Andre 3000 Invites Uber Passenger To Kanye’s ‘Waves’ Studio Session

The Uber brand is often shrouded in controversy, most especially from the growing list of drivers accused of sexual assault, and the coma-inducing surge pricing, which has seen many passengers get hit with shocking charges totaling hundreds of dollars for short rides. Lately, passengers have been fighting back – literally. Late last year, a drunk passenger was captured on video attacking an Uber driver, and most recently, a promising doctor was suspended after video surfaced of her trying to hit her driver.

Ride sharing services such as Uber and LYFT also offer the option to carpool if you’re not pressed for time and want to save a few pennies. This option is also an interesting way to meet locals, tourists, or even celebrities — as one user of the app discovered when rapper Andre 3000 accidentally requested Uber Pool, and the two hit it off! So much so, that he invited her to accompany him to the studio, where he and Kanye West were collaborating.

TMZ reports that after Andre arrived in Los Angeles to put some finishing touches on the final recording for West’s album, Waves, “he ordered an Uber, not realizing he chose the Pool option.” He and his female carpool buddy chatted and discovered “they had both lived in the same place in the past.” That connection was enough to land her an invite to the recording studio where she met West, Diddy, French Montana, Kid Cudi and 2 Chainz.

As Billboard notes, photos and videos of the studio session appeared on social media. Last week, Kanye announced that he was changing the title of his forthcoming album from Swish to Waves. The original working title was So Help Me God. West intends to debut the album at his Yeezy Season 3 presentation during New York Fashion Week. Waves is scheduled for release on February 11.

Andre’s female companion reportedly did not stay long, but no doubt it will remain a memorable Uber experience. Knowing that an A-list celebrity is a user of the app certainly raises brand awareness, which in recent years has been the target of many state legislators who have accused Uber of “failing to adequately vet drivers, some of whom have been convicted sex offenders, kidnappers and murderers,” per HuffPost.

Last year, a former Massachusetts Uber driver was sentenced to 10-12 years in prison after raping a female passenger. In another case in South Carolina, an Uber driver was arrested on charges of kidnapping and forcible rape. The company also faces a litany of complaints from its drivers, most calling for better pay and higher fares. Uber has been suspended or banned in several European countries for “creating unfair competition,” and failing to adhere to licensing rules.

Back in 2014, the company vowed to improve background checks for all drivers. Phillip Cardenas, the company’s global safety head, wrote in a blog that Uber was exploring new technologies to screen drivers.

“Of course, no background check can predict future behavior, and no technology can yet fully prevent bad actions,” Cardenas said. “But our responsibility is to leverage every smart tool at our disposal.”

Uber customers around the globe have also complained about privacy violations. Two years ago, the company launched an investigation into its top New York executive for tracking a BuzzFeed News reporter without her permission. Days later, the company, which had not previously published its privacy policy, unveiled it on its blog, stating that “Uber has a strict policy prohibiting all employees at every level from accessing a rider or driver’s data. The only exception to this policy is for a limited set of legitimate business purposes.”

As Buzzfeed notes, such purposes include “solving problems for riders and drivers, monitoring accounts for fraudulent activity, and facilitating driver transactions.”

“I nearly passed out,” passenger Bonnie Lieb told the Chicago Tribune recently after Uber charged her credit card nearly $700 for a thirty-minute ride to the airport. “I thought ‘This can’t be right. This has to be a mistake. This is ridiculous.'”

Uber says the charge was no mistake. Lieb unknowingly chose the Uber SUV service – the most expensive option – with a base rate of $144.76, not the $50 cost of the cheaper Uber X option that she thought she was getting. The 4.4x surge charge increased the base fare, totaling her fare $640.94.

An Uber spokeswoman said Lieb’s $640 bill is “definitely on the higher end,” but surge pricing is designed to encourage drivers to hit the road during events such as bad weather or busy holidays. People willing to travel during such times are also willing to pay more, especially if they have few reliable transportation options.

“That’s the most expensive ride that I’ve ever taken in my life,” Lieb said.

She added later, “How they justify $640 is beyond me.

Uber responded to Bonnie’s email expressing her surprise at the surge price. The company offered her a future credit of $160, or 25% of the fare she paid. Lieb’s story is yet another in the endless complaints from Uber users who are left violated after using the service.

Have you have a bad experience, or celebrity encounter, with Uber? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images courtesy Jerod Harris/Getty Images/Twitter]