André 3000‘s latest album isn’t a gimmick or a grand renunciation of hip-hop. The first in nearly two decades, it’s a wordless journey where André 3000 expresses melodies through a flute. While not a masterpiece, it’s undeniably sincere and truly lovely.

Simply listening to ‘New Blue Sun’ would probably have allowed us to figure all of this out.

“I’ve always kind of just been exploring what I can do and just kind of riding the ride. I never knew that rapping would even take me to producing, and producing would take me to playing instruments, and instruments would get me here. … I see this as just being further down the road.” he added in an interview.

In OutKast, he played a pivotal role in crafting some of the most exceptionally brilliant music we’ll experience in our lifetimes, spanning rap, pop, and beyond. After contributing to OutKast’s brilliant music, André 3000 entered semi-seclusion post-2006. Immersed in John Coltrane‘s recordings, he transitioned from saxophone to the soothing flute, frequently showcased by eager Instagram users in recent years.

“New Blue Sun” appears tailored to calm the mind. André 3000 skillfully plays melodic lines on his digital flute, accompanied by a laid-back ensemble of Los Angeles jazz talents, including Carlos Niño on percussion, Nate Mercereau on guitar, and Surya Botofasina on keyboard.

The entire team fully embraces the opening track, “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a ‘Rap’ Album but This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time.” Throughout the following 56 minutes, they navigate an ambient, jazz-inspired soundscape, driven by the bandleader’s successful melodic and textural choices. The experience is smooth, luxurious, airy, relaxed, intuitive, immersive, present, and pleasant.

As you delve deeper, you may perceive that “New Blue Sun” doesn’t build a world; rather, it becomes part of one.