Fame can be like floating in cold, empty space. At least, according to Kanye West, who described his family’s life as a kind of trip to the stars in an interview with “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen in Interview magazine.
In the wide-ranging story, in which Yeezus also vented once more about his Grammy snubs, he also finally explained the controversial look of his “Bound 2” video and clarified that his so-called onstage “meltdowns” are actually “turn-ups.”
“You know, becoming famous is like being catapulted into space, sometimes without a space suit,” Kanye said of his budding family’s existence. “We’ve seen so many people combust, suffocate, get lost in all these different things … But to have an anchor of other astronauts and to make a little space family … I wanted a family. So God gives you opportunities, and you make sacrifices for something that’s greater.”
With baby North just turning 7 months old, ’Ye said it was too early to say yet how he feels about being a dad, but give him some time.
“I think I have to experience it for another few years to be able to give you an opinion,” he said. “It’s all brand new, how it feels to be a father. There are some things that I understand, certain things that I don’t understand, certain things that I like to get off my chest in interviews, certain things that I want to talk about. But when we talk about love, I don’t have an answer. All I can say is that I’m happy I have it.”
’Bound 2’ Was Supposed To Look Cheesy
McQueen caught up with West, 36, just after the controversial (and meme-spawning ) video for “Bound 2” was released and he got ’Ye to finally explain the concept behind its seemingly cheesy-on-purpose look.
“You know you can go to a bunch of people who say, ’Hey, I want to make a video based off of these white-trash T-shirts.’ But ’Bound 2’ is [director] Nick Knight’s take on those white-trash T-shirts, and if I went to five other artists, they would all do it in other ways,” he said.
He also dismissed the so-called controversy over the “Bound” look, saying that it’s just jealousy from people who are afraid of dreams.
“That video is one of the closest things to the way that dreams look and feel, or the way joy looks and feels, with the colors,” he said. “There are rules to how a lot of things are: the concrete jungle, stone pavement, brick walls … But this video completely didn’t respect any of those rules whatsoever. It’s a dream, and I think the controversy comes from the fact that I don’t think most people are comfortable with their own dreams, so it’s hard for them to be comfortable with other people’s dreams.”
Grammys Need To Get It Right
Though he’s won 21 Grammys, Kanye still feels snubbed by the Recording Academy after being nominated for Best Album three times and never winning.
“I made Dark Fantasy and Watch the Throne less than a year apart and neither of them got nominated,” he said. ” ’N—as in Paris’ wasn’t nominated for Best Song either. But let’s go into the fact that I have the most Grammys of any 36-year-old or 40-year-old or whatever, and I’ve never won a Grammy outside of the Rap or R&B categories.”
Tapping Into His Inner Child
West said he taps into his inner child for his creative spark.
“I just close my eyes and act like I’m a 3-year-old,” he said in the interview, in which he later praised Madonna as the greatest musical visual artist of our time, thanks to her pioneering relationships with the world’s best photographers.
“I try to get as close to a childlike level as possible because we were all artists back then. So you just close your eyes and think back to when you were as young as you can remember and had the least barriers to your creativity.”
Why Yeezus Sounds That Way
Why did Yeezus have such a radical, noisy sound?
“I just had to throw it all in the trash,” he said of his previous musical ideas. “I had to not follow any of the rules because there was no way to match up to the previous album.
“Dark Fantasy was the first time you heard that collection of sonic paintings in that way. So I had to completely destroy the landscape and start with a new story. Dark Fantasy was the fifth installment of a collection that included the four albums before it. It’s kind of the ’Luke, I am your father’ moment. Yeezus, though, was the beginning of me as a new kind of artist.”
Don’t Think Meltdown, Think Turn Up
As for what the media [guilty as charged] often refers to as his “meltdowns,” Kanye has a very different take on them. “I don’t call [them] meltdowns at all, I call them ’turn-ups’ — at things like the MTV Video Music Awards.”
Because the bottom line for Kanye, when asked what it’s all about, is this: “If someone has got all the money in the world, they’d still want love.”