In just over four years, Kanye West has made himself one of the most polarizing figures in Hip Hop. Whether it’s via an astonishing quote, or his appearances on his or someone else’s album, “The Louis Vuitton Don” generates love, hate, but above all, plenty of interest.
Amid news of his new album release date [November 24], and an ever-changing musical direction, Kanye scheduled a conference call, which HipHopDX was privileged enough to be a part of. Aware of his disdain for being misquoted and having partial quotes misinterpreted, we offer you Kanye‘s uncensored, unedited take on everything from his use of Auto-Tune, to why you’ll be seeing 808’s & Heartbreak in stores sooner than expected.
Kanye on the emotion behind his new album:
“I’m at a listening session in the UK playing my joint right now. I love listening sessions, because it feels like Christmas Day when the parents get to see their kids open up the gifts. I feel like I try to give the gift of music. This album is based off the devastation and the hurt that I’ve felt the past year. All the hurt that I’ve felt within the past year from all the losses that I’ve endured, have sort of settled me into being this fucking super-famous alien, where everywhere I go, somebody wants a fucking photograph…it’s hard when you not really a celebrity, but you’re just a real person that ended up being famous for your craft.”
Kanye on using Auto-Tune and the title 808’s & Heartbreak:
“What’s good is that this is therapeutic for me…it’s better than suicide to just keep on putting out music and art. I got a lot of backlash for the medium that I wanted to do this in. I created a thing I call ‘Heartbreak,’ that’s like a mixed drink. It’s Auto-Tune meets distortion, with a bit of delay on it and a whole bunch of fucked up life. And that’s what I call my ‘Heartbreak.’ And that’s what every record basically has.
“I’m delivering what I feel like is art, and that’s what I want to deliver from this point on. The records I’m doing right now might not have high hats and shit like everything else has. But when I go out and be listening to shit like Jimi Hendrix and The [Rolling] Stones and Lenny Kravitz, they wouldn’t play no Hip Hop records in the midst of that. I feel like niggas give up on trying to make music on the Quincy Jones level. On this record I’m trying to improve my craft and take it a level that no nigga ever made it to. No niggas are rocking 50,000 people and stadiums with 100,000 people 10 years after their records came out. Anybody that saw the tour knows my goal is to take it to a whole ‘nother level.”
Kanye on the street’s reaction to his latest music:
“Today, we’re about to drop one of the records everybody is talking about—’Amazin” [click to listen] featuring Jeezy [click to read]. I just wanted to make this call before Chris blasted it out to everybody. It’s definitely one of those joints in the club, it’s gonna go crazy—like we did with ‘Swagger [Like Us],’ like we did with ‘Put On,’ like we always do at this time, basically. This is what my job is. My job is to give y’all shit that have the model bitches runnin’ around going crazy—shit that has niggas bobbing their head crazy like ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothin’.’
“Of course I always hit ‘em with a curve to start off with. Y’all know with that ‘Heartless,’ [click to listen] that’s straight nigga shit. The whole album is shit that 50 [click to read] would rap over, but I’m trying to put them Phil Collins melodies when I rap to them. Even if I’m harmonizing, it’s still from a nigga perspective. I’m not making no ‘Girl You Know,’ this is the perfect melody…Nah, this is none of that. This is still 100 percent, rap perspective music with melody.”
“I just came on the call to thank everyone for their support with ‘Love Lockdown’ [click to listen]. That shit sold over a million on iTunes thus far. Bitches love it, and niggas rock to what bitches dance to. This album is really for my art; it’s an art project. And I appreciate everybody. For the people who are like mad that I’m not rapping right now, thank you very much for allowing me to sit on this therapeutic couch and let this one off and get out what I need to get out.”
Kanye on rumors of another album in June:
“It’s rumors of another album coming soon. I’m not gonna put that pressure on myself. I’m probably coming with another tour in June though. But, that’s where I’m at with my life right now. I really wanted to release this music, and I forced L.A. [Reid] to give me this release date. I was like, ‘Don’t fuckin’ wait months and months to set it up. Just give people the music!’ I’m constantly making music; we almost finished with Jay [click to read]. Jay’s album is coming in February…There’s a new Wayne [click to read] with special packaging that’s coming before this Christmas is out. We’ve got a new record on there together. So we still got a bunch of shit.” album. We was almost finished before I even dropped my album.
Kanye on his new release date of November 24:
“The label moved it up to get more Thanksgiving sales. They told me to get on the call and tell y’all that I did it because of the fuckin’ excitement, but I don’t do that shit…you know what I’m saying? The label moved it up. They were trying to get more sales and shit. I’m excited about the album.
“Also, ‘Robocop’ [click to listen] is completely different on the album. ‘Paranoid’ is different. I did not leak those, and I did not leak the ‘Heartless’ video. Motherfuckers is leaking my shit. The only shit I leaked was ‘Heartless’ and ‘Love Lockdown.’ Them the only joints I actually put out. Basically, the label moved it up to get more sales and shit. If I get the sales, then cool. If I don’t, then, hey…I’ll have to bare the burden, because I’ve been a cocky motherfucker and talked my shit and all that. And the people would love to see me not sell…hey, it is what it is. That’s the way life is, man. But hopefully I sell.”
Kanye on working with Young Jeezy:
“We’ve been doing pretty good with the singles I’m dropping. We’ll put this one out today, and hopefully get more sales because of it. It’s got Jeezy on it. Jeezy came down to Hawaii with us. Every time I write a chorus or write any type of hook, I be like, ‘Man what would Jeezy do.’ Niggas have big bumper stickers with ‘What would Jesus do?” but my shit is ‘What would Jeezy do? What would he say on this record?’ I make my shit straight white t-shirt ready at all given times. So, he came down and helped out. But he actually helped with other records. So it’s records that’s straight singing records that have Jeezy lines on it. And you’ll feel that energy throughout the entire joint.”