Performing “That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control … Sh*t Was Wild” on the flute for nearly 10 minutes, André 3000 introduced his latest studio album, New Blue Sun, to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
In 2023, the superstar rapper announced that his first formal studio LP in nearly two decades (which would also be his long-awaited solo debut) wouldn’t feature any rapping. Having arrived in November, New Blue Sun contained eight songs lasting a total of 90 minutes in length.
About “That Night in Hawaii…,” the musician (born André Lauren Benjamin) told Colbert “It was a reference to a ceremony that I had in Hawaii, and on the second day of the ceremony, I actually became the panther.” “It was an ayahuasca session. I don’t know the details of how it happened, but my face contorted, and my body started making noises, like, ‘grrrr.’ So on the song, I’m mimicking that sound.”
André performed the with a handcrafted Maya flute designed by his flute master, Guillermo Martinez, and when questioned by the show’s host about his decision to include a warning on the LP cover that there would be “no bars” throughout the record, the artist explained: “Fair responsibility. I felt like I wouldn’t want people to buy something thinking that it’s going to be one thing, so I wanted to just let people know as soon as possible — and as loud as possible — what was on it.”
Following his full length release, Rolling Stone‘s Andre Gee stated that André 3000 has earned the right to flute in peace, writing: “If Andre 3000 were to succumb to our whims, his stellar flutist turn may have never happened, and he’d be releasing rap that he may not feel 100% confident in, just to placate others. Since OutKast stopped making music, he shifted from one-half of rap’s most commercially successful duo to the culture’s fluted vagabond, periodically giving rhyming treatises on his friends’ records. If that’s all he has to offer in 2023, it’s more than enough.”