As the US prepares for the release that is ‘Yeezus‘, its creator Kanye West made his way to the NYTimes for a tell all interview- jam packed with quotes that see him explain his on/off relationship with celebrity, preparing for fatherhood and his love for Kim Kardashian.
On the Grammys: “I don’t know if this is statistically right, but I’m assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven’t won one against a white person. But the thing is, I don’t care about the Grammys; I just would like for the statistics to be more accurate.”
On speaking up for Justin Timberlake: “I remember when both Gnarls Barkley and Justin [Timberlake] lost for Album of the Year, and I looked at Justin, and I was like: ‘Do you want me to go onstage for you? You know, do you want me to fight?’”
On apologising to Taylor Swift: “Yeah, I think that I have like, faltered, you know, as a human. My message isn’t perfectly defined. I have, as a human being, fallen to peer pressure.”
On whether his pain has influenced his art: “Great art comes from great artists. There’s a bunch of people that are hurt that still couldn’t have made the album that was super-polarizing and redefined the sound of radio.”
On when he knew he was going to be famous: “I knew when I wrote the line ‘light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson’ [from the song ‘Slow Jamz’] I was going to be a big star. At the time, they used to have the Virgin music [stores], and I would go there and just go up the escalator and say to myself, ‘I’m soaking in these last moments of anonymity.’ I knew I was going to make it this far; I knew that this was going to happen.”
On Dead Prez’ influence: “Before, when I wanted to rap, my raps sounded like a bit like Cam’ron; they sounded a bit like Mase; they sounded a bit like Jay-Z or whoever. And it wasn’t until I hung out with Dead Prez and understood how to make, you know, raps with a message sound cool that I was able to just write ‘All Falls Down’ in 15 minutes.”
On Kim Kardashian: “I’m the type of rock star that likes to have a girlfriend, you know? I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love and likes to be able to focus. And that inspires me. You know, the amount of backlash I got from it is when I decided to not be on the show anymore. And it’s not that I have an issue with the show; I just have an issue with the amount of backlash that I get. Because I just see like, an amazing person that I’m in love with that I want to help.”
On becoming a father: “One of the things was just to be protective, that I would do anything to protect my child or my child’s mother. As simple as that. … I just don’t want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby.”
On control: “I need to do more. I need to be able to give people more of what they want that currently is behind a glass. I don’t believe that it’s luxury to go into a store and not be able to afford something. I believe luxury is to be able to go into a store and be able to afford something.
I sat down with a clothing guy that I won’t mention, but hopefully if he reads this article, he knows it’s him and knows that out of respect, I didn’t mention his name: this guy, he questioned me before I left his office:, “If you’ve done this, this, and this, why haven’t you gone further in fashion?” And I say, “I’m learning.” But ultimately, this guy that was talking to me doesn’t make Christmas presents, meaning that nobody was asking for his [stuff] as a Christmas present. If you don’t make Christmas presents, meaning making something that’s so emotionally connected to people, don’t talk to me.
I’m a professional musician because I have the structure of Universal Records. I’m a professional creative. Since I did the Louis Vuitton sneaker, I’ve never been allowed to be in a continually creative structured place that makes product. I’ve had meetings where a guy actually told me, “What we’re trying to figure out is how we can control you.” In the meeting, to me! Why do you want to control me? Like, I want the world to be better! All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness! Why would you want to control that?
That’s why I said “I throw these Maybach keys” [in the new song “New Slaves”]. I would rather sit in a factory than sit in a Maybach.
I want to tell people, “I can create more for this world, and I’ve hit the glass ceiling.” If I don’t scream, if I don’t say something, then no one’s going to say anything, you know? So I come to them and say, “Dude, talk to me! Respect me!”
Yeezus drops June 18th.