Kanye West Talks Mike Brown, Beck, New Album Status in Surprise Interview
Kanye West’s weeklong visit to New York for Fashion Week and SNL 40 wrapped up Friday morning with a revelatory interview with hip-hop station Power 105. The rapper hung out in the studio for almost an hour and covered subjects as far-ranging as his sneaker line and forgetting to apologize to Beck to an in-the-works collaborative LP with Drake and Kanye’s own Yeezus follow-up, which the rapper says is “80 percent done.” Here are 11 things we learned from West’s Power 105 interview.
1. Despite heavy usage of Auto-Tune on West’s new singles “Only One” and “Wolves,” the rapper isn’t a champion of voice manipulating software.
“I don’t like Auto-Tune either, but I need it,” adding that he likes how the effect allows him to bend his voice on tracks like “Runaway.”
2. Kanye wants everyone to be able to own his Yeezy Boosts, not just sneakerheads,
Following Adidas’ limited run of West’s Yeezy Boosts, the sneakers are now being resold online for over $1,500. West admits he doesn’t like the “separatism” in fashion right now. “Ain’t no limited release of College Dropout,” the rapper noted. This segued into a conversation on class itself. “You want to be upper class, you want to be first class, but when the plane crash, everybody dead,” West said.
3. Kanye was supposed to apologize to Beck for the Grammy diss, but forgot to.
“I got [Beck’s] number and I was supposed to call but I just keep forgetting,” West said. “Think about all the good stuff that happened to me the past seven to eight days. The person that won the most was Beck, because if I hadn’t done that, his Album of the Year would never be mentioned. Now it’s in all the chatter. ‘Kanye West messes up again.’ I’m already the enemy, so you can’t get no worse than the villain.”
West’s views on Beck’s victory haven’t changed since Music’s Biggest Night, as the rapper says Beck should’ve won for Best Rock Album (which Morning Phase did) but not Album of the Year. Asked why his stage-jumping antics are always in support of Beyoncé, West said, “I think Beyoncé is a great representation of an artist working hard and trying her best and getting the results from it.”
4. Kanye shared some advice that Taylor Swift gave him during their dinner that put award shows in perspective.
“Taylor was saying that when she was the victim, she won every award, but now that she’s the powerful artist, she ain’t winning any more awards,” West said.
5. What should we expect from Kanye’s new album? “Bars, songs, cookout: music that just feels good.”
“My last album was a protest of music,” West said of the minimalistic and jagged Yeezus, comparing the songs to a stubborn, slow free-throw shooter. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna take my ball and go home’. . . I didn’t even have no music. I just let y’all have a little music on ‘Bound,’ but that was it. But this album is just embracing the music, embracing joy and just being a service to the people.”
6. Kanye’s working on a documentary about controversial minister Louis Farrakhan.
“I actually asked for the minister to give me my BET Visionary Award, but he felt like it wasn’t the right time,” West said. “Right now, I’m working on a documentary with him, about him and about his music. He’s a classically trained violinist, and he’s also one of the most humane people. And now he got that stamp – in the same way my wife was stamped with the sex tape, the minister was stamped with [bigotry]. It’s important that while he’s still alive, he has to see the people appreciate his message. If you ever hear him talk, it’s about humanity; it’s about one race. As soon as you hear his name, I see people’s faces change. They have a perception. There’s a lot I can learn from him.”
7. Kanye didn’t comment on the Mike Brown shooting because of advice from his dad.
“My dad e-mailed me and said, ‘Stay out of it,’” West said. “My dad is 1,000 times smarter than me and 1,000 times more social than me. He literally lived at a homeless shelter. That’s my only parent, so I have to listen to him sometimes. . . I think he was just trying to be protective of his son. I can’t run in front of every bullet. I can’t run in front of every single bullet.”
But West says he will address themes of police brutality and race relations on his next LP: ”I’m always going to talk about ‘what’s going on,’ like Marvin Gaye would say. It’s definitely gonna be in there.”
8. That heavily anticipated Yeezus follow-up is almost finished.
“I think [it’s] 80 percent [done],” West said. “I’m trying to get it finished. I’m trying to get it to the people as soon as possible.” He also adds that release dates are “100%. . . played out,” so the album will drop in a “surprise” fashion.
9. Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian don’t hate each other.
“Nah, they love each other!” West said. “They respect each other. When Beyoncé’s working on an album, she has pictures of Kim on the wall because Kim represents powerful women. Kim be playing the [“7/11″] video for our daughter. They definitely respect each other. Maybe there’s a LeBron James-Kobe element to it. I didn’t say that. [laughs]”
10. Kanye and Drake talked about working on a collaborative album called Wolves.
“I’m just gonna say it because maybe this will promote it happening, so I’m gonna go ahead and put it out in the real world: The ‘Wolves’ song came from a conversation that me and Drake had where we was gonna do an album together, and the album was called Wolves,” West said. “I just put it out in the ether, in the world. If y’all don’t like it, you can send it right back! [laughs] I asked him, and we talked about it, and he said, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do it.’ He was sending beats back and forth. I got this one record with Young Thug that I think I’m gonna put on the Rihanna album.”
11. Kanye wants to do “hip-hop reparations.”
“I know this is gonna sound like a somewhat politically correct answer, like one of those politician-type answers, but I owe every hip-hop artist in a way,” West said. “I believe I’m gonna be the head of the first trillion-dollar company. And 100%, when I get to that point, no rapper would ever have to worry about anything again. My plan is coming, one-by-one: Big Daddy Kane, go to his crib, everybody crib. Like the Forrest Gump moment.”