Kanye West recently sat down with the BBC's Zane Lowe for an interview and explained his mind-state when creating Yeezus. He said the album is the result of years of frustration of having to break down cultural barriers, and that he looks around and feels like "we're seriously in a civil rights movement."
"I was talking to Frank Ocean about this," Kanye explained, "and said like, 'My mom got arrested for the sit-ins and now we're more like the sit-outs, like sit-off of radio and say, "Hey radio, come to us."'
'Ye then goes on to describe Yeezus as, "the way I was consuming information in my life at the time ... negative information or positive information from the Internet, me just going to the Louvre, going to furniture exhibits and understanding that, trying to open up and do interviews like this, to learn about architecture, taking one thousand meetings attempting to get backing to do clothing and things like that, like getting no headway whatsoever ... it's just that level of frustration ... this is what frustration sounds like."
Paying homage to those who've taken the sit-in stance, he said, "I would not be Kanye West if it wasn't for Michael Jackson ... Michael Jackson, he had to fight to get his video played because he was Black ... so for me in my creativity, it's been challenging, but I've been able to ascend to massive levels, heights, and never stop because of the foundation that my mother and my father and grandfather laid with civil rights, with what Michael Jackson did with music videos and the ground he broke."
But, he said, it's a lonely space to occupy. "I've got to a point that Michael Jackson did not break down," he says. "I have reached the glass ceiling, as a creative person, as a celebrity … I've been at it for 10 years, and I look around, and I say, 'Wait a second, there's no one around here who looks like me, and if they are, they're quiet as f--k. That means, wait a second, now we're seriously in a civil rights movement.'"
'Ye gives this example of being culturally dismissed: "Where's the culture at? I'm sitting in the middle of it, whether I'm at a dinner with Anna Wintour or at a listening session with Pusha [T], or me and Virgil [Abolh, West's adviser] are in Rome giving our designs to Fendi and over and over getting knocked down. We brought the leather jogging pants six years ago to Fendi and they said, 'No.' How many motherf---ers you done seen with the leather jogging pants? So when I see [Saint Laurent creative director] Hedi Slimane and it's all like, 'This is my take on the world.' Yeah, he's got some nice $5,000 jeans in there … There's some nice ones, here and there; some good s--t here and there. But we culture. Rap is the new rock 'n' roll ... We the real rock stars and I'm the biggest of all of them!"
This was just the first part of the interview. Three more segments are expected to be released in the coming days.
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(Photo: BBC Radio)