It's not every day that you get a Kanye West interview. Though Yeezy has been mostly silent since 2010 (he has broken his no-media rule on a few occasions), the super-opinionated rap star gave an open and honest interview to the The New York Times in support of his June 18 album, Yeezus.
"I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period," he said to New York Times writer Jon Caramanica during a sit-down at executive producer Rick Rubin's Shangri-la Studio in Malibu, California.
The in-depth Q&A hit the Internet on Tuesday (June 11), a day after West played his new album for an all-star crowd that included Jay-Z, Beyoncé and football star Victor Cruz in a Manhattan open-air loading dock. West spent a great portion of the interview talking up Yeezus and its sonic sparseness. He credits Rubin with helping him strip the excess layers. "I'm still just a kid learning about minimalism, and he's a master of it. It's just really such a blessing, to be able to work with him," he said of the famed Def Jam co-founder and heavily decorated record producer.
Yeezy dubbed himself "the Michael Jordan of music" and likened his famed rants to when the basketball great would argue with referees. The way Kanye sees it, he's just trying to right the wrongs. "I don't know if this is statistically right, but I'm assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven't won one against a white person," he surmised, noting that he doesn't just want the rap gramophones at the coveted award show (for those keeping score, he's won 21). "But the thing is, I don't care about the Grammys; I just would like for the statistics to be more accurate... I don't want them to rewrite history right in front of us. At least, not on my clock."
West said he has a responsibility to "push possibilities" — it's a job he takes very seriously and one that he is extremely proud of. He made a name for himself producing a heralded brand of hip-hop soul for Jay-Z and then released his own rap debut The College Dropout in 2004. Since then, Kanye has repeatedly pushed the possibilities by linking with celebrated producer Jon Brion on his Late Registration LP and then beginning his own "new wave" period with 2008's Auto-tuned sing-a-long 808s & Heartbreak. "I've been connected to the most culturally important albums of the past four years, the most influential artists of the past 10 years," he proclaimed.
Kanye also addressed another award show, the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where he famously interrupted Taylor Swift's speech and was publicly chastised for it. He had previously apologized for his actions, but seemed at least in part to take it back. "If anyone's reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now," he said before halting his train of thought to prevent himself from causing a distraction.
'Ye continued to open up on all topics except two: the 2007 death of his mother Donda West and his unborn daughter with Kim Kardashian. "I just don't want to talk to America about my family," he declared. "Like, this is my baby. This isn't America's baby."
Perhaps the least surprising thing about The New York Times interview was that Kanye's remarks immediately set Twitter ablaze as defenders and detractors weighed in, tweeting and retweeting his most unfiltered remarks. Yeezy fans heralded the interview as yet another gift Kanye bestowed upon them. "This new Kanye interview is making me so happy it's like Christmas," wrote @liltupacx. @Hijayy agreed, tweeting: "That Kanye interview has me so hyped for Yeezus man it;s unbelievable. I'm like a kid all over again."
But of course, there were those who didn't agree, especially when Kanye criticized his own My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. "Kanye, please don't try to act like you're anti-celebrity. Also, MBDTF is one of your best albums and you know it. Cut the crap," @Joshhterry said.
And some, like @Juandizzle just laughed it off, not taking Kanye's apparent frustrations too seriously, "Kanye need anger management he be tripping lol."
It's clear that Kanye West is still one of music's most engaging and popularizing figures and he gives one heck of an interview. Hopefully we won't have to wait as long until the next one.
This new Kanye interview is making me so happy it's like Christmas— Dana West (@liltupacx) June 12, 2013
Kanye need anger management he be tripping lol— Coach Juan (@juandizzle) June 12, 2013
What was your favorite quote from the interview? Tell us in the comments!