André 3000: 'I Fought Harder'

In a recent interview with 'GQ,' the Grammy Award-winning performer talked about his perceived shortcomings as a rapper and gave props to his longtime OutKast partner, Big Boi, as the duo's superior lyricist.
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Andre 3000 and Big Boi

Andre 3000 and Big Boi during 2006 VH1 Hip Hop Honors at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

André 3000 has carved out a pretty impressive career as a performer, songwriter and actor. He's done pretty well as a rapper too, as half of the Grammy Award-winning OutKast, although to hear him tell it, that's not one of his strong suits.

"I always felt that I was less than everybody else, so I fought harder," he admitted in an interview with GQ, which went online October 30. "My only gauge to know when something was good was how I felt it. Like, Oh, man, this is dope. Or, this is new."

He also gave props to his longtime OutKast partner, Big Boi, as the duo's superior lyricist.

"When you watch early OutKast videos, Big Boi’s the leader," he said. "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."

Hip hop fans may not agree with such critical self-assessment, given his stellar contributions on albums from ATLiens to Stankonia to his recent solo efforts; indeed, a November 2015 article by Billboard named him the sixth best rapper of all time.

Then again, André may be taking into account his entire body of work, which, as illustrated in his half of the acclaimed Speakerboxxx/The Love Below OutKast double album, veers off the path of strict hip hop and into the territory of funk, jazz and other genres.

The artist has always remained true to his instincts, which is why he's questioned how long he'll be able to keep returning to the studio.

"Rhythms change every generation," he noted in GQ. "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."

Of course, given his unique talents, no one will be surprised if André rediscovers that pulse and pulls off another creative masterpiece, even if it involves the unforgettable sight of dancing uncles.