It’s pretty safe to say that whenever Kanye opens his mouth, everyone’s ears perk up, waiting for the next soundbite of potential craziness to come flying out of the presses. He’s called himself a genius and compared himself to Michelangelo and Steve Jobs so many times by now that it’s no longer shocking to hear him speak of his grandeur so, well, grandly. He says a lot of the same things in his latest interview in Interview Magazine–he’s their February cover star, (keep an eye out for his bloodied and branded face on fire at a newsstand near you). But Kanye’s interviewer, filmmaker Steve McQueen (“Shame,” “12 Years A Slave”) managed to pull some new nuggets out of Yeezy that we haven’t yet heard.
Perhaps it was because of Kanye’s admiration for McQueen as a fellow artist that he opened up so much, or maybe he just liked to hear himself talk (both?), but the lengthy interview up on Interview’s site is another worthy read that takes you into the somewhat hard-to-follow inner workings of Kanye’s mind. He talks family–how he seems himself and North and Kim as an isolated astronaut family out in space. He talks his career path, and about not liking when products are done “because the only time a product is really final is when you’re in a casket.”
Overall it’s an earnest attempt explain himself so that people will understand him and get where he’s coming from. (Exhibit A: ” I think that when I compare myself to Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, or whoever, it’s because I’m trying to give people a little bit of context to the possibilities that are in front of me, as opposed to putting me in the rap category that the Grammys has put me in. In no way do I want to be the next any one of them. But I am the first me. So I only mention those other names to try to give people a little bit of context.”) Problem is, he does this all the time and it doesn’t really seem to be working.
To all those interested in trying to understand Yeezy a bit more, check out a preview of what he has to say below. To all those wanting more, head to Interview for the long-read.
On being able to express himself in what McQueen calls, “a beautiful way.” — “I just close my eyes and act like I’m a 3-year-old. I try to get as close to a childlike level as possible because we were all artists back then. So you just close your eyes and think back to when you were as young as you can remember and had the least barriers to your creativity.”
On Yeezus. — “Yeezus, though, was the beginning of me as a new kind of artist. Stepping forward with what I know about architecture, about classicism, about society, about texture, about synesthesia—the ability to see sound—and the way everything is everything and all these things combine, and then starting from scratch with Yeezus.”
On approaching the visuals for his music. — “Well, I’m a trained fine artist. I went to art school from the time I was 5 years old. I was, like, a prodigy out of Chicago. I’d been in national competitions from the age of 14. I got three scholarships to art schools—to St. Xavier, to the American Academy of Art, and to the Art Institute of Chicago—and I went to the American Academy of Art. So the joke that I’ve actually played on everyone is that the entire time, I’ve actually just been a fine artist. I just make sonic paintings, and these sonic paintings have led me to become whatever people think of when you say “Kanye West.”
On love and being a father. — “I think I have to experience it for another few years to be able to give you an opinion. It’s all brand new, how it feels to be a father. There are some things that I understand, certain things that I don’t understand, certain things that I like to get off my chest in interviews, certain things that I want to talk about. But when we talk about love, I don’t have an answer. All I can say is that I’m happy I have it.”
On the best advice he’s ever gotten. — “If someone ever said, “Follow exactly what you want to do, Kanye,” then I would say that that would probably have been the best piece of advice. But at this point, I don’t even need any advice. I just need backing. I need belief more than I need advice. People can give you advice … I met with Deepak Chopra, right? I was supposed to go back the next day, but I told my girlfriend that I wasn’t going to go. Because you know what gets me calm, baby? Success. And I went in and finished my Adidas deal instead. I felt so Zen-ed out by that.”