Kanye West drops by 97.1 AMP for an interview.
Photo: 97.1 AMP Radio
You can pretty much call it a universal truth now: any time you give Kanye West a microphone, you're guaranteed to get at least one quote that will spark up further conversation (more like ten quotes that instigate a chorus of psychoanalytical think-pieces, but when it comes to numbers, we like to keep things conservative around here). Or in his own words, "every time I talk, there's a crack in the matrix." Such was the case when Yeezy stopped by L.A.'s 97.1 AMP to chat about his Yeezus tour merch, his recent engagement to Kim Kardashian, and, as always, beauty, truth, and awesomeness. We've pulled out our favorite Easter eggs from his interview (previously unconfirmed designs!!!!!!) and are adding a little bit of context for the uninitiated in the wonderful world of Kanye West fashion.
THE FUTURE OF PEE WEE SOCCER: Speaking to his future with Kim and baby Nori, Kanye reveals that he's down to be a soccer dad: "I'm gonna be a soccer coach." But certainly not a conventional one: "I'm definitely gonna design the uniforms."
FALL INTO THE GAP: In case you missed it, Kanye had originally hoped to license out his Yeezus merch to Gap, but because of "politics," he teamed up with PacSun instead. "What would happen if I was able to design a collection and was backed by The Gap?" Kanye asks. "It would be awesome, right?"
STATE OF THE UNION: According to Kanye, "No one is looking at what Obama is wearing." Umm HAI. *points wildly over here*
SETTING THE BAR HIGH: It takes about fifteen or so minutes into the interview for Ye to get fully warmed up and ready to sink his teeth into the serious fashion talk. "I'm the number one, most influential person on the globe in fashion," he says. "Hedi Slimane is a great designer of Saint Laurent and their $1 million jackets and everything. I love it. But I should have backing from one of the majors: Louis Vuitton Group which is Bernard Arnault, Kering Group which is François Pinault, or Renzo Rosso who owns Diesel and Margiela. Bottom line. And that's the only way it's gonna be because the thing is: when you go less than that, the level of the product just isn't where it should be." After all, he's a "product guy", remember? That said, what does it say about A) the fashion industry or B) Kanye's gauge of "quality product" if Gap is in the mix with the LV, Kering, and Rosso empires? Or are these two separate ventures?
BUCK FASHION, YEEZY'S A FRIEND OF THE LAW: Here's the part where Ye, give or take a Biblical reference, basically spells out the entire manifesto behind MTV Style by expressing his own beliefs. "I want to stop using the term 'fashion' because Eve made Adam bite an apple, and since then, it's been illegal to be naked," Yeezy says. "I'm helping people follow the law in style. I'm helping people with their opinion of how to follow the law. This isn't about fashion. I'm creating new standards: things so you don't have to think about it. 'Fashion' is too high a skill set. It just needs to be easy, easy as a hoodie and jeans that I'm wearing. I'll do all the hard work. I'll figure out exactly where that collar goes and exactly where that hoodie sits and how many times you can wash that fabric so it looks better 5 years from now. I'll do the hard work for you. Fashion is forcing people to do all this hard work where you look back two years and say, 'That looked crazy!' There are certain things that are standards. A suit jacket is a suit jacket is a suit jacket. A hoodie is a hoodie is a hoodie. Jeans are jeans are jeans. And a Michael Jordan sneaker is a Michael Jordan sneaker. Now, let's take our kids to the park. It's not about 'fashion;' it's about life and me helping it become more awesome." For Kanye now, simplicity = awesomeness.
IN THE HEART OF
DARKNESS DIXIE: In the interview, Ye takes a beat to discuss his controversial use of the Confederate flag in his Yeezus tour merch. "The Confederate flag represented slavery in a way," he explains. "That's my abstract take on what I know about it, right? So, I made the song 'New Slaves.' So, I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It's my flag now. Now, whatchu gon' do?"
GIRL NEXT DOOR: Apparently the proximity of the L.A. DASH store to the Yeezus pop-up location was unplanned! "It was purely a coincidence," Ye says. "Bravado was looking for a space, and we were able to make it really clean and put a dirt bike in the middle of it and everyone was just vibing out." Additionally, it seems the hype around the clothes is translating into sales. "We're really doing good with the merch," Kanye reveals. "We're doing, like, Metallica numbers like $14 a head. We're doing, like, Bieber numbers and stuff." Sure, Ye throws in the Bieber line just in case you don't get his Metallica reference, but you should really watch this throwback House of Style clip on rock n' roll merchandising to get the full picture.
SNEAKERHEAD BOMBSHELL: Blink, and you might've missed this very important string of revelations: "You know, I've been working on clothing seriously for the past 11 years. I interned at Fendi. I designed a Zanotti sneaker; people don't know that. I designed the Balmain sneakers; people don't know that. I've influenced a lot of trends from inside, and this is where I'm stepping up and saying, "Ok, now, I want my shot to really create everything and make life easier for people." Durrrrrr, WHAT?? *rewinds* I spent an entire day in March in a Kanye West x Giuseppe Zanotti collab rabbit hole. Tracking down any confirmation of Ibn Jasper's mysterious Instagram caption. I even contacted GZ only to be met with a "Mr. Zanotti and Kanye West have not yet released a collaborative design for the Giuseppe Zanotti HOMME collection" response. BUT NOW. #validation But also, he designed for Balmain, too? And what gives with it all being so hush-hush??
NO 'WATCH THE THRONE 2' FOR YOU (YET): "In all honesty, music is not my focus," Ye tells 97.1 AMP's Michelle while crushing everyone's dreams for a follow-up to Watch The Throne. "My focus is getting the proper type of deal backing from a major company—whether it's Nike, adidas, whoever—to back Yeezy. To not do the Yeezy and act like it didn't happen and people don't call you. No, to get backing, get proper royalties, and make awesome product." If the people want their Jay + Ye, he's gonna have to put out some clothes first.
TYLER, THE MENTOR: The interview rounds out with a game of knee-jerk word association. Michelle lists names of celebrities and other important public figures and Kanye is urged to say the first thing that comes to mind. For Odd Future's Tyler, the Creator, a rapper Ye has repeatedly supported publicly, he describes him as an "artist, innovator, and a good mentor," despite being more than ten years younger than West. "He helped me out with some of the merch," Ye says. "He came in and was like, 'Ok, these are the principles,' because he's so talented and understands things because he went to film school that I don't." That totally makes sense since Golf Wang has blown up way beyond its merch-based beginnings and, for all intents and purposes, is now basically the Odd Future clothing brand. It also makes us wonder whether the pop-up shop was Tyler's idea, given, y'know. Guess we'll have to wait until the next Yeezy interview for answers to that plus a billion other questions we never even knew we had!