The performance was nearly as long as the song title itself, with the rapper performing the song on the flute for nearly 10 minutes
André 3000 brought his latest studio album, New Blue Sun, to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The performance was nearly as long as the song itself as the musician performed “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.
The rapper surprised listeners late last year when he announced that his first proper studio album in nearly two decades — and his long-awaited solo debut — wouldn’t feature any rapping at all. New Blue Sun arrived in November with eight songs spanning an hour and a half. “That Night in Hawaii…” isn’t even the longest of the entries, with others crossing into 12 to 17-minute territory.
“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,” André told Colbert. “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 with a handcrafted Maya flute designed by his flute master, Guillermo Martinez. When asked about his decision to include a warning on the album cover that there would be “no bars” throughout the record, he 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 the album’s release, Rolling Stone‘s Andre Gee argued 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.”