It dropped late last night—the interview to end all interviews, a Kanye West—New York Times masterpiece that is simultaneously one of the craziest, most insightful, and most ridiculous celebrity interviews you'll ever read. Over the span of a few thousand words, Kanye calls himself the "anti-celebrity," which is not true, but in this he's right: The bombastic statements he makes about his career and his new album, Yeezus, are about the farthest thing from a fucking People Magazine-Bradley Cooper feature as you can possibly get. I do think he really just doesn't give a shit anymore about what America thinks of him.1 And I do think the angry, anti-commercial, anti-maximalist Yeezus is going to reflect those new sensibilities. Graduation Kanye this is not. Are you still on his spaceship?
A few highlights are below. Read the whole thing here.
Kanye on Taylor Swift and regret:
But has that instinct [to find fairness in things] led you astray? Like the Taylor Swift interruption at the MTV Video Music Awards, things like that.
It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.
So no regrets?
I don’t have one regret.
Do you believe in the concept of regret?
If anyone’s reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now.
Kanye on fairness and being the "Michael Jordan of music":
I’m going to use my platform to tell people that they’re not being fair. Anytime I’ve had a big thing that’s ever pierced and cut across the Internet, it was a fight for justice. Justice. And when you say justice, it doesn’t have to be war. Justice could just be clearing a path for people to dream properly. It could be clearing a path to make it fair within the arena that I play. You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, “This is wrong.”
You’ve won a lot of Grammys.
“[My Beautiful] Dark [Twisted] Fantasy” and “Watch the Throne”: neither was nominated for Album of the Year, and I made both of those in one year. 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.
Kanye on Yeezus and lamps:
One of the things I thought when I heard the new record was, “This is the anti-'College Dropout.’ ” It feels like you’re shedding skin. Back then, you were like: “I want more sounds. I want more complicated raps. I want all the things.” At what point did that change?
Architecture — you know, this one Corbusier lamp was like, my greatest inspiration. I lived in Paris in this loft space and recorded in my living room, and it just had the worst acoustics possible, but also the songs had to be super simple, because if you turned up some complicated sound and a track with too much bass, it’s not going to work in that space. This is earlier this year. I would go to museums and just like, the Louvre would have a furniture exhibit, and I visited it like, five times, even privately. And I would go see actual Corbusier homes in real life and just talk about, you know, why did they design it? They did like, the biggest glass panes that had ever been done. Like I say, I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body. It’s cool to bring all those vibes and then eventually come back to Rick [Rubin], because I would always think about Def Jam.
This album is moments that I haven’t done before, like just my voice and drums. What people call a rant — but put it next to just a drumbeat, and it cuts to the level of, like, Run-D.M.C. or KRS-One. The last record I can remember — and I’m going to name records that you’ll think are cheesy — but like, J-Kwon, “Tipsy.” People would think that’s like a lower-quality, less intellectual form of hip-hop, but that’s always my No. 1. There’s no opera sounds on this new album, you know what I mean? It’s just like, super low-bit. I’m still, like, slightly a snob, but I completely removed my snob heaven songs; I just removed them altogether.
Kanye on Kim Kardashian:
You look at Jay or Diddy, and I’d say like, 90 percent of the time, you think they’re having a good time. With you, I would say, I don’t know, 50-50 maybe? Or 30-70?
Maybe 90 percent of the time it looks like I’m not having a good time.
But you’re in a very public relationship, a seemingly long and satisfying relationship: you’re about to have a child.
Any woman that you’re in love with or that loves you is going to command a certain amount of, you know, energy. It’s actually easier to focus, in some ways.
When you’re uncertain about love, it can be such a distraction. It infects all the other areas.
Yeah, that’s what I mean when I say like, “Yo, I’m going to be super Zenned out like, five years from now.” 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.
Kanye on getting dressed in the mornings:
We talk about with clothing and fashion, that sometimes all that gets in the way. You even see the way I dress now is so super straight.
Does it take you less time to get dressed now than it did five years ago?
You look at your outfits from five or seven years ago, and it’s like —
Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.
And Kanye on his legacy:
I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.
Yeezus drops June 18.
1This doesn't apply to Grammy voters.