Being a celebrity comes with a lot of perks, but none tops not going to a bank in 23 years, a la Oprah, or in André 3000’s case, signing only one check in your entire life.
In an interview with GQ, the iconic rapper, born André Benjamin, talks about his whereabouts since releasing his biggest hit, “Hey Ya” in 2003 (he’s been extra busy), and life post-Outkast. Benjamin gets candid about his love life, his love of Anita Baker and why he still relies on people like his stepfather to keep him grounded, partly because everyone else has been catering to him since he was a teenager.
“Since age 17 people have catered to me and Big Boi,” he says. “It’s strange when, your whole life, everyone has treated you different from everybody else.”
One of the ways he’s had to live life differently from everybody else is by not having to pay bills because, presumably, he has people to do that for him. “When I was 17, they still had checkbooks,” he shares. “My mom taught me how to write a check and do my balance. So I had one check on my balance, and then OutKast took off. I have not paid a bill since.” Another perk of mega-stardom.
Benjamin goes on to share how fame can leave someone feeling like they don’t have to be accountable to anyone. “The problem with being successful is you can do whatever you do times ten. And no one to stop you. You can easily go down the wrong path and you get into that place. And the thing that brings you out is other people.”
He relies on his stepfather to keep him in line. “He’s kinda like that anchoring person,” he says. “He’s been there since I was 5. He gave me my first job, actually, screen-printing shirts in his shop in Atlanta.”
No word on if new music will come in the form of an album from the 42-year-old, but he has been working on collaborative projects with clothing brands.
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