Kanye West has changed his priorities over the past year. While in Liverpool, England, for the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards last week, the rapper told MTV Base that his main career objective is just to be groundbreaking with his product, not to be the most recognizable face on the planet.
"I used to want to be the biggest star in the world; now I don't know if that's my goal anymore," West said. "I just want to make really good music. I wouldn't do anything just to become any more famous. If anything, I want to be less famous. So as I make my music, I'm putting it out for me!"
Although Kanye finally managed to win an EMA last week, that wasn't his main objective in being there. He said he just wanted to hit the stage. That's a stark contrast from his appearance at the show two years ago, when he jumped onstage to rant about his lack of awards.
"Man, I don't care about awards at all — awards are completely fixed," he said. "I just came to perform my song. ... It's just an opportunity to get up there and say 'thank you' to the fans, 'thank you' to my mother for supporting me all my life.
"The award is when you go to a club and people really play your song, and I haven't paid or asked to play it," Kanye continued. "The award is when real people sing your record and it's now penetrated culture! I don't know what awards Jimi Hendrix won, but I know that he penetrated culture. The award is the opportunity to perform. I would have preferred that I didn't get nominated for anything. I was like, 'Don't nominate me for anything else.' I used to practice my speeches. I don't practice speeches or anything anymore. It's about making some real f---ing music!"
At last week's awards show, Kanye could be seen pulling some of his fellow nominees and performers — such as Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, and the Killers' Brandon Flowers — backstage to hear his new album, 808s & Heartbreak. The record's release date has just been moved up one day to November 24.
Last week, an animated video for the new single "Heartless" was released, and on Monday (November 10), a remix of "Love Lockdown" with R. Kelly hit the Net. No word yet on whether the pairing of the two Chicago superstars was official. Meanwhile, Kanye says he's going back in the studio with Jay-Z for Blueprint 3, and the recordings they have come up with thus far are "phenomenal."
"Emotion" is how he summed up what he wants to convey on 808s & Heartbreak. "I have suffered a lot of hardships with trying to settle into being a celebrity," West admitted. "It is quite unsettling, and sometimes I'm onstage and I think I will never be normal again. I will never be able to just walk around normal again. I will never be able to just go to the grocery store again.
"[When I released the] 'Flashing Lights' video, there were people who didn't like the fact that it only had three cuts in it," he said. "And I was like, 'F--- you, it's for me.' So everything I do at this point is for me. That's the only thing I can do to try and stay sane. ... You have got to realize I have sacrificed my life, my anonymity to be a celebrity and to give a lot of myself. People are so f---ing cruel!
"Think about how much Michael Jackson has done for us, and every time you bring up Michael Jackson, usually people are joking about him," he continued. "I'm one step away from that kid that just won a couple of awards, and a step away from Michael Jackson. 'Oh, he's so arrogant, he's so this, he's so that!' People don't even f---ing know me and have so much to say. Paparazzi, anybody who comes close enough to me, if I ask you not to take a picture of me, don't ask me something; just realize I am a real person. I am not a celebrity, I'm just famous and stuff, and I make good music. It's just a hard situation for me. I lost my mom, I lost my relationship, my hopes of some type of normality, hopes of a family, just so I could be on the stage."
Kanye ended his EMA performance by bringing out Estelle for "American Boy." Then an image of President-elect Barack Obama appeared in the background. "He's the number one American Boy," the Louis Vuitton Don said of his tribute to the next president.
"It was amazing," West added of the win by his hometown's senator. "I mean, just to be in America when I heard it was just unbelievable. It was the most unbelievable thing I ever heard. It's funny, I was on a plane, and when I landed I found out my mother had passed, and it was unbelievable and devastating, in a bad way. This year, I was on a plane and I found out that Obama had won, and it was equally as unbelievable, but in an amazing way."