Mr. West reflected on his music and his use of the word "n***a" during the half-hour chat and determined that racism as we know it is "played out" when asked about how he feels about white people singing "N****s in Paris" in the club [note: Gwyneth Paltrow was called out in 2012 for quoting his lyrics online, as was Lindsay Lohan this week].
He scratched his beard before answering. "It's difficult for Black people right now," he said, his expression solemn. "It does hurt when we hear that. We're still in a generation that remembers when racism was a big thing that held people back."
However, what he's facing now isn't racism, he said. "It's more classism, it's more social ... obviously there are Black people that have broken the concept of race like Obama, Jay Z..." Still, "context is important. ... It's like boxing. If you box inside the ring and you beat somebody all the way up, you can get millions of dollars. If you box at a bar and you beat somebody up, you'll lose millions of dollars."
Citing his use of the Confederate flag during the Yeezus tour, he adds that people get caught up in "content over intent" and he's on a mission to break down passé perceptions. "Racism is a dated concept," he said. "It’s like a silly concept that people try to touch on to either … to separate, to alienate, to pinpoint anything. ... It's played out like a style from the 1800s."
Elsewhere, he says the Nobel Peace Prize deserves an awards show like, perhaps, the Grammys, and that he considers Drake a musical "sparring partner." "Healthy competition," he called it, "like Michael [Jackson] needed Prince."
His next album, So Help Me God, including his latest releases "All Day" and "Only One," has yet to receive a release date, but is expected sometime this year.
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(Photo: Rindoff/Dufour/Getty Images)