André 3000 Unafraid To Reintroduce Himself With Experimental ‘New Blue Sun’ Tour: Concert Review

Experimentation has always served as a key aspect of André 3000’s career. He and his partner-in-rhyme, Big Boi, introduced OutKast to the world 30 years ago with their debut album, Southernplaylistic. Often dressed in Kangol hats and Braves jerseys during that period, the duo’s aesthetics represented the quintessential street styles of Atlanta area D-boys.

The 1994 version of OutKast made it a point to put Atlanta on the map and find acceptance in an era when East Coast and West Coast hip-hop dominated the genre. 

OutKast’s sophomore effort, ATLiens, didn’t play by the rules of normal hip-hop. André 3000 exchanged the Braves hat for a turbon as the duo embraced extraterrestrial themes, Afro-futurism mixed in with Atlanta culture.  

Aquemini and Stankonia continued to challenge hip-hop norms sonically. André 3000’s style also remained eclectic as he would often perform in football shoulder pads and colorful wigs. 

And with Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, André 3000 provided elements of jazz, R&B/soul, and rock & roll in what currently stands as hip-hop’s biggest selling album of all-time. 

Delving into the unknown is André 3000’s forte. So when he announced that his debut solo album would consist of him playing wind instruments and void of any rap lyrics, most of his fans were unsure of what to expect. 

This past week, André 3000 performed in Atlanta for the first time since 2016 (ONE Musicfest’s Dungeon Family reunion) as he brought the “New Blue Sun” tour to his hometown. 

Dressed in overalls, a red beanie, and black Air Jordan 3 sneakers, André 3000’s entered a dark stage, partially lit by laser lights which added to the mysticism. Void of an actual setlist, André 3000 and his band mostly improvised throughout the show, vibing with each other while taking audience members on a hypnotic journey. 

André 3000 addressed the audience several times while providing backstories of how he began to develop his love for wind instruments. A chance encounter with musician Carlos Nino at a store in Venice Beach, California helped André 3000 meet other like-minded artists and set on a path of creating the album, New Blue Sun

During the show, André 3000 also shared his unique sense of humor by pranking the audience. At one moment, he began speaking in what sounded like a native or tribal language. After the conversation, he revealed that he made it all up as the audience erupted in laughter. 

But André 3000 also shared how experimentation has always helped him throughout his career. He spoke about how he and Big Boi began rapping because they heard other rappers before them. And he revealed that he began experimenting with wind instruments in a similar manner. 

Beyond the mystic sounds, André 3000 being unafraid to explore and find new ways to reintroduce himself is the key takeaway. It inspires a generation to expand and be fearless when delving into unfamiliar territories on career and personal levels. Change is consistent and there are multiple paths to reach a destination. 

One of the greatest rappers in hip-hop history is no longer strictly defined by what initially brought him notoriety. Interestingly, Big Boi was in the audience as André 3000 would would provoke the crowd to yell, “We love you Big Boi.” The hope for another OutKast album or tour will keep fans intrigued. 

But currently, André 3000 is having a moment of embracing the new and unknown while inspiring others to do the same. 

 

 

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