André 3000: ‘When I Pass Away, People Will Find Hours and Hours of Files’

André 3000 interviews are few and far between, so whenever the celebrated rapper steps into the limelight for a convo on his latest happenings, it always feels like an event of sorts. His new Q&A with GQ Style is no different.

André sat down with the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Will Welch, for a lengthy talk about where he’s at musically, what he has in the vault, and why his longtime Outkast partner Big Boi is a better rapper than him.

The discussion also touched on a pretty entertaining topic: André, inspired by buying a bootleg Anita Baker shirt, wants to spearhead her official merch line.

On a more personal note, the ATLien revealed the one regret he would have if he died today. “Here’s the only thing that I would regret: Man, you know, there is still that album that you wanted to do.”

André previously told Complex he would be at peace if Outkast never dropped another album, and also compared rap to boxing. Here, he used Floyd Mayweather’s career as an analogy for his own.

Check out some choice excerpts below, and head over to GQ Style (the Holiday issue is available on newsstands now) where André also talks about his parents (both have passed) and his partnership with Tretorn.

On being at the end of his music career

It’s Mayweather. He knows. He’s like, yeah, I can fight maybe three more of ’em. But I’m slowing down, and I see these young kids coming up and I was them. And at a certain point, no matter how Mayweather you are, I think it’s classy to be like, you know what? [brushes off hands].

I think I have, like, maybe two more Mayweather fights… Or maybe one.

On what he’s got in his music vault

When I pass away, people will find hours and hours of files…hard drives and shit. It’s hard drives of me just in the house alone playing horrible guitar. Me playing piano. Me playing a little sax. I was trying to find out: What can I be excited about? Because I never was, to me, a great producer or a great writer or a great rapper. I always felt that I was less than everybody else, so I fought harder.

On why he believes Big Boi is the better rapper

When you watch early Outkast videos, Big Boi’s the leader. He always had the confidence, where I was kind of like the shy one. Big Boi can rap better than me—I always said that. If somebody said, “Pick who you want from Outkast to go to battle with you,” it wouldn’t be me. ’Cause like, what I’ma do? Say some mind shit? You can’t have thoughts in a battle—nobody gives a shit about that.

On feeling out of the loop with the current sound of rap

I hate going to the studio. So what’s got me going once again is me being excited about other artists. I’ve been working on producing a few artists. A couple projects. But here’s the crazy thing: I don’t have the pulse anymore. Rhythms change every generation. The intensity and the drums change. And I’m not on the pulse. I can’t pretend. It’s kinda like watching your uncle dance. So the only thing I can do is this kind of novelty, off thing for them.

For me, hip-hop is about freshness. You can always hop, but you won’t always be hip.

On his plans to start an Anita Baker T-shirt line

I’m an artist, and I’m buying bootleg shirts of another artist, so I felt bad. So I was like, maybe, so my conscience feels good, let me try to find an address for Anita and send her a little check. And it’ll be a joke, like, “Anita, I just bought these shirts, I feel bad about it, here’s $50.” Then I started thinking, wouldn’t it be great to design a line of Anita Baker tees and present the line to Anita? Maybe she needs some merch.

If she says no, hey, it’s fine. It was just an idea. There’s no way to lose here.

More from Complex

Big Boi Gives Service Puppy to 5-Year-Old Girl Paralyzed by Gun Violence

Get ready for the most uplifting story of the whole damn week. Abriya Ellison, a 5-year-old girl from Georiga, was left paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by an unknown gunman in April while she was playing in a bouncy castle. Big Boi heard her story and decided to help out by gifting her with a bulldog puppy that will be trained to be her service dog. 

The Outkast member owns Pitfall Kennels, where he helps breed bulldogs in Atlanta. He was watching the news while preparing for the release of his latest album Boomiverse and the accompanying tour when he came across Ellison’s story. “My brother saw her story that morning,” he told WSB-TV. “He was like, 'bruh, we gotta do something for this little girl.'”

Ellison recently completed three months of intense physical therapy, and she worked and fell in love with service animals while at the hospital, and according to her mother, Andreauna Douglas, Big Boi just helped realize one of the little girl’s biggest dreams. 

“She’s been asking for [a service dog] for the longest time and I know that a puppy that she can take care of and now she has responsibility, it’s going to do nothing but help her,” Douglas said.

In a heartwarming video posted by journalist Lori Wilson, Ellison can be seen playing with her new puppy as Big Boi hands over her new companion. 

“What are you going to name your puppy?” Wilson asked Ellison. “King!” she replied.

“I’ve been born ready for a puppy,” she added.

“There’s nothing like having a companion or a service dog, something therapeutic that you can love on, that can love back on you. She’s been through a lot and to see how strong she is now, that was just like, 'Oh my goodness,'” Big Boi said. “She's definitely inspiring and it just touched our heart, so we’re just trying to do what we can do to help.”

Big Boi has also pledged to cover any veterinary costs that King might require in the future and cover the full cost of Ellison’s medical bills. The rapper will also pay to transform her home bathroom so that it is handicap accessible. 

Big Boi’s new album, Boomiverse, is out now, and includes appearances by Killer Mike, Jeezy, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. You can watch the video for his single “Chocolate” here.

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Get ready,OutKast Reunion Confirmed

Listen here: Get ready,OutKast Reunion Confirmed

If you love being “So Fresh and So Clean”, you’re in for a treat. Rico Wade, member of Organized Noize, confirmed the reunion of OutKast in an interview with Stereogun. Big Boi and André 3000 will be making their first debut since 2006 at the one and only Coachella. Wade also suggested a possible performance from his younger cousin, Future. Is this just the beginning for the dynamic duo? I surely hope so. There are no tour dates out yet, but I bet Coachella is just the beginning. So rest easy OutKast fans, it looks like 2014 will be a great year to be an OutKast fan.