Rick Rubin Says "Yeezus" Sounded "Unfocused" At One Point

Rick Rubin addresses Kanye West's need to combine both minimalism and edginess on "Yeezus."

Following the announcement of Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin as the executive producer of Yeezus, Kanye West’s sixth studio album, the noted producer has gone on to detail his contributions on the project while speaking with select outlets including The Daily Beast.

While speaking with The Daily Beast as part of an exclusive interview, Rubin, who was brought on just weeks before Yeezus was to be released, referred to the album as being “unfocused” at one point, especially given the short period of time Kanye was hoping to complete the project in.

“Kind of meandering, unfocused, usually without his vocals,” said Rubin, when asked what the album sounded like when he was recruited. “I assumed that the album was scheduled to come out next year.”

Rubin also addressed Kanye’s decision to combine both edginess and minimalism while crafting the records on Yeezus. The producer revealed that rather than add components to a record to make it better, Kanye would ask that he instead take away from the song.

“There was so much material we could really pick which direction it was going to go,” he revealed. “The idea of making it edgy and minimal and hard was Kanye’s. I’d say, 'This song is not so good. Should I start messing with it? Can I make it better?' And he’d say, 'Yes, but instead of adding stuff, try taking stuff away.' We talked a lot about minimalism. My house is basically an empty white box. When he walked in, he was like, 'My house is an empty white box, too!'"

Kanye West officially confirmed Rick Rubin as executive producer of Yeezus during an album listening session in New York City, which took place a week before the album’s June 18 release.

RELATED: Kanye West's "Yeezus" "Might" Have Sequel, Says Rick Rubin

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81 Comments

  • Anonymous

    He aint focused cause its all going toward tat whore he married Kanye west= rich dumbass

  • bevis n butt head

    uhuuhuhhuh

  • Anonymous

    it still sounds unfocused, rick. rick is a mercenary. he got paid to sit there and nod his head. kanye is a overblown hack. grade A fraud. only ppl impressed by kanyes try hard music are culture deprived geeks that don't know what good music sounds like. they think kanye is off book. kanye is electro pop. he doesn't rap well and he doensn't make beats so what is it you like about him so much?

    • yeaaahh

      Idiots shouldn't be allowed to make comments! Overblown hack?? He's the most musically inclined rapper. Kanye brought the soul back to hip hop when he released College Dropout and ever since then he's been progressing with every album. Name another rapper who has a different sound every album? He's a good rapper and an even better producer.

    • Anonymous

      wow actually so misinformed to even consider kanye or RICK RUBIN fucking sold out, YOU REALLY think that dude cares about money man.. hes a fuckin pioneer, go bump 2 chainz faggot.

    • Anonymous

      u took the wordz out my mouth

  • FREDYYY

    http://i1125.photobucket.com/albums/l586/Chadin/freddy_krueger.jpg

  • nikeblue76

    this is exactly why i dont take his ish serious.... a bunch of payed actors and rich white guys behind the scenes tying to tell black people what to like

  • Art Brooks

    ..."at one point" - June 18. Nah, it's allright - I give it a C+

  • Anonymous

    GIVE ME A CHANCE Youtube is all about finding new artist, & though I been rapping for a while im still consider a new artist. I just want my music heard thats all, im not looking for no record deal, getting famous 'r anything like that.! so please just spare a few sec. to check me out, & if you like what you heard please SUBSCRIBE so ill know you actually listen & support http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzBh55tD_eg

  • anonymous

    ye on that new shit niggas like how come niggas want my old shit by my old album if ye never progressed and rapped about the same shit he used to ya'll niggas would still be btchin. Same with eminem. everyone says he fell off and aint like old slim shady. if he was rappin about the same shit he was in 99-2002 ya'll would still say em is wack

  • jasonnn

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avas-u4od6w

  • Anonymous

    tone spliff - up in smoke the mixtape hosted by copywrite

  • paint me purple and call me barney

    fucking tone splif better than this his albums a joke

  • Anonymous

    faggot fucking trolls

  • Anonymous

    (phone ringing) - Hello? - Hey, what's up Rick? Long time no speak, huh? - Who's talking? How did you got that number? - [nervous laughing] Oh, shit I forget to ... it's Kanye, man. - Kanye? Kanye West? Yeah, long time no speak. What do you want? - Well, I have an album coming out in soon. You might heard about it, it's called Yeezus. It'll be incredible, believe me. Some next level shit. The whole album is a fucking masterpiece. A big-fucking-maste ... - Hey, man ... Kanye ... - [speaking vehemently]... and it's not even music any more, more like fluid art concentrated in Mona Lisa's tear drops! If they could unify like some Terminator T200 shit, they'd form a statue of me chillin with El Greco, Liszt and Rodin! And I swear .. - Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down man, slow down. You still haven't told me what do you want from me. - [calmly again] Ehm ... yeah. So yesterday I did some thinking, you know, and I figured out you might be interested to be a part of this. - No way. I just finished pretending that I'm working with another random rock band who paying me top dollar to wander in the studio twice a week for an hour. I'm going on a vacation. - Rick, don't do this to me ... Come on, I know you want be on Yeezus. - Not really. Now, if that's all, I guess ... - [loudly] NO! Stay in the line. I pay you like a hundred thousand grand! - I can't hear you Ye, the line is crispy ... - [desperately]Fire hundred grand! Fuck it, a million! - Now it's much better. What do you have right now? - [about to cry] A bunch of bullshit. I wanted to be revolutionary ... reform the game, you know. Even told that to my producers and ghost writers! And it's a whole fucking mess. - What do you mean? How does that sound like? - Like some EDM - dancehall crossover euro trash ... - Ouch. - ... with fucked up jazz / R&B samples ... - Damn. - ... combined uncontrolled screams, shout and random noises. - Uhhh ... - [starts crying] I even got Daft Punk on 3 songs! - [sounds of dropping the phone, running away, retching in the background] - [snuffle] Rick ... Rick, are you there? - Fuck you, Kanye. I vomited on my beard. All over it. - [in a begging voice] Rick .. are you willing to help? Save my ass and I'll be in debt with you forever! - [sigh] Aight. You got two weeks, 16 hour daily. Let me see what we can cook it up. Since we haven't produced shit in the past half decade, that won't be easy. But in exchange I want something else. - [cheerfully] Yes? Anything my friend, anything! - I can name your soon-to-be born child. - [silence for like 5 seconds] ... okay. - Bye then. [put down the phone]

  • Sco

    shit still sounds unfocussed, and I don't recognize the minimalist approach, this album is super busy, chaotic, and loud.....I don't know what this shit is, but it appears as if you guys do....

  • Anonymous

    https://www.facebook.com/realhiphopheads for real fans only

  • Anonymous

    THE EMINEM SHOW one of the most focused albums out

    • Anonymous

      Port of Miami was also a very focused album. Brilliant, realistic and tragic all at the same time.

  • nate

    Rick has been pimping this game for years. Him saying that the album sounded unfocused is tryna validate his presence on then project. Like some great barefoot Yoda, a hip-hop Phil Jackson, he's able to use all types of zen techniques and ancient chinese wisdom to bring out the best in the artist. new footage about Jay-Z talking "emotionally" about his daughter while Rubin is laying down on a couch, barefoot again, only adds to this dude's contrived mystique, about as phony as Russell Simmons yogamaster bullshit. If you ain't making a beat, get the fuck out the lab. As one of his most prized pupils said back in the days "Don't believe the hype"

  • Enema

    what? The whole album still sounds unfocused. Shit didn't have an overall theme or topic and felt rushed.

  • Anonymous

    I'm smarter than all of you sheep

  • FREDYYY

    http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS7IeF86yr2EIjFmmcpF_yVS1QEqVA_-YyyB-Ba-xD5lHt2rzD3WA

  • FREDYYY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYPoDFil1r0

  • MICHEAL MYERSSS

    http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb225/halloweenmichaelmyers31/michael%20myers/Michael.jpg

  • jasonnn

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf6iHwKJrrk

  • wesa

    Is this the guy from ZZ TOP?

  • Anonymous

    so basically Rick is saying its garbage.

  • koylo

    Now watch game come out and diss Rubin for calling yeezus unfocused

  • yardie

    Faithless Maxi Jazz best rapper balive

  • yardie

    you still troll ...none of you can be helped

  • Anonymous

    the album still sounds like he made it in a few weeks and spent no time on the lyrics at all

  • Anonymous

    musically, album is dope but not hiphop, the rhymes are wack

    • anonymous

      are you fucking stupid or just trollin? black skinhead had most awesome drums i heard in a while

    • Anonymous

      Musically its wack too. It tries to be "experimental" but all the beats just sound terrible. They are either obnoxious or like New Slaves where it tries to sound all revealing and scary but just comes across as corny. Black Skinheads beat sucked too.

  • 666

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-7zFV6ypZg

  • Quit Mr. Kardashian

    Seriously Rick is pretty much saying without saying that Yeezus sucks. When will you people get a clue. That album all these "critics" were giving rave reviews too was to NOT seem out of touch. They know deep in their hearts that Yeezus was trash but they couldn't face the backlash of criticism Kanye fans dish out ever since MBDTF came out. Fun fact EVERYTHING Kanye has done since then has been materialistic trash. WTT was average at best, Cruel Summer and Yeezus were hot garbage. Kanye is "producing" beats he's not making and have all these ghostwriters but can't make decent music anymore. All he raps about now is pussy and his shit and then tries to sound "edgy" when he brings up race. I was a HUGE fan of Kanye from 04-10. I even liked 808s a lot but this new Kanye is terrible. Kanye Kardashian needs to call it quits

    • Anonymous

      I don't agree. Some of the new music is good. Doesn't make me a rabid stan because I think that way. MBDTF is a banger, All of The Lights is still in heavy radio rotation and it's just as good as Flashing Lights. WTT had The Joy on it for you to two step to. Black Skinheads is crazy. As for critics, they've panned albums that stand on the best of all time list. I'm not judging projects, I'm listening to songs. How it goes, a year or 2 from now, other songs, on those same projects, start resonating. He ain't going anywhere. You'll be saying the same thing when the next album is coming.

    • Anonymous

      Co-sign! Its over. He cant make beats on his own anymore and cant write, but the stans insist on worshiping him. The reviews were an even bigger disgrace and show that theres no standards in journalism.

  • Yardleyhbk

    The album was fucking trash and Kanye West is full of himself, he just lost a fan!!!.... but that J cole album , fucking crazy !!! hot !!! Kanye needs to do a freestyle on the "Let Nas Down" Instrument and call it "I let Hip Hop down" with that wack ass album yeezus

  • the grza

    Rick is totally not feeling this album.

  • Anonymous

    Rick you may be one of the greatest producers ever but 'Yeezus' is garbage.

  • lol

    this guys album was all over the place.. hes mad about this and that and this again and hes trying in his album to make white people feel mad on certain bars.. his rants make sense now about fashion and all that other shit he was ranting about ... but it makes him look like a bitch not a revolutionary guy.

  • Anonymous

    rather listen to the eminem show the rap game sucks now

  • Anonymous

    this album was shit. production sounded disjointed and shit and the only reason he put it out june 18 is because the doctor said kim's irth at that time. what a publicity stunt?

  • Anonymous

    Can't decide whether Rick Rubin looks like father time or Jeff Bridges.

  • Ye

    "Unfocused..." yep, sounds like Yeezy. He needs to decide whether he wants to continue making music, or art, for his fans. I don't have a problem with an artist being daring and all that, but also you don't want to alienate your fans. I personally miss the old Kanye. This soapbox he's on lately is gonna make his fanbase fade away in a few years. Critics will still love him though, for being the radical that he is.

  • Anonymous

    ** was ** unfocused? what the fuck is it now? and Rick Rubin hasn't done a goddamn single thing wortwhile in at least ten years so fuck his fat smelly vegetarian ass too.

  • Anonymous

    (phone ringing) - Hello? - Hey, what's up Rick? Long time no speak, huh? - Who's talking? How did you got that number? - [nervous laughing] Oh, shit I forget to ... it's Kanye, man. - Kanye? Kanye West? Yeah, long time no speak. What do you want? - Well, I have an album coming out in soon. You might heard about it, it's called Yeezus. It'll be incredible, believe me. Some next level shit. The whole album is a fucking masterpiece. A big-fucking-maste ... - Hey, man ... Kanye ... - [speaking vehemently]... and it's not even music any more, more like fluid art concentrated in Mona Lisa's tear drops! If they could unify like some Terminator T200 shit, they'd form a statue of me chillin with El Greco, Liszt and Rodin! And I swear .. - Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down man, slow down. You still haven't told me what do you want from me. - [calmly again] Ehm ... yeah. So yesterday I did some thinking, you know, and I figured out you might be interested to be a part of this. - No way. I just finished pretending that I'm working with another random rock band who paying me top dollar to wander in the studio twice a week for an hour. I'm going on a vacation. - Rick, don't do this to me ... Come on, I know you want be on Yeezus. - Not really. Now, if that's all, I guess ... - [loudly] NO! Stay in the line. I pay you like a hundred grand! - I can't hear you Ye, the line is crispy ... - [desperately]Fire hundred grand! Fuck it, a million! - Now it's much better. What do you have right now? - [about to cry] A bunch of bullshit. I wanted to be revolutionary ... reform the game, you know. Even told that to my producers and ghost writers! And it's a whole fucking mess. - What do you mean? How does that sound like? - Like some EDM - dancehall crossover euro trash ... - Ouch. - ... with fucked up jazz / R&B samples ... - Damn. - ... combined uncontrolled screams, shout and random noises. - Uhhh ... - [starts crying] I even got Daft Punk on 3 songs! - [sounds of dropping the phone, running away, retching in the background] - [snuffle] Rick ... Rick, are you there? - Fuck you, Kanye. I vomited on my beard. All over it. - [in a begging voice] Rick .. are you willing to help? Save my ass and I'll be in debt with you forever! - [sigh] Aight. You got two weeks, 16 hour daily. Let me see what we can cook it up. Since we haven't produced shit in the past half decade, that won't be easy. But in exchange I want something else. - [cheerfully] Yes? Anything my friend, anything! - I can name your soon-to-be born child. - [silence for like 5 seconds] ... okay. - Bye then. [put down the phone]

  • Anonymous

    the album serves better as my weed tray

  • Anonymous

    Its still is unfocused