Skip to main content

How Kanye West Explains the World

Kanye West talks to The Times about being Kanye West.


Kanye West, the Michael Jordan of Barack Obama of Isaac Newton of Johannes Gutenberg of Buddha of Gandhi of music, has a new album coming out next Tuesday. If past albums are any indication, Yeezus will, at the very least, change something we think we know about music. And if some of the songs he's already performed are any indication, it'll also alter Earth's rotation. Kanye is the most-fascinating mega-celebrity there is because he's so weirdly singular. He's a ball of influences, yet like no one else. Completely unaware of things because he's so aware of himself. And still making great music despite his best efforts, sometimes, not to.

Don't like his music? Fine. Think he's an asshole? Also, fine. But the dude, at his absolute worst, makes us think. (Hey, George Bush. Hey, an entire album about dealing with his mom's death. Hey, another album about being rich. Hey, a song called "New Slaves.") He changes things, or at least makes you wonder whether change needs to happen—which is all you can really expect from a musician, isn't it? The world's a more interesting place with Kanye West running into stop signs and performing in kilts. It just is. Which is why Jon Caramanica's New York Timesinterview with the man who doesn't do interviews—the best profile of Kanye was written based on his Twitter account—is so great. As Emma Carmichael writes at The Hairpin, "No one on Earth is smarter about Kanye West than Kanye West himself." So, listening to the man talk about being that man in the larger world is something you should do.

Here's Kanye on some of life's larger themes.


Anytime I’ve had a big thing that’s ever pierced and cut across the Internet, it was a fight for justice. Justice. And when you say justice, it doesn’t have to be war. Justice could just be clearing a path for people to dream properly. It could be clearing a path to make it fair within the arena that I play. You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, “This is wrong.”


I love the fact that I’m bad at [things], you know what I’m saying? I’m forever the 35-year-old five-year-old. I’m forever the five-year-old of something.


I’m the type of rock star that likes to have a girlfriend, you know? I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love and likes to be able to focus. And that inspires me.


If you don’t make Christmas presents, meaning making something that’s so emotionally connected to people, don’t talk to me.


Why do you want to control me? Like, I want the world to be better! All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness! Why would you want to control that?

Kanye West is Kanye West. Full interview here.