Kanye West is letting GQ inside his Yeezy empire.
In the series of interviews, which took place everywhere from Cody to Calabasas to Cabo San Lucas to Paris Fashion Week, the Jesus Is King rapper opens up about his latest endeavors, including the dome dwellings he’s developing, his religious rebirth (“Christ altered my ego”), and struggles with alcohol.
“One day I was in my office working on the couture collection, and there was some Grey Goose in the fridge and I was just going to get a daytime drink, and I looked and thought, ‘Devil, you’re not going to beat me today,'” he said. “That one statement is like a tattoo. I haven’t had a drink since I realized I needed to take it day by day, but I never owned up, or was even told, ‘Hey, you’re a functioning alcoholic.'”
He added, “People have called me a crazy person, people have called me everything—but not a functioning alcoholic. And I would be drinking orange juice and Grey Goose in the morning.”
The interview took place just three days after his friend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash not far from Yeezy’s Calabasas headquarters. “Kobe was one of my best friends,” he said. “He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’s facts!”
Kanye, who plans to vote in the upcoming presidential election, shared his continued support for President Trump. “I am the founder of a $4 billion organization, one of the most Google-searched brands on the planet, and I will not be told who I’m gonna vote on because of my color,” he said. “I’m definitely voting this time. And we know who I’m voting on.”
While in Paris, he reflected on his life amid the coronavirus pandemic, which was just starting to hit the U.S. “Two days ago, I sat there in the atelier [in Calabasas] as we all talked about the virus, and just thought: If we were to not be here anymore, all I can think is, What a wonderful life it is. You think about those movies where the world is ending and I just simply thank God for life. Thank God for all these experiences.”
Read highlights from the interview below.
On his influence: “You get into a position and you become influential, and that becomes more of your goal rather than following your spirit and your anointing. So look, I’m not telling anybody who they should vote on, what they should wear, where they should live. I’m doing me. If you just so happen to catch a photograph of me doing me, that’s what I was doing! I’m not doing nobody else in the photograph.”
On Kobe Bryant: “This is a game changer for me. He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’s facts! We got the commercials that prove it. No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together. And now it’s like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things–but I’m not taking any mess for an answer now. We’re about to build a paradigm shift for humanity. We ain’t playing with ’em. We bringing home the trophies.”
On his struggles with alcohol: “People have called me a crazy person, people have called me everything — but not a functioning alcoholic. And I would be drinking orange juice and Grey Goose in the morning.”
On his real estate purchases: “I buy real estate. It’s better now than when Obama was in office. They don’t teach you in school about buying property. They teach you how to become somebody’s property.”
On voting in the upcoming election: “No, I’m definitely voting this time. And we know who I’m voting on. And I’m not going to be told by the people around me and the people that have their agenda that my career is going to be over. Because guess what: I’m still here! Jesus Is King was No. 1! I was told my career would end if I wasn’t with her. What kind of campaign is that, anyway? That’s like if Obama’s campaign was ‘I’m with black.’ What’s the point of being a celebrity if you can’t have an opinion? Everybody make their own opinion! You know?”
On Nike possibly re-releasing the original Air Yeezy 1 and Air Yeezy 2 sneakers: “Man, I’m with everything. Man, anything that the kids want and the people want. People should be able to have what they want.”
On his weakest single: “I always felt like ‘Power’ was my weakest first single that I ever had, because I felt like it was bowing to the expectations. Just like, ‘Here’s the ultimate Kanye West song!’ Versus ‘Love Lockdown’? ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’? ‘Diamonds’? ‘Follow God’? I always do the songs that people never heard before. But you had actually heard ‘Power’ before. You heard ‘Crack Music.’ You heard ‘Amazing.’ You heard that song before! It’s just a mix of things.”