Kanye West Talks Creative Struggles, His Father & More With BBC Radio 1
Kanye West and BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe got their hour-long interview off to an explosive start yesterday; within 14 minutes, Yeezus had screamed at fashion designer Hedi Slimane and declared himself the biggest rock star in the game.
Thought not as animated, Kanye’s frustrations were still very much conspicuous in part two of his sit-down at London’s Abbey Road Studios. The G.O.O.D. Music rapper vented about being snubbed in the fashion and corporate world, even after creating the wildly popular Yeezy sneaker, shared his lofty aspiration to “be the anchor of the first trillion-dollar company,” and gave a compelling lecture on classism, racism and self-hate.
For one of the first times in his 10-plus-year career, Ye also spoke about his father, Ray West. The rapper revealed that his pops was a photo journalist who moved to the Dominican Republic, started a foundation and lived in a homeless shelter to help victims of drug addiction and prostitution.
Watch part two of the interview below, and read the best quotes after the jump.
On frustrations with the corporate world:
“You guys don’t understand that I did the Yeezy’s, and they eBay’d for $90,000, but I didn’t get a call from Nike the next day. You guys don’t understand that I’ve met with companies and they say, ‘What we’re trying to figure out is how to control you and how to control that.'”
“When I say, ‘Clean water was only served to the fairer skin,’ what I’m saying is, we’re making product with chitlins. T-shirts — that’s the most we can make. T-Shirts! We can have our best perspective on T-shirts, but if it’s anything else, your ‘Truman Show’ boat is hitting the wall.”
On creative aspirations:
“What people don’t realize is, I want to make uniforms for my high school basketball team through brand Yeezy. I want to make that one step, and then make another step, and then eventually do uniforms for an entire city. Then I want those uniforms to be hot and make money. Then I eventually want to be the anchor and the force behind a billion-dollar company. And after I make that billion dollar step, then I can go in and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got an opinion on this.’ And that can be a 10 billion-dollar step. And then I eventually want to be the anchor of the first trillion-dollar company.”
On other celebrities’ corporate roles:
“Look at Gaga, she’s the creative director of Polaroid. I like some of the Gaga songs, [but] what the f–k does she know about cameras?”
On classism, racism and self-hate:
“When someone comes up and says something like, ‘I am a God,’ everybody says, ‘Who does he think he is?’ I JUST TOLD YOU WHO I THOUGHT I WAS: A GOD. Would it have been better if I had song that said, ‘I am a n—-a,’ or if I had a song that said ‘I am a gangster,’ or if I had a song that said ‘I am a pimp’? All those colors and patinas fit better on a person like me, right? But to say you are a God, especially when you got shipped over to the country that you’re in, and you’re last name is a slave-owner’s, how could you say that? How could you have that mentality?”
On his father:
“My father was a Black Panther, my father was a photo journalist. We had a dark room in our house. Seven years ago, he lived in a homeless shelter, not because he was homeless, because he wanted to help the ex-drug addicts, he wanted to get that close. He started a foundation called Good Water and moved to the Dominican Republic, to help with the prostitution, to help with the extortion. He stays in the DR right now. My mom was the first black female chair of the English Department. There is no awards show, there is no amount of Billboards, there is nothing that can define me or make me pass what my parents made me. And that’s exactly who I am.”