It’s not uncommon for artists to bring their moms to awards shows. Kanye West, however, might be the first to perform with his.
“That was really my mom,” the rapper said of the woman who played his mother in his theatrical performance of “Jesus Walks” at the Grammys. “She had to learn all the moves and everything. [The show's producers] tried to disrespect her, like, ‘You know, there’s a lot of moves.’ She made me! You think she can’t figure out them moves?”
Performing with his mother was among West’s many highlights on Sunday, the biggest being his win for Best Rap Album, one of the few awards given out during the main show (see “Kanye Steals The Show, But Ray Dominates Grammy Winners’ Circle” ).
“It’s not so much particularly getting the Grammys, it was the opportunity to speak at the Grammys that I wanted,” a visibly jubilant West said backstage afterward. “It just felt like I served God with this album. And he gave me the world tonight. He gave me the floor. That’s all I wanted, I wanted the floor.”
West said he’d been writing that speech, which he fought back tears to deliver, since he was 18. He was up until 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning putting on the final touches. “It’s emotional,” he explained. “It’s all your dreams coming true.”
The work on his speech paid off, as it prompted some of the biggest names in music to congratulate him on making The College Dropout after nearly losing his life in a car accident.
“Bono came up and had a full conversation with me,” West said. “I’m picturing the videos, I’m thinking like, ‘Yo, this is a rock star!’ Like a legend having a serious conversation with me about music and really breaking down elements of the speech. He felt [what I said] about people not appreciating
their moment. This whole night is overwhelming.”
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The excitement Kanye experienced Sunday, as well as the joyous year he’s had topping the albums charts and winning other awards, will be reflected in the rapper’s next album, Late Registration.
“The College Dropout had a real inspirational feel ’cause it helped me recover from my accident,” West said. “Now this album has to be about the celebration, the celebration of life. About really having a good time, ’cause that’s what my life has been about after I recovered.”
West is writing, producing and rapping most of the album himself, although he’s done at least one collaboration, a track with John Mayer called “Bittersweet” (see “Kanye West And John Mayer Collaborate But Won’t Elaborate” ).
“I’m not just collaborating with people because that’s what you’re supposed to do, that’s what’s hot, I just really love John Mayer particularly,” West said. “A lot of times people collaborate and they won’t even listen to the [other artist's] album … and then you listen to [their] hit single just so you don’t look stupid in the studio. But I really do love John Mayer, so it’s a perfect fit.”
Late Registration was originally due in early 2005, but it’s been pushed back to later in the year.
“One of my problems is … I’m just getting way better on the mic,” the always confident Kanye said. “I have to rewrite everything.”
For more on Kanye West, check out the feature “In The Lab With Kanye.”