Although the hip hop world is longing for new material from Andre "3000" Benjamin his new starring role on the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated ABC hit drama American Crime will have to do for now. Last night marked the second season premiere of the show also starring Regina King who just so happens to be Andre's on-screen wife.
Although Benjamin has displayed his thespian side more than a dozen times this will be his first starring role in a television drama which shouldn't be that hard with director John Ridley on board. Ridley directed
In a recent interview with Billboard, Andre speaks on his new work environment as well as a collaboration with the mother of his son, Erykah Badu, but most importantly he assures fans he hasn't given up on music.
Check out a few snippets...Full Interview.
What got you interested in the American Crime role?The relationship I had with John Ridley. When he called, I knew it would be something good. I hadn’t seen season one at the time, but I trust John’s taste in that way.
You play a married architect, which is a new kind of role for you.It was fun because it was like an exercise in being able to be outside of myself. I’ve never been married. Of course, I have an 18-year-old kid now, so there were parallels, like the issues of being in a black family or a black person having a black kid in a private school. In real life, I always feel like an oddball going to my kid’s school because I’m a musician; I’m not the normal dad. So to be able to play one is fun to me.
Do you have any other acting roles coming up?Nothing right now. I’m just reading [scripts] and trying to create my own material at some point.
As in screenwriting or directing your own films?Yeah. I’d like to get on the other side of filmmaking. I’ve always been more of a conceptual type of person so I’ve got to get a little bit more experience under my belt to step into the director mode. And of course, writing -- that’s a beast to tackle. But yeah, I'll maybe be partnering with people at this point, just to learn.
Have you had time to work on music lately?I still get time to think about music. [Shooting TV and film projects] is not so bad -- it kind of puts you in the place where you’re fiending to do music. I’ve been holding [back] for a long time, so now I’m really interested in figuring out some type of music to do. I’m always recording.
Can you say what you’re working on or with whom?I can’t say that I have a target right now. I’ve gotten in trouble before for saying when or what is coming, so I like to just kind of let it be. I’d like to put out some kind of music project, but we’ll see.
What music are you listening to now?I always listen to a lot of jazz, a lot of Thelonious Monk. The new Kid Cudi album [Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven] is awesome to me. That’s kind of like the most recent thing that I think is really great. But other than that I’ve kind of just been working in the studio and listening to what I’m doing.
How did your “Hello” duet with Erykah Badu, from her recent mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone, come together?Our son Seven and I were trying to figure out songs that could help her -- songs that were related to the subject of the mixtape: phones. We came across [The Isley Brothers’ 1974 cover of Todd Rundgren’s] “Hello, It’s Me.” Ron Isley repeats the phrase “hello, hello” as if he was answering the phone. I told Erykah, “You should make this into a new song and get somebody to rap on it.” She was like, “Well, you should rap on it!” I’m happy it happened. It was a great reunion, because I don’t think people have heard a song from us in ages.
After you finished the Outkast tour, you said you felt like a sellout. A year later, how do you feel about it now?It was a great thing; everybody enjoyed themselves. The fans got something they really didn’t expect. And I didn’t expect that at the time -- we just went out and had a good time.
I'm sure it was a "great thing" being as though they made $60 mil off the festival tour.
Anywho, Andre is what I deem a fixture in not only hip hop but the entertainment world period. He follows his own path with the option to swerve every now and again into different ventures and does pretty well in all he contributes to. And honestly, I would have never probably given American Crime the time of day but with talent like Andre 3000 on the tizzube they have a new viewer in me.
Be sure to check out American Crime Wednesdays on ABC at 10/9c.