Kanye West isn't graduating in May or June, like most seniors. The so-called College Dropout's Graduation date will actually be this fall — September 18, to be exact. That's according to his mother, Donda, who says she's very proud of West's third LP. "This Graduation album is his best ever — musically, as well as the lyrics," she said.
Def Jam has confirmed that its savant's next opus is slated for September but says the 18th isn't concrete as of yet (see "Kanye West Shoots Down Reality-TV Rumors, Reveals Real TV Plans"). What is a little clearer is that we should be hearing at least a pair of new records from 'Ye very soon. He has visuals for them in the can to boot.
"We already shot two videos," Kanye said earlier this week in L.A. on the set of Common's "The Game" video (see "Common, Kanye Kick It Old-School In Clip For 'The Game' "). "Me and Hype [Williams] went out, we shot nine days. We were out in Japan, we were out in the desert. We're taking it serious."
Although West did not give away the titles for the songs he has ready to go, he did say some of the rumors circulating around the Internet about them are true. If that's the case, we can look forward to a record called "Homecoming" featuring Chris Martin of Coldplay and a ditty titled "The Glory," which was originally conceived for Common's upcoming Finding Forever LP (see "Common, Kanye Going For 'Glory' On Raw, Soulful New Songs" and "Kanye West, Lily Allen Finding Something In Common").
"I'm graduating from a school called 'Universe City,' " Kanyeezee explained of his Gradution concept. "I think the sound is bigger this time. It's bigger and simpler, where the notes really connect with you and I say lines ... I know the power of my words, so when I rap, I know it's gonna impact the world. I know I'm gonna be performing anywhere from the Summer Jam stage [at New Jersey's Giants Stadium] to [New York nightclub] Speed to the House of Blues in L.A., to London to Brazil to Ireland. ... I'm making music for somebody sitting in a car on their way to work trying to get through traffic and my music is helping them zone out, to a 60,000-seater where I'm opening up for the Rolling Stones or U2. I'm not talking about you two — I'm talking about U2 the group. Like I say, 'Why would I do a song with you two when I just got offstage with U2? I'm not even talking to you two.' That's how I feel."
"I'm ready to take over the world once again," he added. "I have a lot to say. I got a lot more music to make. I'm still going through stuff. People are still going through stuff. I make music people can relate to every day. My music just isn't about my story. ... There's not one artist in the world that has as much responsibility as me. When I deliver a piece of music, it has to connect with the most genres of music. I don't care who you name. If you name rap artists, their only responsibility is to rap crowds. If you name a pop artist, their only responsibility is to a pop crowd. If you name some French dance music, their responsibility is to the cool crowd. But I have to deliver songs. All these people are looking at me from super-middle America to the hipsters like, 'What's he gonna do next?' "
In addition to his own project, Kanye has been producing the aforementioned Finding Forever as well as Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III. His mother just released her book "Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar," and her son has been present with her during some book signings.
"I was encouraged by a number of my friends and colleagues," she explained. "I taught English for a number of years, so it's not surprising that I would consider writing a book, but I never knew I would be writing a book about myself. There are so many aspects of Kanye's life now and growing up that people wouldn't know about. They know about Kanye the superstar. I wanted to share who he is as a person."
The book starts with Ms. West's lineage, continues through her son's birth and goes into his recent life as well.
Want to hear more about the anticipated Kanye West/ Lil Wayne collaboration and why the Chicago music man was attracted to working with the New Orleans Fireman? Come back Monday for a major exclusive in the column that acts as your conduit to the streets, "Mixtape Monday."