Kanye West hasn’t been shy about sharing his opinions, well, ever. But especially lately, during his Yeezus show’s built-in ten minutes of rant time, we’ve watched the rapper share so many feels. He’s given monologues about classism, racism, innovation, design, and, increasingly, his contentious foray into corporate America. But today’s interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club might be the best yet. First because West, in between forced smiles through clenched teeth, admits the harsh delivery of previous rants has hurt his message and tries to tone it down. And second, because Breakfast Club DJ Charlamagne The God has been knocking West on the air for a while. It’s one of Yeezy’s most fascinating interviews this year.
Once again, West compares himself to Howard Hughes, David Stern, Steve Jobs, Michelangelo, Walt Disney, Marina Abramovic, etc. Music is no longer his main focus, and he contends that in order to have a huge impact on society, one has to be a billionaire. Charlemagne argues that you don’t have to be rich to be revolutionary. West is not only interested in the power that comes with being insanely rich, though. He says he’s not yet at the level where his daughter North will be “safe.” It’s not clear if he’s talking about physical safety (i.e., affording bodyguards) or being financially secure for life. But he says he’ll get there by being bigger than H&M:
ANGELA YEE: So fashion is what you say you’re passionate about right now…
KANYE WEST: It’s not even fashion. It’s clothing. Eve made Adam eat an apple and then it became illegal to be naked. I wanna help y’all with your opinion of the law.
CHARLEMAGNE: What the hell are you talking about?
On Hot 97, West said he’s going to be “the Tupac of product” and bigger than Walmart. Here he expands on that while seemingly taking partial credit for a truce in the hip-hop wars:
Before I came in the game, rappers was killing each other. You ain’t even heard about that no more. First time rappers rapped on a song with each other that were at like a God level, all of them, was “Swagger Like Us.” After that, all the songs were like “Swagger Like Us.” … I’m showing us how we can work together. But in fashion, in product design they try to marginalize us, say that we can only have an urban clothing line. … Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren can build his story up…
By now we know that when it comes to high fashion, West knows his shit, ratting off the names of principals at various fashion houses. But he says he’s not getting the respect he deserves, and is intent on changing that. For example, Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault (the 10th richest person in the world according to Forbes) didn’t understand why he had to take a meeting with West:
Okay, you don’t understand why you don’t need to take a meeting with Kanye West? I’mma show you why you need to take a meeting with Kanye West: EVERYBODY IN ATLANTA RIGHT NOW AT THE LOUIS VUITTON STORE IF YOU BLACK DON’T GO TO LOUIS VUITTON TODAY. [Silence.] THAT’S WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE A MEETING WITH KANYE WEST, BERNARD ARNAULT.
Race comes up again when he talks about politics:
Lemme tell you something about George Bush and oil money and Obama and no money. People wanna say Obama can’t make these moves or he’s not executing … that’s ‘cause he ain’t got those connections. Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people!
He also talks about his fiancée…
I love [the paparazzi] because they’re empowering us over Graydon Carter or Vanity Fair that wanna say Kate Upton is Marilyn Monroe. Kate Upton ain’t Marilyn Monroe. Kim [is] Marilyn Monroe.
…and defends their oft-mocked “Bound 2″ video by explaining, in a rare moment of modesty, that “everything we do as a creative is not gonna hit.” Later he acknowledges another shortcoming when discussing his failed HBO comedy series A Little Inappropriate: “I’m not a professional actor … I’m a professional dreamer.”
Ultimately, DJ Charlemagne maintains that West is just too materialistic, too concerned with corporations, not a man of the people. West says he’s just ahead of his time:
I’m ten years ahead mentally and I’m trapped in today’s time. And every now and then I crack you a smile for 2013, but I’m cracking you a frown for 2023. And I’m focused on what it’s gonna be. Just mark my words, as I am Kanye West. You seen my execution. Did I not become the biggest rock star on the planet? Did I not influence all musicians. Did I not go and get the exact girl that I wanted. Did I not start my family? Did I not ruffle the feathers of two presidents? Did I not get a chance to work with my idol? Did I not make Louis Vuittons? Did people not line up at the Yeezy store? Did I not make The College Dropout? Late Registration? Graduation? 808s? Blueprint 1? Blueprint 3? Watch The Throne? Cruel Summer? And Yeezus? If you like it or not.
Maybe the best part is when West talks about his Yeezus follow-up, which he recently told Philly’s Power 99 will be out by next summer:
Bruce Springsteen dropped this album called Nebraska and right after that he did Born In The U.S.A.. This next one, I have a feeling, because of what we did right now, has to be Born In The U.S.A..
At the end, Charlemagne admits he is more confused about Kanye West than ever.
But it made for great radio.
Watch the whole thing below.