Bruce Springsteen says he doesn't know much about hip hop, but he is sure of one thing: Kanye West is "incredible." West and hip hop were two of the many topics The Boss covered during an NPR interview.
The 64-year-old music legend has watched hip hop grow up over the years and talked about his early acceptance of what was at the time a brand new genre. "Well it was so present, you know," he said. "At one moment particularly you had [Melle Mel's] 'White Lines' and this was stuff that was talking about what was going on in the streets and in the inner cities with people who were struggling. And that was something that, I mean, I had my own context for that, you know, that I wrote about it in my own way. But it was the music that came along and gave voice to those things outside of what was then considered a protest music context, you know, and did so really beautifully."
Despite not being "well-versed" in hip hop he rattled off some of the classics. "I have listened over the years. You know Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G. I listened to Tupac, I listen to Kanye West. Kanye West is incredible, you know. I mean, the record-making facility, you know, there's a lot of hours in those records."
West has been working hard and Springsteen notices, he went on to say. "I mean some of these [songs] there's like just the production. And I saw him on television, he did the song called 'Blood on the Leaves' on the Later...With Jools Holland — it was fantastic.
"I still find him very interesting," Springsteen continued. "I'm not necessarily driving [to] it in my car, you know. I probably fall back on the stuff that I listened to as a kid or something if I'm driving around. But I do listen. I listen to a lot because there's a lot of information in it and it's just fascinating record-making."
Springsteen isn't the only one singing West's praises this week, so is Omar Epps. In a Myspace feature commemorating 22 years since Juice came out, Epps likened former co-star Tupac Shakur to West. The two shared a similarly "powerful sprit" and West is also "gangsta" just like Pac was, Epps said. "I never really spent time with Kanye West, but when I see him, I see the same honesty Pac had. A lot of people wouldn't think that about 'Ye, but his honesty is gangsta. And that's how Pac was. He was that way from day one when I met him. That's a magnetic quality."
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(Photos from Left: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images, Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014)