Kanye West almost never does print interviews anymore. But he seems to share a certain level of trust with Jon Caramanica, the pop critic at The New York Times. And when West and Caramanica sit down together, West always has fascinating things to say. West recently finished up releasing a run of five albums that he produced in Wyoming. And West spoke to Caramanica in the days after his Ye listening party in Jackson Hole, driving with Caramanica across Idaho and into Yellowstone National Park.
As you might imagine, much of the conversation revolves around Donald Trump, who West once again publicly embraced on Twitter in the days ahead of those album releases. West has been saying that his love of Trump isn’t about Trump’s politics so much as the sheer unlikeliness of his victory, and he makes that point again during the interview: “There were people who said Trump would never win. I’m talking about the it-will-never-happens of the world, people in high school told you things would never happen.”
West also says that he, on some childlike level, likes the way Trump talks:
Getting out, learning how to not be highly medicated and, you know, just standing up saying I know I could lose a lot of things, but just standing up and saying what you feel, and not even doing a lot of research on it. Having a political opinion that’s overly informed, it’s like knowing how to dress, as opposed to being a child — “I like this.” I hear Trump talk and I’m like, I like the way it sounds, knowing that there’s people who like me that don’t like the way it sounds.
When asked if he likes the way a Muslim ban sounds, West says, “No, I don’t agree with all of his policies.”
West says that at one point, his father recently came to visit him, and the two of them talked about Trump: “He expressed that he felt that some of the policies were hurtful and that I’m a person that does not intend to hurt people, never hurts people with intention… I expressed the example that I have a cousin that’s locked up for doing something bad, and I still love him, so I don’t base my love for a person on if they doing something good or bad.”
West also says that other celebrities feel the way that he does about Trump but that they’re scared to say it publicly: “I felt that I knew people who voted for Trump that were celebrities that were scared to say that they liked him. But they told me, and I liked him, and I’m not scared to say what I like. Let me come over here and get in this fight with you.”
And he seems to take delight in the idea that people are still listening to his music after all the Trump stuff: “Half that audience that was there last night, half the people that are listening to the album are supposed to not listen to the album right now. I’m canceled. I’m canceled because I didn’t cancel Trump.” In a phone call, he also tells Khloé Kardashian, “I set the video game on the hardest setting possible, the most hate possible.”
Speaking of the Kardashian family, West also spends some time talking about his relationship with his wife and her family. He tells a story about how, when he was using opiates, Kim brought the motivational speaker Tony Robbins into their house and staged a mini-intervention. Of Robbins, West says:
He could look at me and you know, I don’t know why he mentioned suicide, but he could tell that I was very low. Really medicated, shoulders slumped down, and my confidence was gone, which is a lot of the root of my superpower, because if you truly have self-confidence, no one can say anything to you.
West says that Kim pressed him to say that he doesn’t agree with many of Trump’s policies and that she was furious with him for embracing Trump. And in the aftermath of his comments on TMZ, where he said that slavery sounded like a choice, West feared that she might leave him, something he raps about on the Ye song “Wouldn’t Leave”:
There was a moment where I felt like after TMZ, maybe a week after that, I felt like the energy levels were low, and I called different family members and was asking, you know, “Was Kim thinking about leaving me after TMZ?” So that was a real conversation.
The article also confirms that West put together Ye very, very quickly. Caramanica writes, “Perhaps it is not surprising to learn that eight days before its release, Kanye said, he’d had none of the lyrics of Ye written. And he still went to see Deadpool 2. Twice.” And West confirms that Drake helped write the hook to “Yikes,” and that he also wrote another verse for Ye, which West ended up not using.
You can (and should) read the whole article here.