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André 3000 reveals his Q-Tip-inspired, first-ever rap name

A photo of André 3000.
André 3000. (Shutterstock/Joe Seer)

André 3000 wasn't always André 3000.

In a recent interview with High Snobiety, the Outkast star revealed that he once went by a very different moniker.

“My first rap name was Jahz," he told the magazine, adding that the name was inspired by one of his favorite-ever rappers, Q-Tip.

"We were huge A Tribe Called Quest fans," Dré said. "In high school, they were the pinnacle — them, Grand Puba, Souls of Mischief."

Dré went on to credit Tip, who often incorporated jazz samples into Tribe's music, with "introducing a generation of kids to a forgotten music.”

“As a kid, jazz music meant some old-people shit that’s in elevators,” Dré said. “Q-Tip found a way to make it actually cool. The jazz guys were actually the rap guys of that time. They were doing heroin, they were in clubs."

“Years from now, people are going to listen to trap music and think, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’" he added. "It happens. It happens.”

On the topic of jazz, last year, André 3000 stunned the world by releasing an experimental jazz-flute album, "New Blue Sun."

Speaking with High Snobiety, Dré recalled the moment he first played the album to his fellow Outkast rapper, Big Boi.

“He was smiling,” Dré said. “He was like, ‘Man… I played it for a lot of buddies, even my son. They were like, ‘It’s the real thing. It’s not a mimic.’ You really did this.”

Dré also said that Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean both also praised "New Blue Sun" when he first played it for them.

“I was in Tyler’s living room listening to it, and then Frank just shows up," he remembered. "And so we’re all sitting there listening to it. I’m wondering what the young people’s opinions would be. And I’m so happy that what I’m hearing is really good feedback.”


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