Kanye West is fiercely committed to being anti-social with the media. As West gears up to release Yeezus, the 36-year-old granted the New York Times a rare interview, opening up about his career, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian and arriving at the destination of "complete awesomeness at all times."
The Chicago MC's infamous incident with Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards was a turning point and a large chunk of the interview. West had already built a reputation for awards show outbursts, but snatching a mic away from the country star to proclaim Beyoncé as a better choice in Swift's winning category changed his public persona. Nearly four years later, West weathered the firestorm and is no longer interested in apologizing.
"If anyone's reading this, waiting for some type of full-on apology for anything, they should stop reading this right now."
On the bright side, there was a lesson learned from the run-in with Swift. "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."
When pressed about regretting the incident itself vs. the apology, he wouldn't answer. "You know what? I can answer that, but I'm, I'm just not afraid, but I know that would be such a distraction. It's such a strong thing, and people have a such a strong feeling about it. Dark Fantasy was my long, backhanded apology. It was like, all these raps, all these sonic acrobatics. I was like: 'Let me show you guys what I can do, and please accept me back. You want to have me on your shelves.'"
Unlike the space he was in prior to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's debut, West has found more confidence in his personal battles. During the L.A. screening of his Runaway short film in 2010, a then emotionally fragile West admitted to contemplating suicide. Fast forward to last summer's "Clique" record and he valiantly rhymed, "Suicide, what kinda talk is that?" During his New York City Yeezus listening session this week, West announced a rebirth of sorts. "West was my slave name," he told attendees. "Yeezus is my God name."
Aside from his strong faith in the quality of Yeezus, West's chat with the NYT also caught rare moments of affection, mainly when talking about his relationship with Kardashian and being a father. "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."
But make no mistake, even if he's in love that doesn't mean the public is invited in, especially when it comes to his unborn child. "I don't want to explain too much into what my thoughts on, you know, fatherhood are, because I've not fully developed those thoughts yet. I don't have a kid yet.
"I just don't want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn't America's baby."
As for the album, the Grammy winner pegs himself a "minimalist in a rapper's body." Recording in Paris, plus tapping hip hop great Rick Rubin and rap newbie Chief Keef, West assured that Yeezus is still true to his Windy City upbringing. "It’s like trap and drill and house. I knew that I wanted to have a deep Chicago influence on this album, and I would listen to like, old Chicago house. I think that even 'Black Skinhead' could border on house, 'On Sight' sounds like acid house, and then 'I Am a God' obviously sounds, like, super house."
Yeezus is out next week (Jun. 18) with minimal promotion, no radio single and no album cover, a move fitting for a star of 'Ye's caliber as transitioning from producing to becoming one of the biggest names in hip hop has changed the G.O.O.D. Music leader's views on fame. Gone are the days of fighting for notoriety. "I don’t think I feel like that anymore. I feel like I don’t want to be inside anymore. I uninvited myself."
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(Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)