; I’m not the normal dad. So to be able to play one is fun to me.”
On new music: “I can’t say that I have a target right now. I’ve gotten in trouble before for saying when or what is coming, so I like to just kind of let it be. I’d like to put out some kind of music project, but we’ll see.”
On what he’s listening to: “I always listen to a lot of jazz, a lot of Thelonious Monk. The new Kid Cudi album [Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven] is awesome to me. That’s kind of like the most recent thing that I think is really great. But other than that I’ve kind of just been working in the studio and listening to what I’m doing.”
On collaborating with Erykah Badu: “Our son Seven and I were trying to figure out songs that could help her—songs that were related to the subject of the mixtape: phones. We came across [The Isley Brothers’ 1974 cover of Todd Rundgren’s] ‘Hello, It’s Me.’ Ron Isley repeats the phrase ‘hello, hello’ as if he was answering the phone. I told Erykah, ‘You should make this into a new song and get somebody to rap on it.’ She was like, ‘Well, you should rap on it!’ I’m happy it happened. It was a great reunion, because I don’t think people have heard a song from us in ages.”
On touring with Big Boi: “It was a great thing; everybody enjoyed themselves. The fans got something they really didn’t expect. And I didn’t expect that at the time—we just went out and had a good time.”