Didn’t Understand Yeezus? Kanye’s Got the Answers.

Founded by art icon Andy Warhol, Interview magazine often delves into the conversations two artists can have. The New York-based publication is veering more into Hip-Hop, with Q-Tip, Jay Z, and now Kanye West hitting its extra large, matte-finished pages.

Mr. West is the subject of February’s cover story. Interviewed by 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen, Kanye discusses love, creativity, Madonna, and the way he feels he is wrongfully and strategically portrayed by some media. While you’ll have to hit the news stands (or just visit Interview) for the full monty, check out these three poignant excerpts:

On The Impact Of His Early 2000s Near-Fatal Car Accident:I think I started to approach time in a different way after the accident. Before [the accident], I was more willing to give my time to people and things that I wasn’t as interested in because somehow I allowed myself to be brainwashed into being forced to work with other people or on other projects that I had no interest in. So simply, the accident gave me the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do. I was a music producer, and everyone was telling me that I had no business becoming a rapper, so it gave me the opportunity to tell everyone, ‘Hey, I need some time to recover.’ But during that recovery period, I just spent all my time honing my craft and making The College Dropout. Without that period, there would have been so many phone calls and so many people putting pressure on me from every direction—so many people I somehow owed something to—and I would have never had the time to do what I wanted to.


On Following Up My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy With Yeezus:So I just had to throw [My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy] 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 Kanye West’s Definition Of Success (Part Answer):Well, influence isn’t my definition of success—it’s a by-product of my creativity. I just want to create more. I would be fine with making less money. I actually spend the majority of my money attempting to create more things. Not buying things or solidifying myself or trying to make my house bigger, or trying to show people how many Louis Vuitton bags I can get, or buying my way to a good seat at the table. My definition of success, again, is getting my ideas out there. The first company that has really given me a shot is Adidas. They did the deal … I mean, Damon Dash did the deal, at the end of the day. He signed Kanye West 12 years ago. What does that mean now? What does that mean to music? You know, people say things about creativity and jobs and every 10 years, blah, blah, blah. But I don’t have a desire to not continue making music. When I left Chicago and moved to New York, it wasn’t because I didn’t love Chicago; it was because I needed to go to New York. So right now, I’ve got other innovations and other thoughts that I want to pursue. As I was saying earlier, I create like a 3-year-old. When you’re 3, you wake up one morning and say, ‘I wanna ride a bike.’ And then the next day, you wake up and say, ‘I wanna draw.’ I don’t want to be in a situation where, because I was good enough at riding a bike one day, then that’s all I can do for the rest of my life. I mean, you know firsthand, being a fine artist and then moving into the Hollywood space … You know, I say to Renzo Rosso, Bernard Arnault, and François-Henri Pinault, the heads of Diesel, LVMH, and Kering, ‘Come to my show and look at the mountain I made. Look at these 20,000 people screaming, and then tell me I don’t deserve to design a T-shirt.’ If I want to design a T-shirt in my lifetime, then please help me do it! People say, ‘Well, why don’t you just do it on your own?’ Are you telling me to sew every single T-shirt? People say, ‘Why do you antagonize the high-end companies and your fan base?’ and this and that. But what I’m saying is that in working with partners like Louis Vuitton and Zanotti and Balmain and Fendi like I have—and please forgive me for using film as a metaphor because I hate when people do that with music—I feel like it’s a better form of film that I’m working with when I work with them. I’m working with better cameras. I’m working with better editors … Steve, please forgive me because I feel like it’s super-patronizing whenever someone does an analogy or a metaphor that relates to the field that you currently work in.”

Read the whole Kanye West x Steve McQueen interview.

Related: Kanye West Talks With Acclaimed Author Bret Easton Ellis In Podcast Debut (Audio)