Kanye West, who was interviewed by 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen and photographed by Steve Klein in a piece by Interview Magazine, used the platform to discuss a variety of matters concerning his life and career. During the interview, McQueen asked West about how his now infamous car accident, one that is detailed in 2004’s “Through The Wire” off The College Dropout, has impacted the rapper’s life.
“I think I started to approach time in a different way after the accident,” Kanye West says in the interview. “Before I was more willing to give my time to people and things that I wasn’t as interested in because somehow I allowed myself to be brainwashed into being forced to work with other people or on other projects that I had no interest in. So simply, the accident gave me the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do. I was a music producer, and everyone was telling me that I had no business becoming a rapper, so it gave me the opportunity to tell everyone, ‘Hey, I need some time to recover.’ But during that recovery period, I just spent all my time honing my craft and making The College Dropout. Without that period, there would have been so many phone calls and so many people putting pressure on me from every direction—so many people I somehow owed something to—and I would have never had the time to do what I wanted to.
“It gave me perspective on life,” West continued. “That it was really now or 100 percent never. I think that people don’t make the most of their lives. So, you know, for me, right now it seems like it’s the beginning of me rattling the cage, of making some people nervous. And people are strategically trying to do things to mute my voice in some way or make me look like I’m a lunatic or pinpoint the inaccuracies in my grammar to somehow take away from the overall message of what I’m saying.”
Kanye West Explains Mission & Defines Success
During the interview, West is also asked about his mission and the obstacles he’s encountered along the way to actualizing his dreams.
“My mission is about what I want to create,” West says. “It’s for people, for humanity. It’s about things that can make the world better. I’m not saying that I’m going to make a better world; I’m just saying that I will provide some things that will help, and my glass ceiling that I’m facing is based on my color.”
Part of his mission also includes a discussion about triumphs. In the interview, West explains how he chooses to define success.
“I don’t want to put out a promissory note of having ultimate success at anything I’m thinking of doing, but my success will be in getting things out there,” West says. “You put new ideas into the world, whether that first idea is extremely successful or an early adopter goes on to make it successful, or it’s that third rendition that finally works. As a celebrity, I have an opportunity to make a living at being the spokesperson for the third or fourth rendition of a thought-promoting something that has already been proven. The problem is that I like to be the inventor—I’m the person who works on the concept, who invents new thoughts, who brings new ideas into the universe. I’m not the guy who works on selling the idea—I’m not Vanna White for the new Hyundai. I am the guy who works on the concept for the car. So success, for me, is in having the ability to get my ideas out there.”
Kanye West Says A Successful Future Is “Easy As Cake”
Near the end of the interview, McQueen asks West about his future. “Do you think you have another 10 years like this in you?” McQueen asks. “Can you extend that interest and success that you’ve enjoyed in music into whatever other fields that you want to venture? Is that possible?”
West appears confident about his answer.
“100 percent,” West says. “Easy as cake, easy as pie. Too many people are scared. But it is my job to go up every night and talk about this kind of shit. It is actually my job. I’m like a broadcaster for futurism, for dreamers, for people who believe in themselves. We’ve been taught since day one to stop believing in our own dreams. We’ve had the confidence beaten out of us since day one, and then sold back to us through branding and diamond rings and songs and melodies—through these lines that we have to walk inside of so as to not break the uniform or look silly or be laughed at. So I hope that there are people out there laughing. Laugh loud, please. Laugh until your lungs give out because I will have the last laugh.”
During his 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance, Kanye West rapped in front of “Lynching Tree,” an art piece done by Steve McQueen. McQueen’s “Lynching Tree” was also thematically linked to his 2013 film 12 Years A Slave, a motion picture that has been critically acclaimed.
Images from the Interview photo-shoot, shot by Steve Klein, can be found below.