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.