André 3000’s flute album, New Blue Sun, has arrived, and it’s a spellbinding solo debut from the hip-hop luminary.
While André 3000 hasn’t stopped rapping — he dispensed dizzying bars on Frank Ocean’s “Solo (Reprise)” and killed on James Blake’s “Where the Catch?,” among other appearances — the record is entirely instrumental. The opener is called “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a Rap Album But This is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time” and sets the tone for an expanse of experimental, meditative music. The album is mystical, intriguing, and deeply spiritual, as if the ghosts of Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane invited you to eat mushrooms and admire trees in the strangest parts of Middle Earth. You really have to let go and listen to believe it.
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“What people will call New Age-y or spiritual-ish, people consider it heavy,” André says. “And I think, because I’m coming from rap and I knew a different audience, different eyes would be following me and looking at it. So I wanted to make sure that what I contribute to this world brings a certain lightness or humanness.”
Stream André 3000’s New Blue Sun, co-produced by Carlos Niño, below.