10 Things We Learned, From Racism to Tidal to Madonna...
As we await the release of Kanye West's seventh studio album, So Help Me God, the rapper/producer and designer is gracing the covers of magazines from TIME to Paper.
Here are 10 things we learned from the Paper essay Kanye West wrote himself.
Kanye West wants to help us, including Drake, A$AP Rocky and Taylor Swift. "I know people want to talk about the American Dream, but my dream is a world dream. It's a world in which everyone's main goal would be to help each other…. I think it's so important for me, as an artist, to give Drake as much information as I can, A$AP, Kendrick, Taylor Swift, any of these younger artists as much information as I can to make better music in the future. We should all be trying to make something that's better."
Highsnobiety's piece, "Should Kanye West Leave Fashion to the Pros," "hurt" 'Ye because fashion is more than just a profession for him. "I saw this article that asked, "Should Kanye leave fashion to the professionals?" That question is really ignorant, in a way, because the second I sell my first T-shirt or my first shoe, doesn't that make me a professional?… Fashion is something that's in my heart to do -- in my spirit. There's no world that can stop me from what I love. Not the rap world, not the fashion world, not the real world. But it hurt me as a human being to see that article written, with the amount of work that's there and the potential and what I know I will eventually do."
Remember the infamous leather kilt 'Ye wore during the Watch the Throne tour? It was more of a fashion rite of passage for him. "And when you sit down with Riccardo Tisci at the Louvre and he pitches the idea of you wearing a leather kilt, which could be considered by all of your gangbanging friends as some sort of a dress or skirt, at that point you are now a part of the fashion world. You have paid your dues to be an insider. I paid my dues when I had to wear a kilt in Chicago, and friends would say, "What's your boy got on?" But there are warriors that have killed people in kilts in the past. Who gets to decide what's hard and what's not hard? When I saw this kilt, I liked it. I was into it. It looked fresh to me. I felt creative; I didn't feel limited by some perception. "
There's more to come fashion-wise for 'Ye. This is just the beginning. "Right now, over 70 percent of my focus is on apparel. I haven't even given my College Dropout of clothing yet. We're still on mixtapes."
It's all about innovation and "making things better" for Kanye. "Graduation was an innovation. 808s & Heartbreak was an innovation. The song "N----s in Paris" was an innovation. "Only One" was an innovation. "FourFiveSeconds" was an innovation. I care about innovating. I don't care about capitalizing off of something that we've seen or heard a thousand times. I'm not a capitalist in that way. I'm an innovator. That's my job. I like two things: I like innovating and I like making things better. It's not that I always have to invent things that are new. Sometimes I can take something that's there and attempt to make a better version and that's what gets me off. Bottom line."
Jokes about the Tidal press conference being an "Illuminati moment" irks 'Ye. (Oh, and he definitely caught Madonna’s stage fall.) "I heard a comment -- a joke -- about the Tidal press conference being an Illuminati moment. If there was actually an Illuminati, it would be more like the energy companies. Not celebrities that gave their life to music and who are pinpointed as decoys for people who really run the world. I'm tired of people pinpointing musicians as the Illuminati. That's ridiculous. We don't run anything; we're celebrities. We're the face of brands. We have to compromise what we say in lyrics so we don't lose money on a contract. Madonna is in her 50s and gave everything she had to go up on an award show and get choked by her cape. She's judged for who she adopts. Fuck all of this sensationalism. We gave you our lives. We gave you our hearts. We gave you our opinions!"
Kanye West experienced racism while living in China as a child. "When I was 10 years old I lived in China, and at the time they used to come up to me and rub my face to see if the color would rub off. It was really fucked up, but I feel like it was preparing me for a world perspective that a lot of my friends who never got a chance to travel didn't get… then I was in fifth grade in China, when kids would come up to me and touch my face, it was like they had never seen a black person before, but that was a while ago."
But he thinks racism doesn't "affect" the "post-Internet" generation as much. "That was 20 years ago and of course we've come a long way now. That's not the current state of mind. On "Never Let Me Down" I rapped, "Racism's still alive, they just be concealing it," but for the next generation that's not necessarily true. Racism is something that's taught, but for the new post-Internet, post-iPad kids that have been taught to swipe before they read, it's just not going to affect them as much. They realize that we are one race."
Kanye doesn’t speak out on news events on social media because he considers it a more serious issue. "People have asked why I don't speak out -- on social media, for example -- about events in this country. The way I see it, it's not about a post on social media from me when there are people dying. There's people in Chicago dying. There's people all across the globe dying for no reason! There's people who'll never have the opportunity to live their lives for terrible, nonsensical reasons."
'Ye's perspective changed while under nitrous gas. "One time I was at the dentist's office and I was given nitrous gas and I was vibing out -- I guess that's my version of Steve Jobs and his LSD trip -- when I had this first thought: What is the meaning of life? And then I thought, To give. What's the key to happiness? Happiness. What do you want in life? When you give someone something, should they give you something in return? No. We don't have to expect to be compensated by the person we give to. Just give. I'm a Christian so I'll speak in Christian terms: God will give you tenfold. Then I said in my mind -- I'm still under the gas and getting my teeth cleaned -- But I just want to be remembered. And I immediately corrected myself. I said, It doesn't even matter if I'm remembered. I came out of the gas and had a completely new attitude on everything."