Kanye West: ‘I’m Not a Musician. I’m an Inventor’
Kanye West has unleashed a series of revealing interviews in the months after unveiling his first Adidas fashion line, and the rapper once again holds nothing back in a new essay he penned for Paper. In the introspective piece, West talks about his role as an artist, Illuminati accusations, where he’s at in his fashion career, social media and why it’s harder for him to focus on music.
“I am not what I would consider truly a musician. I am an inventor. I am an innovator,” West says. “Graduation was an innovation. 808s & Heartbreak was an innovation. The song ‘Niggas in Paris’ was an innovation. ‘Only One’ was an innovation. ‘FourFiveSeconds’ was an innovation. I care about innovating. I don’t care about capitalizing off of something that we’ve seen or heard a thousand times. I’m not a capitalist in that way. I’m an innovator. That’s my job. I like two things: I like innovating and I like making things better.”
West was among the platinum-selling artists to align with Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service at a star-studded launch party. “I heard a comment – a joke – about the Tidal press conference being an Illuminati moment. If there was actually an Illuminati, it would be more like the energy companies. Not celebrities that gave their life to music and who are pinpointed as decoys for people who really run the world,” West said. “I’m tired of people pinpointing musicians as the Illuminati. That’s ridiculous. We don’t run anything; we’re celebrities. We’re the face of brands. We have to compromise what we say in lyrics so we don’t lose money on a contract. “
As for the less-than-stellar reviews for West’s fashion line, the rapper views it as the infancy of his career as a designer. “Bravery and courage is walking into pain and knowing that something better is on the other side. I heard this quote from Steve Jobs: someone came up to him when he was working on something and said, ‘Hey, just do it. It will be easy.’ And he said, ‘Wait a second. Anything halfway good is at least medium hard.’ There’s no easy way out,” West said. “Just choose what you want to focus on. Right now, over 70 percent of my focus is on apparel. I haven’t even given my College Dropout of clothing yet. We’re still on mixtapes. “
As opposed to politically charged albums like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, both of which arrived in the aftermath of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, West hasn’t yet used his status or music to engage a conversation about what’s happening in America. Instead, West says he’s approaching the underlying problem in another way.
“People have asked why I don’t speak out – on social media, for example – about events in this country. The way I see it, it’s not about a post on social media from me when there are people dying. There’s people in Chicago dying. There’s people all across the globe dying for no reason! There’s people who’ll never have the opportunity to live their lives for terrible, nonsensical reasons,” West wrote. “I care about people. I care about society. I care about people being inspired. I care about people believing in themselves, because that’s the scariest thing. The modern population cannot be controlled by the system – they break the system.”
Nearly five months after the release of “Only One,” West doesn’t appear to be any closer to releasing his new LP So Help Me God, and West admits his other interests are getting in the way of his music. “It’s just harder for me to do music now, period,” West said.