Today we're blessed with a rare treat: an uncut Kanye West interview from all the way back in 2013. Though some details of the clip have emerged previously, the full thing (an interview for the documentary Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton) is Kanye pre-Yeezys, pre-Yeezy Season and pre-North and Saint, though it's clear that he still had the same gonzo vision even before it all. It's 20 minutes long, so we pulled out a few nuggets of wisdom meaning you don't have to:
J Dilla Sounded Like Great Sex
The bulk of the interview features Kanye talking about the late producer and rapper. Though he says a number of insightful things about their relationship, the best Kanye-ism on him is this: "His music just sounded like good pussy."
On Dilla's passing, he says "We lost another point of inspiration [...] it's amazing. How could we lose Biggie, Pac, Dilla, Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson. It almost makes you feel like the devil's winning [...] That's what gives me my fight, just thinking like, I have to work on behalf of Dilla."
Margiela Was to Fashion What Dilla Was to Music
It's clear that Kanye has always had his eye on becoming a multimedia artist, and even in 2013 saw his own craft of record-making as not entirely dissimilar to fashion, in which he is now heavily involved: "As hip-hop producers we were all designers in a way. So perhaps maybe I was like, the Marc Jacobs of hip hop."
The Major Music Awards Shows Are As Boring As You've Quietly Thought
Kanye has long railed against awards shows which seem to reward homogenous music rather than creativity and boundary-pushing talent, and he speaks on that here: "There is no Michael Jackson anymore. You literally got pop stars copying what Mike did and copying what MC Hammer did. That purity is not there because the system compresses talent so much and tries to demonize the truth so they can control and sell products and shit."
Hip-Hop Never Stopped Being Protest Music
"You can never forget about what the point is," he says, keen to bring attention to hip-hop as protest music that rails against social prejudices and white supremacy. "The message, what hip-hop is about, what Public Enemy is about. 'Fuck a Maybach'—respect to the Maybach family, cos I know them—I just feel like people are controlled with money and perception and they're very fearful."
It almost feels nostalgic to look back at this Kanye era, when he was unfurling in full artist mode and connecting the dots between various disciplines. It feels a bit like what happens when you end up at a dinner with that kid from uni who used to seem pretentious but was actually just excited about all the different elements of the arts and how they connected to each other. Sure, they weren't "right" all the time, but they were basically thinking out loud. There's every chance you were that person in your friendship group too, and got used to people laughing nervously when you threw out another idea. But that's what made Kanye who he was, in all his ambling, over-thinking glory. Watch the full interview below, and get your Kanye sermon for the day:
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(Image via YouTube)