Kanye West Opens Up About ‘Yeezus,’ Kim Kardashian, Fatherhood, & His Legacy

Kanye West

Yeezus has spoken. Kanye West has avoided the press, but he granted his first interview in a long time to The New York Times. Writer Jon Caramanica visited the 36-year-old superstar in Malibu as he was putting the finishing touches on his sixth album Yeezus with executive producer Rick Rubin.

In the in-depth interview, which took place over the course of three days, West opened up about his music and personal life including his girlfriend Kim Kardashian and their soon-to-be daughter. He also touched on some of the controversial moments in his career such as the Taylor Swift debacle at the VMAs and his comments about former President George W. Bush.

West has adopted a simpler lifestyle, which is reflected on Yeezus and in his wardrobe. “I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body,” says ‘Ye, who cringes when reflecting on his past fashion choices.

But his ego remains in tact. “Respect my trendsetting abilities,” declares West, who likens himself to Steve Jobs. “Once that happens, everyone wins. The world wins; fresh kids win; creatives win; the company wins.”

He admits to not having any regrets. However, when asked if his apology to Taylor Swift was sincere, he says that peer pressure made him do it.

Read highlights from the candid interview below.

On the Grammys: “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.”

On speaking up for Justin Timberlake: “I remember when both Gnarls Barkley and Justin [Timberlake] lost for Album of the Year, and I looked at Justin, and I was like: ‘Do you want me to go onstage for you? You know, do you want me to fight?’”

On apologizing to Taylor Swift: “Yeah, I think that I have like, faltered, you know, as a human. My message isn’t perfectly defined. I have, as a human being, fallen to peer pressure.”

On whether his pain has influenced his art: “Great art comes from great artists. There’s a bunch of people that are hurt that still couldn’t have made the album that was super-polarizing and redefined the sound of radio.”

On when he knew he was going to be famous: “I knew when I wrote the line ‘light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson’ [from the song 'Slow Jamz'] I was going to be a big star. At the time, they used to have the Virgin music [stores], and I would go there and just go up the escalator and say to myself, ‘I’m soaking in these last moments of anonymity.’ I knew I was going to make it this far; I knew that this was going to happen.”

On Dead Prez’ influence: “Before, when I wanted to rap, my raps sounded like a bit like Cam’ron; they sounded a bit like Mase; they sounded a bit like Jay-Z or whoever. And it wasn’t until I hung out with Dead Prez and understood how to make, you know, raps with a message sound cool that I was able to just write ‘All Falls Down’ in 15 minutes.”

On Kim Kardashian: “I’m the type of rock star that likes to have a girlfriend, you know? I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love and likes to be able to focus. And that inspires me.”

On why he does not appear on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”: “You know, the amount of backlash I got from it is when I decided to not be on the show anymore. And it’s not that I have an issue with the show; I just have an issue with the amount of backlash that I get. Because I just see like, an amazing person that I’m in love with that I want to help.”

On becoming a father: “One of the things was just to be protective, that I would do anything to protect my child or my child’s mother. As simple as that. … I just don’t want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby.”

On working with Rick Rubin: “I’m still just a kid learning about minimalism, and he’s a master of it. 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 his fashions from five-to-seven years ago: “Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.”

On his place in pop culture: “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.”

For the full interview, visit NYTimes.com.



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32 Comments

  1. Lala69

    I just wish he wasn’t so full of himself! Great rapper, great producer but arrogant ass hole at the same time!

    [Reply]

    The Boy Toy Reply:

    @Lala69, Most geniuses are!

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    XO till we overdose... Reply:

    @Lala69, Completely agree! Kanye has been my favorite artist since the beginning of time, but I will never go into denial about his arrogance. I don’t understand why so many people cannot enjoy someone’s music without putting them on a pedestal. “Kanye West makes great music but he’s an egotistical asshole and I would hate to know him in person”. Why is that so difficult to say?

    [Reply]

    MonkeyMan Reply:

    @XO till we overdose…, 100000000% agree! You speak Truth my friend.

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  2. The Boy Toy

    Can’t wait to hear Yeezus!

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  3. Angel

    Are you POSITIVE these are quotes of Kanye?? Bc I didn’t hear the “n shit” every other word! He sounds way way WAY diff as a person…, as a rapper.. then ever before.
    If “in site” isn’t about Kim then who? It’s kinda obvious, you know? And Ye is WAY too egotistical; he has let his EGO take over his whole life! As one ages, you learn that the EGO is the opposite of whom you should listen too! Listen to the voice coming from your heart and it sounds NOTHING like that interview!

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  4. sam

    I love Kanye but sometimes he talks himself in a circle. It’s nice hearing his perspective on things and I wish him, Kim and the baby the best.

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    guyy Reply:

    @sam, I don’t know why I thought he would let go and be “normal” inn this interview. I can only imagine.

    [Reply]

  5. TRA

    Kanye West will always be a great music artist, a great rapper and a great producer. I will always be a huge fan of Kanye West’s music, but sometimes Kanye West makes himself look like a bipolar, arrogant, crazy asshole. As a fan of Kanye West’s music, I’ve understood Kanye West’s progression in music over the years. Kanye West has had a great catalog of music albums like The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, 808s and Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Watch The Throne which all of these albums got great critical acclaim. Kanye West deserves all the credit for being the only rapper to win 21 Grammy Awards, but at the same time, Kanye West doesn’t need to win Album of The Year at the Grammy Awards to prove he is a great music artist. Kanye West will always be a great music artist. I’m looking forward to hearing Kanye West’s Yeezus album.

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  6. Mohamed

    Does this dude not know how many artists are deserving of Grammys, yet went their career without winning one? And all he knows to say about it is that white people keep beating him? Bruh, grow the fuck up!

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  7. Shae

    Kanye’s not a bad person, as people make him seem like. He just doesn’t take no sh*t from anyone. He’s probably a cool person if you get to know him. Idk. BUT, I must include that so far, Yeezus sucks ass.

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  8. damon

    he is being very modest about those grammys. he has the more than any entertainer of our time and def in at least top 10 of all time. he has 21 thats wins not nominations. thats more than bey, michael, mariah, whitney, you name it.

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  9. DopeAvenue.com

    Such a good interview. Never seen Kanye be THIS open about his life.

    This ninja is full of himself tho. lmfaooo I love it. “I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means.”

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  10. meme

    kanye is my everything and I love him dearly but i aint fukin with him this time. I aint feelin the yeesus era at all. this will be the first west album I do not purchase 9:00am Tuesday.

    [Reply]

    tew Reply:

    @meme, at least youre honest with yourself unlike these groupies and dickriders out here. i can respect that

    [Reply]

    MonkeyMan Reply:

    @meme, I give you props for being honest. I aint messing with him on the ‘Yeezus’ title alone. He is my favourite artist however the ego thing is now on a next level of disrespect.

    I aint purchasing it either.

    [Reply]

  11. Kanye West

    I just did this interview cuz they paid me….and I wanted to know how it feels to pop a molly too! this interview is my greatest interview…but ima let yall finish reading the full interview

    [Reply]

  12. Lulu

    Great artist, but he always comes across as such a douche.

    [Reply]

  13. What?

    I think I’ll just bootlegg yeezus….I don’t think he need my 10 dollars anyways the way he talking.

    [Reply]

  14. philly11

    The comparison with Steve Jobs is somewhat accurate. Creative and innovative but after he died people told stories of how mean, spiteful, and manipulative he could be…almost seen as a “bully”. Kanye is so narcissistic and self-involved it almost overshadows his talent nowadays.

    [Reply]

  15. Hugh

    He’s gonna go platinum with no radio, promo, interviews, singles or videos!

    [Reply]

  16. Mau

    Love everything about this interview!

    [Reply]

  17. Doug

    I love this interview if real? I’ve followed him since the beginning and I’m 45yrs old. I don’t care about his arrogant attitude, why not tell folks your the best, and why not tell Taylor S the truth that night, if you dont like him dont read the interview very simple. I will buy this CD like I did the others, and will go see his Sold out Arena Concerts not the theatre shows like these wannabe singers or singer “MT” fool. He is a Rock Star not a Rapper, Rick Ross J-Cole-and others are Rappers. Ye will go platinum his way which is best for him. I think once your in his circle of friends you see the real Ye and per John Legends interview w Oprah he’s a real cool dude point blank. Way to go Ye and congrats on doing it your way.

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  18. Reagan

    Love the interview and love Kanye! I don’t think most of y’all get it. With Kanye what you get is what you get. Some artists change because of the pressure of fame, if you’ve really been down for Kanye from the beginning then you would know he’s always had a big ego, and and a lot of confidence and I think that’s what I like about him the most!

    [Reply]

  19. xSTEV3N

    I really like the interview!

    [Reply]

  20. Truth

    My confidence plus a listener’s insecurities equals my arrogance- Kanye West

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    joseph Reply:

    @Truth, this guy is a devil !!! go in you tube where he said he sold his soul for the devil !!!! in remix with rihanna ( diamond) he said he is a illuminati member !!!
    this guy is pathetic and doesn’t respect who believe in jesus and god

    [Reply]

    TRA Reply:

    @joseph, I don’t know if you read my last post or not, because I posted a previous response to you and I don’t think you read my last post from Rap-Up. com, because I don’t think my last post went through completely to this website. I could be very wrong, because I don’t know you personally, but I believe you are talking very stupid, and very ignorant. I don’t believe that Kanye West is part of the illuminati, and is a devil worshiper. Even if Kanye West was part of the illuminati, and a devil worshiper, you have the power to not listen to Kanye West’s music if you don’t like it at all.

    Kanye West has always been a great music artist who has won 21 Grammy Awards, and made 6 platinum selling albums in The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, 808s and Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Watch The Throne. If you look back at the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards, and if you listen to Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, in most of Kanye West’s rap freestyle lyrics, when Kanye West said he sold his soul to the devil, he wasn’t saying he was a devil worshiper, he was talking about the music industry and the whole entire world hating on him after the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards incident between Kanye West and Taylor Swift.

    Kanye West was wrong for interrupting Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he apologized for the incident and you still had racist white people and the biased mainstream media hating on him. Lupe Fiasco was called by some people as being a sellout, a hypocrite, and a devil worshiper, for making the Lasers album. That’s why Lupe Fiasco made Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1. Eminem is one of the greatest rappers of all-time, but Eminem made songs talking about killing his mother, killing his girlfriend, raping his girlfriend, and kidnapping his girlfried, you don’t hear everybody accusing Eminem of being a devil worshiper. You have Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Future, French Montana, Waka Flocka Flame, Juicy J, Soulja Boy, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, and several other rappers who put out terrible music on the radio, but not everyone calls them out for it all the time. There are bigger problems in the world than Kanye West. Don’t hate on great music artists for no reason. If you hate someone’s music because you don’t like their personalty, you make yourself look like a idiot. Take a look at yourself in the mirror before you judge others on what their doing with their lives.

    [Reply]

  21. Dots

    Maybe that’s why bad things keep happening to him, because he thinks he is THAT important.

    [Reply]

  22. Miszi

    I’m honestly dissapointed in what he has been doing lately. I love Kanye’s music for the great variety of sounds and also because of the lyrics. However, saying that he is god or implying that white people had won grammy over him only because they are white is not right in my opinion. With that being said, I’ll still listen to it when it’s out but I’m not a huge fan of everything being minimalistic lately. The huge and complex beats of MBDTF were priceless.

    [Reply]

  23. dawn

    I’m still buying yeezys CD…regardless. Cruz I’m his fan.

    [Reply]

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    [...] music mastermind has complained that despite his 21 Grammys, he has never won Album of the Year. Will Yeezus be the album to change [...]

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