All the Highlights from Kanye West's Intense New Interview
Spoiler alert: I'm a giant Kanye fan. Which is why I happily sat through his new 45 minute interview with Zane Lowe of BBC Radio for you and rounded up his best quotes. As a certified Kanyexpert, I am calling this one of his greatest interviews to date, with West chatting about everything from how design can save the world to why he regrets his past behaviour. There are even tears at the 26-minute mark... TEARS people!!! Love him or hate him, you do not want to miss out on these gems.
Scroll down to catch my favourites, and be sure to check out the entire video on the BBC's YouTube channel.
On how he felt before the Adidas collaboration:
“I’m trying to express that I can create outside of…the music box…and I’m just getting completely shut down by every single company…every single company you could imagine is just like, ‘No you’re a celebrity…you're not allowed to create, you’re not allowed to think, you’re not allowed to have an opinion…you’re just here to wear a red leather jacket and shut up.'”
“There was a certain point where I just felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore, where I had all these ideas, I felt like I was literally gasping for oxygen, because anyone who’s creative understands that there’s no amount of money that can be given to them to make them not want to or [not] have to create. There’s no check [that will] stop you.”
On the Adidas collaboration:
“Everyone tried to level me and then this guy [from Adidas]…believed that maybe I had something more than how big my rap record was in me. He was like: This guy has something to say and to give that’s past the current box that he’s [been] put in... Adidas was a company that was flexible enough to allow me to create something very close to my heart.”
“The [Adidas] deal has nothing to do with the…higher-ups in society. The deal is all about the moment when I bring a shoe to a kid in Foot Locker…and take it back to when I worked at the Gap and put the shoes on his feet. The deal is about when the star of a show is a 5'3" girl, when there’s never been a 5'3" girl [as] the star of any fashion show. That’s what I fought for—none of this was about me having, like, a bigger house, [or] a faster Lamborghini…it wasn’t about that. It was about these kids having a moment to be themselves…to be a stronger version of themselves. I make this stuff to empower people. So many things are made to wear the people, as opposed to people wearing [them].”
“[I realised] it wasn’t the material but the idea that was important. I'd always wanted the resources of LVMH or Kering. [But then] I started taking the sensibilities of proportion and colour... and applying them to fleece and jersey and French terry, which is [like] cement in comparison to the types of materials that a Louis Vuitton might use, and [that’s when] I found a voice—a reason to create. You know, it was a futile argument [at first] for me to say: ‘Hey everyone, get behind me! So I can make another $5,000 jacket that you can’t afford.’ That’s…insane. But now I feel people rallying because they know I want to fight for H&M/Zara-type price points.”
“Nothing should be exclusive, everyone should have the opportunity to drink from the same fountain. We have to reboot our mentality. It wouldn’t matter if I sold ONE sweatshirt, as long as this interview gets done and kids hear this and see that someone who was at their lowest point…expressed themselves freely and overcame...all adversity…[I want them to know] that they can do that too.”
On regretting his past behaviour:
“I was using the wrong words. I was getting a drink thrown in my face instead of going home with the girl. Think about the wild [stuff] I used to say in interviews [about fashion] and imagine if someone said that to a girl in a bar: ‘Yo whaddup, baby? I’m a genius!’ They’d be like: ‘Yo, who’s this guy?’ And that’s who I was. I was like the 40-year-old virgin of dealing with corporations. I did not know how to communicate at all…but we have the right to be wrong sometimes.”
On whether or not he’s “likable”:
“I didn’t come here to be liked. I came here to make a difference. Some people are extremely likable, and you know I think I could figure that out. I’m way nicer to people in general [now], but as soon as people start playing games—I stop playing games. And at any moment, I can hit that ‘Ye button, and we can go right back to day one.”
“People say I’m a hypocrite, right? Yes, I am. I’m a human being. I can feel something one time, and a completely different way another time."
“You know how someone [can] call you crazy so many times you start to believe it? [Well] I almost got scared of… going crazy in some way. But I wasn’t going crazy—I was like the only person that wasn’t crazy. [I’m like] is anyone here seeing what I’m seeing? Or is your Maybach and your house that important, that you won’t say anything at all [for] risk of losing something?”
On his working relationships in music and fashion:
“Meeting Paul McCartney is like meeting Ralph Lauren—[they’re] the greatest of their fields. Period. Of all time.”
“I went to Louise Wilson’s memorial—[she was] the greatest fashion instructor of all time—of any fashion school, ever. [She was] notorious for not letting people stop at a 7 or an 8, [always] pushing people to a 12. So the first time that I saw one of her students, Phoebe Philo’s collection for Celine, I was looking at a 12. When I saw McQueen’s last show, I was looking at a 12… You know, last time I saw her, we had dinner, and I think she knew that she was going to pass and she wanted to give me some words of advice moving forward. She said, ‘So many students, they don’t give it their all. And the problem is as soon as they do anything halfway good, when they’re two years old, three years old, their parents clap.' And she just looked at me and said, 'Kanye, don’t clap.’"
And last but not least, a little Kanye philosophy:
“Fusion is the future... The mixing of two ideas—the two lunch tables working together. Humanity, period—we’re ONE people.”
“I think that people think I pander to fashion. They say…why fashion? It’s just a jacket or it’s just a dress. But I believe that the world can only be saved through design—and I know some snarky editor is going to take that and say, 'Kanye West says the world will be saved by a couture dress!' [But] that’s not what I’m saying. [It’s] the mentality behind design. You know, art is to be free [and] design is to fix. No politics—just truth. Does it [expletive] work or not?”
“The juxtaposition of where the people [sitting] in the front row [at my show are now] to where the people standing in the show have come from, [that's] the fusion [I want]. It is the glass shattering of the class system, which is the new racism. Class is the new way to discriminate against people, to hold people down.”
“The Grammy’s are definitely like an ex-girlfriend. As soon as you get in the car with them, you want to go right back home.”
Did any of these quotes really surprise you? Or change your mind about West overall? Let us know in the comments!