Kanye West has returned to the Breakfast Club! In the past, the station has been Yeezy’s preferred platform for his more baffling rants. But in his most recent visit, Ye gives the most lucid interview of his career. Host Charlemagne tha God has got it right: “Ye got media training! This is a new Ye!” Media-savvy Kanye pauses to consider his responses. He even apologises for giving an answer that’s “politically correct”. He’s self deprecating. “I don’t like autotune neither but I need it,” he says, acknowledging his shortcomings as a singer. He’s funny. And not in an unintentional way like he normally is. Actually funny.
This is the most likeable we have seen Kanye in years. The interview is fixated with the idea of humility. Whilst this is probably complete bullshit, it certainly won me over. But then again I’ve always had vivid daytime fantasies of shielding Kanye from paparazzi and gently guiding his head into a limo as we flee a media scrum together, hand-in-hand.
Nonetheless the interview is still pure Kanye and filled wit enough soundbytes to see us through to his next media meltdown. Let’s take a look at Yeezy’s top 8.
“I’m not gonna give myself any kind of title anymore… I’m just a humble servant”
I know I said the interview wasn’t unintentionally funny. And with the exception of this one quote, it isn’t. And even this quote has context. Ye says that he’s moved past giving himself titles, “genius” etc. His only focus now is satisfying the masses. Doing things that “serve the public.” This message is actually pretty consistent with the rest of the interview – his upcoming pop album and his accessible new clothing line. “My approach is more Robin Hood now.” Ye talks about what he wants from his collaboration with Adidas. “I want people to have what they make… I want as many people to get them.” His ultimate goal is to bring the price point down to $60.
The new Yeezy wants to break down ideas of class. He illustrates this in typical Kanye fashion, with a bizarre anecdote that could only come from his Mount Olympus perspective. Boarding an international flight Kanye noticed that the queue for first class was in fact longer than the economy line. The Hermes-toting first class passengers would rather wait in line and preserve their status than rush through the economy queue. This powerful image causes him to philosophize on class struggles. “You wanna be first class, but in a plane crash, everyone dead.” Profound. Further, he says that he goes without flying private so that he can be “inspired” by the plebeians that he observes at the airport. This smacks of Tracy Jordan’s demand of a blue collar fan: “can I feel the rough skin on your hands?”
“Humbly, I would say I’m the most influential person in footwear right now”
Again, I promised it wasn’t unintentionally funny. But Ye’s comments are probably justified here. The Adidas Yeezy’s really are revolutionary. “I’m a futurist” Kanye says. And shit – don’t the Yeezy’s look exactly like the perfect footwear to match the plain grey tunic that’s given to every citizen in every dystopian sci-fi novel ever? Katniss would have breezed through the trials with a pair of Yeezy Boosts on. But Kanye is not above laughing at his own product. He concedes that he wanted to make a “sexier ugg” and recognises that “people joke at that.” Again, Ye’s goal with fashion is democratic, he wants to bring it to the masses. Affordability is his new mantra. His ultimate aim is to “have everything at a Zara level.”
“I went to dinner, sat down with Taylor Swift. And, ironically, they were playing the Beck album”
One of the shittiest things about Kanye’s ‘Beck Rant’ was his comment that Beck “didn’t respect artistry.” As countless memes have since pointed out, Beck is a multi-instrumentalist and sole producer of his 12th studio album. “That was hypocritical,” concedes Ye.
But Kanye’s apology is typically backhanded. Ye recognises the irony when the Beck album is playing in the background of his rendezvous with interuptee Taylor Swift. “Man this is kinda good” says Ye during his first listen. Yes, that’s right. When Ye walked on stage touting the supremacy of the Queen Bee, he, a man famous for always having his ear to the ground, had not even heard Beck’s album for comparison. When asked whether Ye had made the effort to reach out to Beck, he says that he made the effort to get the folk-singers contact details. The only thing preventing him from making the call was that he “just kept forgetting.”
By gaining the brain function to perform humble gestures, Ye has unfortunately lost the brain function for short term memory.
“Stop talking about racism… it slows down the conversation”
It’s not clear whether this is a new attitude that Kanye has genuinely developed, or whether it’s straight from his PR playbook. Kanye’s views on race are sometimes divisive. His PR team probably stress that his views can alienate some fans (read: white fans). So it’s not clear whether this new outlook is being forced on Kanye, to keep the peace, or whether this new mind state is really his own.
Kanye says that complaining about racism is played out. “We know a lot of white men over the age of 60 are racist, a lot of people in power like Donald Sterling, but the world is moving…” He says that we need to “stop talking about racism.” Being fixated on race ultimately serves to “slow down the conversation.”
The opinion of Kanye’s father is clearly gospel to him. “Stay out of Mike Brown” says Ye’s dad. When asked why his father would make this demand, Ye replies “[he’s] being protective of his son, I can’t run in front of every bullet.” I would take the bullets for you Kanye. If only you would just let me.
“She can get naked if she wants to”
Charlemagne criticizes Kim Kardashian’s attempt to ‘break the internet’ as needlessly sexual and needlessly attention-seeking. “She can get naked if she wants to” says Ye. Aside from an obscure reference to Adam and the Fall of Man, Kanye gives a measured response to a fairly ridiculous insult. Ye defends both the artistic integrity of the photograph and Kim’s business clout. “Has the Kardashian brand hurt the Kanye West brand?” asks Charlemagne. He implies that the Kardashian’s are trash, that they can’t rub shoulders with Ye’s arty friends. But ol’ Robin Hood has a comeback for this as well. “It’s helped” says Ye, “shown my ability to bridge the gap.” Ye believes that marrying the reality TV star has made him more accessible to the everyman. Certainly Kim’s talents are pedestrian.
Again, for every sensible comment about sexual liberation and monogamy there’s a funny pot-shot at an ex. “It’s hard for a woman to want to be with someone that’s been with Amber Rose” says Kanye “I had to take 30 showers.” He aims this zinger at the former flame who inspired Runaway. When asked whether it was true that Kim Kardashian sent him naked photos of herself while he was dating Rose, Ye replies simply “I wish.”
“Cookout: music that just feels good”
Here comes Ye the public servant again. His new album is going to be popular. He almost seems embarrassed by the challenging nature of Yeezus. He calls it his “if- y’all-ain’t-gonna-let-me-play – I’m-gonna-take-my-ball-and-go-home” album. Meaning that it was made deliberately obscure to upset punters and music execs alike. Kanye wants to make music for the everyman again. “Music that makes you feels good. Embracing the music. Embracing the joy. Being of service to the people. Trying to get it to the people.” Only One and Wolves are definitely more radio friendly, and are most sonically similar to the vocal album 808’s and Heartbreaks. But should Kanye have to dumb down just so that he can be popular again? Or is the whole thing pure Andy Warhol? Turning pop into high art because it’s exactly what no one will be expecting.
“Me and Drake…was gonna do an album together and it was gon’ be called Wolves”
Ye reveals the Drake collab that could have been! “I’ll give y’all the soundbyte that y’all want –the Wolves song came from a conversation that me and Drake had when was gonna do an album together and it was gon’ be called Wolves.” You could almost hear the collective panty-drop when Ye made this announcement. If this idea had come to fruition when it was first floated in 2010, we could have been looking at the sappiest double-header of that, or any, decade. A head-to-head duet duel between Drake and Kanye would test the capabilities of modern autotune software. And the capabilities of the human heart.
“I want Disney Imagineering to support my ideas”
Ye reveals the Disney collab that could have been! Not quite. The quote is given in the context of a general rant about his accomplishments as an artist in all disciplines. Could Kanye animate his own feature length film? Sure, why not. I’ll watch it. Make this happen Disney.
Stream the full interview here: