One of the greatest hip-hop artists of our generation suffers from social anxiety. Let that sink in for a minute.
The man who taught us how to shake it like a Polaroid picture and urged us all to "git up, git out and git somethin'" has nerve-induced writer's block just like the rest of us and, in his latest podcast interview with Rick Rubin, the artist opened up about coping with his anxiety and regaining the confidence to release new music.
"I haven't been making much music, man. My focus is not there. My confidence is not there."
In Andre's interview, he explained that although his success has been a gift, being diagnosed with social anxiety 15 years ago made his reality feel more like a curse:
"There have been times where I've prayed to a God that I didn't even know existed, like, 'I'd rather you take this away from me---all of this--- if I could just feel normal. Take the voice career---all that shit, you can have it if I can feel normal.' But it don't work like that."
In the past, the 44-year-old father has been candid about his diagnosis and shared that his struggles with mental illness began early in his career. In a 2017 interview with GQ, Andre shared that his anxiety was a big part of the reason he moved away from Atlanta to find refuge in the Big Apple:
"I was diagnosed with this social thing. I didn't notice it until I became an entertainer. I don't know if it's the shock of all kind of people coming up to you or the expectations, but I got to this place where it was hard for me to be in public without feeling watched or really nervous."
While the entertainer didn't initially identify his apprehension around crowds and strangers as anxiety, he eventually came to terms with his battle and decided to seek help:
"I just chucked it off as, 'Aw, yeah, man, I just need to take a break.' And I started to notice it getting worse and worse because the more you run from it, the worse it gets. You don't want to explain it because you don't want to be a weak link around your friends. I never told my crew for a long time, so I just started getting to myself---spending more time with myself---and stopped touring. And it felt great for me to do that because it's like, 'Phew, I don't like that life. I don't like that confrontation.'"
Andre explained that although he'd like to release new music, his anxiety and tendency to be overly critical has crippled him into a state of analysis paralysis, and we can all relate. He explained:
"Any little thing I put out... people nitpick it with a fine-tooth comb. 'Oh, he said that word!' And that's not a great place to create from. And it makes you draw back."
It's been almost 14 years since Andre 3000 released a full-length, solo project, and according to him, it'll be 14 years before we get another one if the vibe ain't right.
While we're dying for a new three stacks album, we get it king. Protect your peace. For now, Andre is refocusing his attention and rediscovering his self-confidence so that he can make hip-hop fun again.
"I'm trying to find out what makes me feel the best right now. What makes me feel the best is when I do these random… instrumental kind of things. They make me feel the most rebellious."
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Featured image via Giphy.