In this ever-changing world, we can count on at least one bastion of consistency from the publishing industry: Magazines will never stop publishing extensive interview features with Kanye West. Last month he was holding court about urine gardens, the perfect hoodie, and a new album in the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ. Magazine. This month he’s on the cover of GQ with more info on that album and lots of his other usual fascinations.
Before everyone went on lockdown, GQ editor-in-chief Will Welch followed Kanye all over the world for three months. They spent time at home in Calabasas and at the compound in Cody, Wyoming where Kanye is testing out his ideas for some Yeezy-branded utopian future. They went to Paris for Fashion Week. They went to Beverly Hills for Kid Cudi’s birthday party. (Also in attendance: Timothée Chalamet, Shia LaBeouf, Travis Scott.) They went to Cabo to preview tracks from the follow-up to last year’s Jesus Is King. (The new album will once again be expressly Christian in nature, with titles like “Washed In The Blood.”) Along the way, politics came up.
Kanye has always been a lightning rod, but arguably the most controversial thing he’s ever done (aside from perhaps his ill-informed hot take about slavery) is throw his outspoken support behind Donald Trump. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, Kanye said he didn’t vote but would have voted for Trump. He’s since met with the president on multiple occasions and publicly rocked a MAGA hat several times. Now, after telling David Letterman last year that he’s never voted in his life, he says he’s ready to cast a ballot for the first time:
No, I’m definitely voting this time. And we know who I’m voting on. And I’m not going to be told by the people around me and the people that have their agenda that my career is going to be over. Because guess what: I’m still here! Jesus Is King was No. 1! I was told my career would end if I wasn’t with her. What kind of campaign is that, anyway? That’s like if Obama’s campaign was “I’m with black.” What’s the point of being a celebrity if you can’t have an opinion? Everybody make their own opinion! You know?
Relatedly, he brings a new perspective to his famous “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moment:
“George Bush doesn’t care about black people” is a victim statement. This white person didn’t do something for us. That is stemmed in victim mentality. Every day I have to look in the mirror like I’m Robert De Niro and tell myself, “You are not a slave.” As outspoken as I am, and the position that I am in, I need to tell myself.
He also discusses his decision to get sober:
One day I was in my office working on the couture collection, and there was some Grey Goose in the fridge and I was just going to get a daytime drink, and I looked and thought, “Devil, you’re not going to beat me today.” That one statement is like a tattoo. I haven’t had a drink since I realized I needed to take it day by day, but I never owned up, or was even told, “Hey, you’re a functioning alcoholic.” People have called me a crazy person, people have called me everything — but not a functioning alcoholic. And I would be drinking orange juice and Grey Goose in the morning.
There’s also this extremely Kanye quote about how lack of awards and radio play contributed to his alcoholism:
Well, it’s good that we found out about all of those awards shows that partially led me to alcoholism. Whistle been blown, you know? Imagine My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne [being eligible] the same year and neither of them being nominated for Album of the Year. Imagine doing The Life of Pablo and driving down the road and never hearing none of those songs on the radio and your wife and your daughter are in the car.
There is, of course, much more in the full-length feature.