Sorry Ms. Benjamin, Oooooh: Andre 3000 Returns

Mobb Deen takes a look at the new Andre 3000 songs.
By    May 14, 2018

Art by John Airaksinen

Mobb Deen plays bass clarinet with no hands.

I’m likely being a tad cynical by expressing this opinion about a pair of Mother’s Day tributes to the deceased, but…these new 3000 joints ain’t it. I suppose 3000 has more than earned the right to make whatever the fuck he wants to make and artists in general have the right to make anything they want to make, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

This isn’t even about not liking the ‘kind’ of music he’s making or him subverting expectations. I mean, it’s Andre 3000. We haven’t known exactly what to expect from him since he turned vegan and started wearing wigs. It’s been THAT long so I’m always prepared to be surprised — or in this case disappointed.

When you’re aware of what 3000 is capable of, barely there Wings-era Paul McCartney outtakes and sub-par clarinet solos don’t cut it. I realize that Andre entered that ‘can do no wrong’ zone somewhere in the late-’90s, but we must tell the truth and shame the devil. Yes, these are heartfelt tributes to dead parents that he obviously deeply loves and misses. Yes, we can respect the genius of his catalog and attendant sadness that comes with losing those who brought you into the world. But this is about the music and this ain’t it.

I’m sure a more patient and possibly more intelligent human could find a lot to unpack in both of these efforts, but they don’t even hold my attention long enough for me to engage with them beyond a single listen. From a man of his brilliance, that’s unfortunate. It must be nice to have this kinda creative freedom, money, and the varied options that come with it. Why rap really well or yelp passably when you can do a shitty Eric Dolphy impression and make Sidney Bechet turn in his grave at the same damn time?

On second thought, I probably shouldn’t have written this. I’d hate to learn that he read this and disappeared for another three summers because he didn’t feel appreciated or some other weird shit. You know how artists be; they’re real sensitive about their craft. Anyway, I hope all your moms got something nicer than these songs on Mother’s Day.

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