Kanye West knows all too well how much difference a year can make. The rapper, who endured a public backlash just 12 months ago, is now incorporating a new outlook into everything from his music to his lifestyle.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, West opens up about the impact of his mother's death and his determination to spread her message. He also speaks about his highly anticipated new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and fellow hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z.
Speaking candidly about the 2007 passing of his mother, the rapper admits he never found it in himself to deal with the tragic loss.
"On one hand, I never really dealt with the loss," he tells the magazine. "But, in not dealing with the loss, I also didn't completely deal with the responsibilities that my mother used to take. She was such an amazing, well-rounded person, and I was a spoiled brat."
'Ye reveals that his mother's teaching profession had much to do with how she acted as a person, saying, "She was a teacher, and to be a teacher, you have to care about people — you can't just care about yourself. I just cared about myself. I thought the fact that so many people in the world — a million in the first week [of a record release] — cared about me, that that was enough, but it's not enough."
Now, the "Power" MC reveals, his refocused mindset has changed him for the better as he keeps the memory of his mother close to his side.
"The best thing I can do now is carry on my mother's legacy," he explains. "I need to recapture the hearts of the world just to show people how great my mother was, to show people that Donda raised a good guy.
"My responsibility is to make music that's progressive, that makes me happy, that makes everyone happy. My job in society isn't to be mad. My job is to present good music."
Much like his Fantasy collaborator Q-Tip described, West says that while he was in the process of creating his new album, he was determined to take things back a step.
"I wanted to take it back to the essence, like the soulful people who brought knowledge — like RZA and Q-Tip," he says. "At a certain point, you need to find a better way to do it."
West concedes that while he still wants to conquer the music scene, he must also take public opinion into consideration.
He may have just learned the aspects of "humility and empathy," but friend and fellow rapper Jay-Z seems to have always been a source of inspiration. When asked what Jigga has done for him, West replies, "Man, everything — served as a big brother, the blueprint, our reality. Someone to look up to."
But Kanye feels as if he's fulfilled a purpose for the chart-topper too: "Just served as a burst of energy at all times — light and energy. Just a person who's constantly seeking information that Jay can use."
Do you think Kanye's latest material shows a new outlook? Share your thoughts in the comments!