Kanye West is not a fan of doing interviews. Outside of a handful of recent exceptions, including the notorious Q&A with the New York Times and a sit-down with his mother-in-law Kris Jenner for her short-lived talk show, West’s increasing reluctance to answer questions has made interviews with the rapper bona fide events.
Such is the case with a new on-camera Q&A West conducted with BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, with the first of the four-part interview being released today (September 23).
West is candid and intense throughout the 14-minute interview clip, talking with Lowe about the motivations behind his most recent full-length, the controversial and much-discussed Yeezus.
“I’m gonna make music and try to make it three-dimensional,” West stressed to Zane. “Like on Star Wars and the hologram pop up out of R2D2, I’mma make something that jumps up and affects you in a good or bad way…I’m not here to make easy listening, you know, easy programmable music.”
West went on to shout out the heavy influence of Michael Jackson on his work, and how Jackson’s pioneering ways in the industry push him to make bigger and grander musical statements, such as the jarring sonic juxtapositions found throughout Yeezus.
“There would be no Kanye West if it wasn’t for Michael Jackson,” West admitted. “I’ve reached a point in my life where my Truman Show boat has hit the painting,” he added in reference to the 1998 Jim Carrey film. “And I’ve got to a point that Michael Jackson did not break down. I have reached the glass ceiling, as a creative person, as a celebrity…and I’ve been at it for ten years. I look around and I say, ‘wait a minute. There’s no one around here in this space that looks like me. And if they are, they’re quiet as f—.’ So that means, wait a second. Now, we’re seriously like, in a civil rights movement.”
Other revelations made in the first part of the interview include how the song “Blood on the Leaves” was originally intended to open Yeezus instead of “On Site,” the fact that he peruses reader comments whenever his name is mentioned on trend-spotting website Hypebeast, and his assertion that rappers are the new rock stars (calling out Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane in the process), ending on the now-infamous quote, “We the real rock stars, and I’m the biggest of all of them.”