Kanye West interviews are rare these days but when they come by, there are sure to be plenty of quotables. W Magazine caught up with Kanye in Paris when he was doing fashion rounds and recording his new album Yeezus.
The interview took place in installments during last couple of months but it’s pretty explosive. Kanye talks about inspiration & idea behind one of the most discussed songs on Yeezus, ‘I Am A God’, why he almost released his own sex tape, thoughts on being rich, his joint Watch The Throne album with Jay-Z, trying to be master of everything he does, tattoo on his forearm, thoughts on Christianity, why he is a Rock star and much more.
We have a breakdown of all the major excerpts below.
On his decision to record in Paris: “In Paris, you’re as far as possible from the land of pleasant smiles,” West says. “You can just trip on inspiration—there are so many people here who dedicate their lives to excellence.”
The song ‘I Am A God‘: West was informed that he’d be invited to a widely anticipated runway show only on the condition that he agree not to attend any other shows. “So the next day I went to the studio with Daft Punk, and I wrote ‘I Am a God,’?” West says. “Cause it’s like, Yo! Nobody can tell me where I can and can’t go. Man, I’m the No. 1 living and breathing rock star. I am Axl Rose; I am Jim Morrison; I am Jimi Hendrix.” West is not smiling as he says this, and his voice is getting louder with each sentence. “You can’t say that you love music and then say that Kanye West can’t come to your show! To even think they could tell me where I could and couldn’t go is just ludicrous. It’s blasphemous—to rock ’n’ roll, and to music.”
Why he chose to title the song ‘I Am A God’: “I made that song because I am a god,” he says finally. He laughs for a second, then stops. “I don’t think there’s much more explanation. I’m not going to sit here and defend shit. That shit is rock ’n’ roll, man. That shit is rap music. I am a god. Now what?”
He’s aware of his narcissism: “On one end, I try to scale it back,” he says. “Because I don’t want to close any of the doors needed to create the best product possible. But my ego is my drug. My drug is, ‘I’m better than all you other mother***ers. Kiss my a**!’?”
On almost releasing his own sex tape after it was on sale last fall to avoid being extorted: For the most part, I’d rather people have one of those home videos than some of the paparazzi photos that get published,” he says. “At least I recorded the shit myself. That tape couldn’t have hurt me in any way if it came out—it could only have helped.” He finally decided against releasing it, but don’t be surprised if he changes his mind. “Now, I just do exactly what I want, whenever I want, how the fuck I want,” West says. “ ‘Fuck you’ is my message.”
On being rich: “I’m not a billionaire; I’m just a millionaire. But I’m the youngest guy I know who has this much interest in design and the ability to actually get some of it. So that makes me an important cog in the wheel.”
On design: “Furniture is my superobsession now. Furniture and pornography, still. The porn thing has never left since I was in high school.”
On Watch the Throne, his 2011 collaboration with Jay-Z: “It was like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates talking at the same time. You know which one of us was Steve.”
On doing everything: “You know how they say, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’? I want to be master of all. And not even to be a jack but a king. In fact, not even a king. An ace.”
On his new album, Yeezus: “This music is made to spark the visionaries to stand up for themselves and help the world. Because the world is fucked.”
On Christianity and Ralph Lauren: “I’m Christian in the same way that people have issues with certain elements of Christianity. It’s like if you go into a Ralph Lauren store, maybe that buyer didn’t do the exact buy that you want, but you still really like that brand.”
On being intimidated by celebrities: “Anyone who meets me for the first time and is not slightly nervous is completely full of shit. Because when I meet people I respect, I’m nervous. When I go have lunch with Tarantino at the Chateau Marmont, I’m nervous. It’s fucking Tarantino!”
On his intellect: “Visiting my mind is like visiting the Hermès factory. Shit is real. You’re not going to find a chink. It’s 100,000 percent Jimi Hendrix.”
On his imagination: “I live a pretty interesting life. But the life that I’m living is way less interesting than what I’m thinking.”
On the tattoo on his forearm of Madonna and Baby Jesus: “This is me and my mommy.”
On how seriously to take him: “You should only believe about 90 percent of what I say. As a matter of fact, don’t even believe anything that I’m saying at all. I could be completely fucking with you, and the world, the entire time.”
On his style don’ts: “Even the greatest tattoo artists in the world have a few bad tattoos. And that’s Kanye West. A few of my past outfits—questionable, you know? But I’m testing. I’m discovering who I am.”
On W’s 2010 cover of a nude Kim Kardashian: “I loved the fact that it happened, that it disturbed people. I loved the fact that it put those curves right inside that Hamptons house, that there’s some Hamptons husbands who had to cover that up.”
On his rock-star status: “Instead of using it to date as many supermodels as possible or to be as much of an asshole at a restaurant as possible, I would rather use it to access great minds. To be able to go to Axel Vervoordt’s castle on the first day that I meet him.”