With Yeezus in stores, W Magazine rolls out their recent interview with Kanye West, featuring imagery that bears a striking resemblance to the Watch the Throne album artwork.
In the piece, the hip-hop star tackles his collaborative work with Jay-Z, as well as topics such as his own sex tape, his likeness to Hermes, and the city in which he finds the most inspiration.
Below are selet excerpts from the interview below, while the full piece can be read on W Magazine’s website: WMagazine.com.
On his decision to record in Paris: “In Paris, you’re as far as possible from the land of pleasant smiles,” West says. “You can just trip on inspiration — there are so many people here who dedicate their lives to excellence.”
The song “I Am A God”: West was informed that he’d be invited to a widely anticipated runway show only on the condition that he agree not to attend any other shows. “So the next day I went to the studio with Daft Punk, and I wrote ‘I Am a God,’?” West says. “Cause it’s like, ‘Yo! Nobody can tell me where I can and can’t go. Man, I’m the No. 1 living and breathing rock star. I am Axl Rose; I am Jim Morrison; I am Jimi Hendrix.’ ” West is not smiling as he says this, and his voice is getting louder with each sentence. “You can’t say that you love music and then say that Kanye West can’t come to your show! To even think they could tell me where I could and couldn’t go is just ludicrous. It’s blasphemous — to rock ‘n’ roll, and to music.”
On why he chose the title “I Am A God”: “I made that song because I am a god,” he says finally. He laughs for a second, then stops. “I don’t think there’s much more explanation. I’m not going to sit here and defend sh**. That sh** is rock ‘n’ roll, man. That sh** is rap music. I am a god. Now what?”
On narcissism: “On one end, I try to scale it back,” he says. “Because I don’t want to close any of the doors needed to create the best product possible. But my ego is my drug. My drug is, ‘I’m better than all you other mother***ers. Kiss my ass!’?”
On having almost released his own sex tape after it was on sale last fall: “For the most part, I’d rather people have one of those home videos than some of the paparazzi photos that get published,” he says. “At least I recorded the sh** myself. That tape couldn’t have hurt me in any way if it came out — it could only have helped.” He finally decided against releasing it, but don’t be surprised if he changes his mind. “Now, I just do exactly what I want, whenever I want, how the f*** I want,” West says. “ ’F*** you’ is my message.”
On wealth: “I’m not a billionaire; I’m just a millionaire. But I’m the youngest guy I know who has this much interest in design and the ability to actually get some of it. So that makes me an important cog in the wheel.”
On design: “Furniture is my super-obsession now. Furniture and pornography, still. The porn thing has never left since I was in high school.”
On Watch the Throne: “It was like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates talking at the same time. You know which one of us was Steve.”
On doing everything: “You know how they say, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’? I want to be master of all. And not even to be a jack but a king. In fact, not even a king. An ace.”
On Yeezus: “This music is made to spark the visionaries to stand up for themselves and help the world. Because the world is f***ed.”
On Christianity and Ralph Lauren: “I’m Christian in the same way that people have issues with certain elements of Christianity. It’s like if you go into a Ralph Lauren store, maybe that buyer didn’t do the exact buy that you want, but you still really like that brand.”
On celebrities: “Anyone who meets me for the first time and is not slightly nervous is completely full of sh**. Because when I meet people I respect, I’m nervous. When I go have lunch with Tarantino at the Chateau Marmont, I’m nervous. It’s f***ing Tarantino!”
On his intellect: “Visiting my mind is like visiting the Hermès factory. Sh** is real. You’re not going to find a chink. It’s 100,000 percent Jimi Hendrix.”
On his imagination: “I live a pretty interesting life. But the life that I’m living is way less interesting than what I’m thinking.”
On the tattoo on his forearm of Madonna and Baby Jesus: “This is me and my mommy.”
On how seriously to take him: “You should only believe about 90 percent of what I say. As a matter of fact, don’t even believe anything that I’m saying at all. I could be completely f***ing with you, and the world, the entire time.”
On his style taboos: “Even the greatest tattoo artists in the world have a few bad tattoos. And that’s Kanye West. A few of my past outfits — questionable, you know? But I’m testing. I’m discovering who I am.”
On W’s 2010 cover of a nude Kim Kardashian: “I loved the fact that it happened, that it disturbed people. I loved the fact that it put those curves right inside that Hamptons house, that there’s some Hamptons husbands who had to cover that up.”
On his rock-star status: “Instead of using it to date as many supermodels as possible or to be as much of an asshole at a restaurant as possible, I would rather use it to access great minds. To be able to go to Axel Vervoordt’s castle on the first day that I meet him.”