Kanye West Interview With 12 Years To A Slave Director Steve McQueen

Posted: January 21, 2014 by ericbernsen in Interviews, Music
Tags: , , , ,

Kanye West has been in the mainstream media news recently for his scuffle with a man who allegedly aimed racial slurs at Ye’s finance Kim Kardashian. With that having nothing to do with music, we’ll let TMZ and other outlets place their misguided judgement at Kanye and focus on West’s recent interview with 12 Years To A Slave Director Steve McQueen. It is amazing how much more sense Kanye makes when he is not in front of a camera as this print interview offers a detailed history of his musical career. From Kanye’s debut The College Dropout to his latest offering Yeezus, the interview provides insight into his mindset throughout the duration of his catalogue as well as what drives his uncontrollable passion. 

From detailing how a near-fatal car accident changed his life to the lack of faith critics initially had in his rapping ability, Kanye West is no stranger to the feeling of inner-struggle. And despite his public outbursts (“turn ups” as he now calls them”) that borderline on being insulting, the creative ambition of Kanye West is something that should be admired. Kanye West built a loyal fan-base with his early work, but many were left perplexed last year when he released Yeezus, an album that was out-of-left-field and rather abrasive. As Kanye put it, the project marked the transformation of his musical artistry and the evolution was made loud and clear within the body of work:

MCQUEEN: Talk to me a little bit about Yeezus. The album before that one, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was a phenomenal success. Did that wear on your mind when you went in to make Yeezus?

WEST: Yeah! So I just had to throw it all in the trash. I had to not follow any of the rules because there was no way to match up to the previous album. Dark Fantasy was the first time you heard that collection of sonic paintings in that way. So I had to completely destroy the landscape and start with a new story. Dark Fantasy was the fifth installment of a collection that included the four albums before it. It’s kind of the “Luke, I am your father” moment. Yeezus, though, was the beginning of me as a new kind of artist. Stepping forward with what I know about architecture, about classicism, about society, about texture, about synesthesia—the ability to see sound—and the way everything is everything and all these things combine, and then starting from scratch with Yeezus … That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want to use the same formula of starting the album with a track like “Blood on the Leaves,” and having that Nina Simone sample up front that would bring everyone in, using postmodern creativity where you kind of lean on something that people are familiar with and comfortable with to get their attention. I actually think the most uncomfortable sound on Yeezus is the sound that the album starts with, which is the new version of what would have been called radio static. It’s the sonic version of what internet static would be—that’s how I would describe that opening. It’s Daft Punk sound. It was just like that moment of being in a restaurant and ripping the tablecloth out from under all the glasses. That’s what “On Sight” does sonically.

MCQUEEN: So Yeezus was about throwing away what people want you to do—the so-called “success”—so you could move on to something else.

WEST: It’s the only way that I can survive. The risk for me would be in not taking one—that’s the only thing that’s really risky for me. I live inside, and I’ve learned how to swim through backlash, or maintain through the current of a negative public opinion and create from that and come through it and spring forth to completely surprise everyone—to satisfy all believers and annihilate all doubters. And at this point, it’s just fun.

As well as providing insight on his career rooted in hip-hop, Kanye also delved into the subjects of fashion and visuals which are ever so present in his life nowadays. Many do not realize that Kanye was in art school as a child and has an extensive background in creating more than just music. The end of the interview as McQueen asking Kanye questions regarding corporations, love, family, and definitions of success with West providing deep, thoughtful answers.

The real shame in all of this is that those who judge Kanye West as a person will never take the time to read this interview that clarifies the man as an ARTIST. Because at the end of the day, it does not matter if we like Kanye or not….all that matters is his contributions to the hip-hop culture and whatever other areas he wants to venture into as a talented creative mind.

Click here to read the full interview and you can watch Kanye West present the Hollywood Breakout Director Award at the Hollywood Film Awards to Steve McQueen below.





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