LOS ANGELES — When John Mayer turned up at a listening party for The College Dropout in January, Kanye West said he found the singer/songwriter’s lyrics “inspirational.”
“He words stuff with a real, I guess it’s a witty, intelligent, very human [sensibility]. I would like to grab some of those qualities,” West said at the time (see “Forget Cristal — John Mayer CDs Are The Latest Hip-Hop Must-Have” ). “I wish he was my friend.”
Well, it seems West got his wish.
“I just did some stuff with Kanye in the studio that’s ridiculous,” Mayer said at Sunday’s American Music Awards. “We have a thing on tape that’s pretty cool.”
“I don’t wanna give too much away,” West said later. “I don’t do music for the hype behind it. It’s because I really love John as an artist, I like his voice. He’s like the modern day [Doobie Brothers singer] Michael McDonald. … And me and John, we just cool, period. Like me and Common, we get in the studio and we vibe and then we make music from that point. If I can’t vibe with a person then I can’t do the song.”
Neither would reveal more about the collaboration except that it will likely appear on West’s follow-up to The College Dropout, titled Late Registration.
West is about 75 percent done with the record, due in the spring. When asked who else he’s collaborating with, West paused for a moment and then answered, “Nobody!”
West has been working on the album since his tour with Usher wrapped in October. Although he also spent some time in the studio with Mariah Carey (see “With Help From Kanye, R. Kelly, Snoop, Mariah Readies New LP” ), the producer is focused on his own material.
“Whatever happened to artists working on their own sh–?” West said. “Like Kurt Cobain, what if he would’ve given [’Smells Like Teen Spirit’] to … what was that group that made ’Mr. Jones’? [Counting Crows] No. They should have kept it for Nirvana.”
West is, however, lending his talents to artists on the roster of his new GOOD Music imprint, which includes Common, Keisha Cole, Farnsworth Bentley, GLC and Consequence.
“It stands for Getting Out Our Dreams, and this year I was able to accomplish all my dreams and I wanted to provide the opportunity for other people to get their dreams out,” West explained. “I’m really trying to make good albums and make good music, ’cause that’s what it’s about.”
West is also pursuing his interest in fashion, but he draws the line at following his hip-hop peers to Hollywood.
“I think you would rather see Denzel on the screen and rather have Kanye West in your CD player,” he said. “I feel like there is a void in music that I still have a responsibility to fill. College Dropout was just the first chapter, and if I was to let my music slip and start acting now, I would let my fans down.”
West revealed little about Late Registration but hinted that his quest to make more spiritual hip-hop is still on.
“I definitely think that God is watching over everything that I do,” West said. “He gives you options, He lets you makes mistakes, He walks with you, and He has definitely been in my life since before the accident. I definitely believe He let me stay on this earth for a reason. And I hope that I’m making Him proud.”