Kanye West Says People Try to Make Him Look Like a Lunatic
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 01.20.2014
Kanye talks Yeezus, his performances and more...
Kanye West recently spoke with director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) for Interview Magazine. Check out the highlights:
On the effects of his car crash years back: "It gave me perspective on life—that it was really now or 100 percent never. I think that people don't make the most of their lives. So, you know, for me, right now it seems like it's the beginning of me rattling the cage, of making some people nervous. And people are strategically trying to do things to mute my voice in some way or make me look like I'm a lunatic or pinpoint the inaccuracies in my grammar to somehow take away from the overall message of what I'm saying ..."
On the intensity in his performances: "As my grandfather would say, "Life is a performance." I'm giving all that I have in this life. I'm opening up my notebook and I'm saying everything in there out loud. A lot of people are very sacred with their ideas, and there is something to protecting yourself in that way, but there's also something to idea sharing, or being the person who makes the mistake in public so people can study that."
On whether the success of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy weight on him while making Yeezus: "Yeah! So I just had to throw it all in the trash. 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. Stepping forward with what I know about architecture, about classicism, about society, about texture, about synesthesia—the ability to see sound—and the way everything is everything and all these things combine, and then starting from scratch with Yeezus ... That's one of the reasons why I didn't want to use the same formula of starting the album with a track like "Blood on the Leaves," and having that Nina Simone sample up front that would bring everyone in, using postmodern creativity where you kind of lean on something that people are familiar with and comfortable with to get their attention. I actually think the most uncomfortable sound on Yeezus is the sound that the album starts with, which is the new version of what would have been called radio static. It's the sonic version of what internet static would be—that's how I would describe that opening. It's Daft Punk sound. It was just like that moment of being in a restaurant and ripping the tablecloth out from under all the glasses. That's what "On Sight" does sonically."
On using Yeezus to throw away what people wanted him to do so he could move on: "It's the only way that I can survive. The risk for me would be in not taking one—that's the only thing that's really risky for me. I live inside, and I've learned how to swim through backlash, or maintain through the current of a negative public opinion and create from that and come through it and spring forth to completely surprise everyone—to satisfy all believers and annihilate all doubters. And at this point, it's just fun.
On how important it is for him to be current: "I don't use a lot of current-affairs names—I've used them seldomly—but I feel like it's just a current itself, a wave that I'm surfing. There is no sport without the wave, so I have to wait for it. If the waves are high, then we're gonna have a fun day. If the waves are low, then you just stay on the beach."
On the controversy around his "Bound 2" video: "I think all that stuff around it is just that: controversy. I think people are afraid of dreams, and 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. You know, I think there are rules to fashion, with the all-black everything, and rules to art, with white galleries. There are rules to how a lot of things are: the concrete jungle, stone pavement, brick walls. There are even rules to what a Brooklyn apartment looks like. But this video completely didn't respect any of those rules whatsoever. [laughs] 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. I mean, look, it took some time for us to be comfortable with a walking, talking mouse, but that became an icon. So this stuff, what I'm doing now, is the beginning of me throwing out what it means to be a rapper—you know, with the gold chain ..."
On whether he wants to extend his success from music into other fields: "One-hundred percent. Easy as cake, easy as pie. Too many people are scared. But it is my job to go up every night and talk about this kind of shit. It is actually my job. I'm like a broadcaster for futurism, for dreamers, for people who believe in themselves. We've been taught since day one to stop believing in our own dreams. We've had the confidence beaten out of us since day one, and then sold back to us through branding and diamond rings and songs and melodies—through these lines that we have to walk inside of so as to not break the uniform or look silly or be laughed at. So I hope that there are people out there laughing. Laugh loud, please. Laugh until your lungs give out because I will have the last laugh."
On whether he thinks some people feel threatened by him because he makes sense: They try to make it seem like I'm making the least sense possible. They'll take any shot possible to try to take away the power of my influence and my words. But the proof is in the work. The proof will be when we look back on this in 10 more years, because one thing that I will guarantee to everyone reading this is success. I'm guaranteeing success. I'm guaranteeing that we're gonna win. Or let me put it another way, only one of two things can happen: either I'm gonna be right or I'm gonna be wrong. But if you look at the past 10 years, I've been right.