Kanye West is going up in flames. Pop’s firestarter heats up the cover of Interview magazine’s February 2014 “Men’s Issue.” In the avant-garde photos, shot by Steven Klein, a burnt and sweaty Kanye sports a diamond grill while breathing fire. Inside the pages, a shirtless ‘Ye rocks Maison Martin Margiela masks and covers himself in white powder.
12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen conducted an in-depth interview with the 36-year-old music mastermind via phone, where he discussed everything from the “Bound 2” video and fatherhood to being snubbed in the major categories by the Grammys and his ultimate goal.
“I’m like a broadcaster for futurism, for dreamers, for people who believe in themselves,” said ‘Ye, whose album Yeezus was recently certified platinum.
See more photos and read highlights from the interview below.
On people trying to silence him: “People are strategically trying to do things to mute my voice in some way or make me look like I’m a lunatic or pinpoint the inaccuracies in my grammar to somehow take away from the overall message of what I’m saying.”
On his admiration for Madonna: “Madonna, I think, is the greatest visual musical artist that we’ve ever had. If you look at her photo log, the photographers that she was able to work with throughout her career framed her in the proper way. It was the proper context. It was that visual that made sure that everything was gonna cut through in a certain way.”
On the “Bound 2″ video: “I think all that stuff around it is just that: controversy. I think people are afraid of dreams, and that video is one of the closest things to the way that dreams look and feel, or the way joy looks and feels, with the colors.”
On fatherhood: “I think I have to experience it for another few years to be able to give you an opinion. It’s all brand new, how it feels to be a father. There are some things that I understand, certain things that I don’t understand, certain things that I like to get off my chest in interviews, certain things that I want to talk about. But when we talk about love, I don’t have an answer. All I can say is that I’m happy I have it.”
On success: “I just want to create more. I would be fine with making less money. I actually spend the majority of my money attempting to create more things. Not buying things or solidifying myself or trying to make my house bigger, or trying to show people how many Louis Vuitton bags I can get, or buying my way to a good seat at the table. My definition of success, again, is getting my ideas out there. The first company that has really given me a shot is Adidas. They did the deal … I mean, Damon Dash did the deal, at the end of the day. He signed Kanye West 12 years ago.”
On his goal and obstacles: “My mission is about what I want to create. It’s for people, for humanity. It’s about things that can make the world better. I’m not saying that I’m going to make a better world; I’m just saying that I will provide some things that will help, and my glass ceiling that I’m facing is based on my color.”
On being snubbed by the Grammys: “I’ve been nominated for Best Album maybe three times. I made Dark Fantasy and Watch the Throne less than a year apart and neither of them got nominated. “Ni**as in Paris” wasn’t nominated for Best Song either. But let’s go into the fact that I have the most Grammys of any 36-year-old or 40-year-old or whatever, and I’ve never won a Grammy outside of the Rap or R&B categories.”
For the full interview, visit InterviewMagazine.com.