While he had high praise for the album, which divided rap fans upon its release but has since proven to be one of the most influential records of the last 15 years, Black Thought said that frankly Kanye’s more recent material doesn’t resonate with himself in the same way.
“With 808s, it was the audacity. Like, ‘What the fuck?'” he said. “Here’s the thing — I spent so much time being too cool for school. That’s my default setting.
“I’ve often thought of a musical idea, but the whole getting-out-of-my-head-ness of it all had me going through every possible outcome for such a long time that somebody else would have a similar idea and just do it. The level of bravery to destroy and build in the way Kanye did with that project, it’s admirable. That is the stuff of legend.”
He added: “I connect with Kanye’s music less now. Maybe it’s because of the rate at which he’s been putting out art and having to keep up. I think his process has become more assembly-line, which in many ways is the Motown model. It works.
“I don’t know if anything’s lost, but what is sometimes compromised is the personality. The main person it’s supposed to be about is sometimes overshadowed by all these other writers, producers, and people who are contributing. Kanye is less Kanye now than he was when I was a bigger Kanye fan.”
Black Thought indeed used to be a die-hard supporter of the Chicago rap icon, at one point comparing his creative evolution to that of the late, great J Dilla.
“I saw him evolve from someone who just made beats — and I don’t say ‘just made beats’ to take anything away from his production — but I saw him evolve from someone who was a producer of tracks to someone who was also an MC,” he told Stereogum back in 2020.
“I saw him follow in the footsteps of who I feel, to this day, was the greatest rapper/producer, J Dilla. J Dilla, he could sing and rap and play instruments just as well as he could program beats. I watched Kanye in real time evolve, following almost that same blueprint.”
Black Thought isn’t the only rapper who feels disconnected from Kanye in recent years. T.I. shared his thoughts on The Breakfast Club earlier this month and admitted Ye’s recent controversial behavior is off-putting.
“It feel like Ye, y’know, he got to a point where he just stopped reading the room and just gave everything everywhere, y’know what I mean?” Tip said.
That sentiment was shared by Jadakiss, who has witnessed first-hand Kanye’s evolution having first worked with him back in 2004 and most recently collaborated with him on 2021’s Donda.
“I’ve met like five or six different Kanye’s,” The LOX veteran said during a recent appearance on The Adam Friedland Show. “The first four was awesome. The last two was a little bit…”