We are less than a week away from the new Kanye West album, and Yeezus (June 18th) has already cemented its place as, at least from a promotional standpoint, Mr. West’s most polarizing album to date.
Here’s a recap of our taste of Yeezus so far: There has been no proper single released except for the videos played across multiple cities on the sides of buildings (depending on how successful Yeezus is, this was either a brilliant advertising move or an expensive gimmick). His latest Saturday Night Live performance is already considered one of the show’s most intense, and greatest, musical performances. The album artwork is minimalist to a fault (there is no album cover!). The list of collaborations, if true, is staggering: Daft Punk, Justin Vernon, Chief Keef, Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, and samples of Omega and Billie Holiday. There are even rumors that the album is not even done yet!
And oh yeah, the new album is called Yeezus, and includes tracks called “Black Skinhead”, “I Am a God”, and “New Slaves”. I wonder how the American Right will feel about this?
And when you think about it, this all actually makes perfect sense. It’s hard to believe now, but before My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye’s place in history was not yet established. Even with each new consistently fantastic album release (including 808s & Heartbreaks, which is finally getting the love it deserves) most of us would of been content to point to The College Dropout as Kanye’s defining moment in music history. MBDTF changed all that and is already considered one of the greatest albums of our time, and of which its influence we’re still seeing in popular music.
After my tenth time listening to MBDTF, I was still blown away by how realized Kanye’s work was and that, for maybe the first real time, he was able to back up all his talk. I honestly had no idea how Kanye would top this record (or even if he would try).
But I should have known better – this is Kanye West we’re talking about. It seems that Yeezus is the album Kanye has always been wanting to make, and after yesterday’s New York Times interview with Mr. West, it appears that right now is Kanye’s time.
Here are some of the highlights from the interview.
Kanye’s feelings about the Grammys:
“‘[My Beautiful] Dark [Twisted] Fantasy’ and ‘Watch the Throne’: neither was nominated for Album of the Year, and I made both of those in one year. I don’t know if this is statistically right, but I’m assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven’t won one against a white person. But the thing is, I don’t care about the Grammys; I just would like for the statistics to be more accurate.”
When asked about the Taylor Swift incident:
“It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.”
When asked about how he feels about 808s and Heartbreaks:
“‘808s’ was the first album of that kind, you know? It was the first, like, black new wave album. I didn’t realize I was new wave until this project. Thus my connection with [the graphic designer] Peter Saville, with Raf Simons, with high-end fashion, with minor chords. I hadn’t heard new wave! But I am a black new wave artist.”
On working with Rick Rubin:
“It’s just really such a blessing, to be able to work with him. I want to say that after working with Rick, it humbled me to realize why I hadn’t — even though I produced ‘Watch the Throne’; even though I produced ‘Dark Fantasy’ — why I hadn’t won Album of the Year yet.”
On comparing himself to Steve Jobs:
“Yeah, respect my trendsetting abilities. Once that happens, everyone wins. The world wins; fresh kids win; creatives win; the company wins.
I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.
I’ve been connected to the most culturally important albums of the past four years, the most influential artists of the past ten years. You have like, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière, Anna Wintour, David Stern.
I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people: “This is the level that things could be at.” So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities. I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.”
Read the whole interview here.