Kanye West Interviewed

Extended chat with our cover star

With the confidence of a superstar and the music to match, while his country is exploding in optimism, America’s most out-spoken superstar is ushering in a new era for hip-hop. Clash speaks exclusively to Kanye West.

The cover star of Issue 33 of Clash, Kanye talks about the recording of his new album ‘808s & Heartbreak’ and lots lots more.

Are you excited about the new album coming out?

Yes I am!

How long have you been recording for? Is it quite a prolonged process? Or did it come together quite quickly?

Yeah, it’s quicker than any of my other albums.

How long were you recording for?

A month but then you know once we got the basic idea done there’s three weeks of tweaking and mixing and mastering. You know, you change the songs as you mix it sometimes.

Are the albums quite distinct entities? Would you ever use material that was originally intended for a previous record?

Yeah, but that didn’t happen with this one.

Did you always intend to release something this year?

No. I didn’t even intend to finish Jay-Z’s new album and I did Jay’s album and then I just did this album. I just had a bunch of ideas due to the tour. I mean, we went and did the tour and had to very quickly put together all the music from over three albums and make it sound like they went together. We remixed tracks like Touch The Sky and Through the Wire and made them sound as though they’re part of one story. And in the process of doing that it inspired me to start making new music and I tried new instruments. We used lots of monk choirs, timpanis and 808 sounds and I made music with what I thought was the coolest instruments possible. And the coolest melodies possible. And the coolest subject matters…

Yeah – I mean ‘Jesus Walks’, ‘Never Let Me Down’ both had Auto-Tune on it. But even if I had never used it before; so what, I like it now.


I heard you said that the reason you chose to use Auto-Tune so heavily on the album was because it was so fun to use. Is that right?

Yeah, but also because I really like the way it sounds.

I agree it sounds great and there are obvious parallels with your past work that people seem to have overlooked when discussing their surprise at its use. ‘Spaceship’ seems an obvious example…

Yeah – I mean ‘Jesus Walks’, ‘Never Let Me Down’ both had Auto-Tune on it. But even if I had never used it before; so what, I like it now. You know, I’m an artist at the end of the day and sounds are like my paints. Basically no-one can tell me what to paint with and that’s the medium I chose to make these paintings with. I just really want to tell anybody who wants to say anything about me for using Auto-Tune and they don’t like it… Fuck ‘em!

So when you go into the studio where does the record come from? Do you have firm ideas already, or is it an organic process once in there?

Sometimes I think of a song concept as I’m talking to somebody – like “oh that would be a good song concept” or “wow, that’s good. Oh wow that’s good”. Regular conversation just gets into my music. But I usually just freestyle. There are tracks that I freestyle all the way from humming them to doing the drumbeat really quickly to going in the booth and singing, then we finish the song. So a lot of stuff is freestyle. I mean ‘Love Lockdown’ was a freestyle. I wrote the original song in one take – I just freestyled it all the way through. And I was like “I’m not loving you…” and by the end of it I was going “just keep your love locked down, your love locked down, keep your love locked down…” And then I went back and worked through it.

The version you premiered at the MTV VMA’s seemed quite different to the final version. There were less drums…

But that’s because it was live…

I thought there was a different version available on iTunes?

No it was live…

The version on iTunes?

No – the on MTV. So whenever you perform something live it’s always gonna sound different.

Is that important to ensure the live sound is different to that on the record? Do you think you owe it to people to make the show different to the album?

I don’t owe anything to anyone. But I just think it came out different because it was live. There’s nothing more than that.

Did you enjoy the MTV EMA awards in Liverpool last week?

Yeah I had a lot of fun there!

You performed ‘American Boy’ alongside Estelle. How did that collaboration come about?

Just through John Legend – she’s one of his artists and stuff. They asked me to come and check out the album and gave me a few different tracks to think about, but I think that’s the one she wanted me on and I like that track too. So I went in and wrote a rap. And actually my rap was way way longer; I thought up a bunch of stuff and we had to cut it down. Even though I’m rapping and it seems pretty long on that song, we cut out a bunch of lyrics too…

Back to the album and the title ‘Heartbreaks and 808s’, I presume you’re referencing the Roland 808 synthesiser? Growing up in Chicago amongst the house movement there I wondered what kind of influence that had on you growing up?

Yeah house – I definitely loved house music. But even back then, I might have liked hip-hop music but when you go to a hip-hop club everyone would stand around and watch somebody break dancing or flexing in the middle. You know, somebody might get a chance to break-dance and kick a girl in the head! But you go to a house club and you could actually dance up on a girl – so I said “man, I’ll listen to hip-hop in the car but when I go to a club I want to go to a house club. At a house club I can feel on girls!”

So would you have bought and played house music at home?

I didn’t really play much house music at home, but it was very much a part of my culture just because I from Chicago.

Can you remember the first record you bought?

Yeah, it was, errrr, A Tribe Called Quest ‘Low End Theory’.

What do you think of Q-Tip’s new album?

I’m about to buy it today, but I heard its dope!

Who did you look up to in terms of artists when growing up?

I mean, yeah – A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, George Michael. I’m thinking about when I was a little kid, LL Cool J… People don’t never take it back to when we just kids, Madonna, Phil Collins.

So a lot of that is pop music, which often gets a bad name…

Yeah, but when you’re a little kid you don’t listen to underground music – you listen to what your parents listen to and shit that’s on the radio. Like when you’re five… I mean this is before the internet, before you had a choice of what you listened to. You had a choice of like two big songs. The problem was when people started to process pop music. I mean there were once real pop artists; Phil Collins, Madonna, Michael Jackson. No underground artist has been able to compete with what they did and I think people cop out by not wanting to be pop.

Are you happy to be considered pop music?

Yeah, I am pop music.

So it’s not something that you consider a negative term?

Yeah – it’s a complete negative term. But being black was a negative term in America for a long time.

So there’s no reason to avoid it?

Yeah – you can’t avoid it! But that doesn’t mean that I’m negative. In fact, that’s why I embraced the concept of pop! I’ve said through the years that man, I want to be pop. But I’ve invented my own genre of music now called Pop Art because it’s pop that has all the sensibilities of art. And it needed to be separated because of all these people who engineered boy bands with all these different people writing songs for them. I mean, I’m a true singer, songwriter, producer, director, stylist… Basically think of every aspect and I’m that type of artist. And I think that it’s great for me to take everything that someone thinks is negative – Auto-Tune, the term pop – whatever it is that you might think is not keeping it real and show that you can make really good songs with this. I mean, I’ve had some hip-hop songs that I’ve loved in my lifetime – but they are not as good as Phil Collins’ ‘Something In the Air Tonight’. They’re just not as good! They’re just not as good as ‘I Wanna Rock With You’ by Michael Jackson. Matter of fact, with rap and shit there are very few rappers who can write raps that are entertaining and important enough to hold your attention. I mean, I started running into that problem when I was working on ‘Graduation’… Songs like ‘Good Life’ and ‘Stronger’; those tracks took a long time to write. You couldn’t just say anything! A lot of the time with rappers you just say anything – I mean right now I could completely freestyle for you, but that doesn’t mean its good enough to perform in front of 100,000 people. But now I’m getting to the point where I can say things that are just that strong and that big. And travelling the world, you know – people just get caught up too much in the language they use. That’s what is great about Barack – he can speak in a way that allows a lot of people to understand him and that’s what I want, for people to understand what I’m saying across the board.

Talking about Barack, I presume you’re happy with the election result?

Oh yeah…

But are you not at all worried that he’s coming to the job with an almost impossible task to clear up the previous eight years of the Bush Administration? An economy on the slide, unpopular wars…

(Laughing) Do you think I would say yes to that question? I think he already beat the most difficult thing he had to face. It’s all down hill from here… I don’t mean down hill! I mean everything is easier from here on in. Overcoming America is the hardest challenge, with politics with music with money with style. Anything. Overcoming America is the hardest thing to do. Once you can take America, you can take the world.

And will the election of Barack change the world’s view of America? Is that even important?

Well, I’m gonna tell you like this. All questions have been answered. There are no questions you can ask about it that doesn’t now have an obvious answer. Right when he won and you heard he had won; all questions were answered at that point. It’s a new face, open-minded, new thinking, hope that the concept you can go us being brought over as slaves to us becoming president… It restores all types of hope in the concept of democracy. It’s a new face for America.

Do you think it’s important for artists to speak out?

No. You do whatever you want to do. It’s not important for artists to speak out. I’ll tell you what it’s important for artists to do; make a good fucking song. Everything else is on you what you want to do in your spare time. It’s not important for artists to go to Africa. It’s not important for artists to give back. It’s not important for artists to sign new artists. It’s like, if that’s something you’re into then you should do it. If you like it, then do it. If you’re really into clothes then maybe you should do something that takes in that influence. If you’re really into like helping people, then maybe you should help people. Whatever you’re into, you do. All this whole role model bullshit; you don’t have any extra responsibilities because you made some good songs! You’re only responsibility is to make good songs and there are so few people who can consistently make good songs for multiple albums and sometimes when maybe people are doing all this charitable stuff, why don’t you leave the charitable stuff to people who can’t make good songs and you focus on making a good song instead.

Who at the moment is consistent then?

Coldplay, U2, me, Jay-Z… It’s just that they are so few and far between. I mean, maybe the new Green Day album will be really good. I liked the first two Killers albums, so let’s listen to the new one and see if it’s really good. I’m sure there are people I’m not thinking of, but it’s certainly few and far between. People may have two great albums under their belt, or have the hottest album this year like MGMT. But can they keep it going?

So you keep abreast of new music?

I’m always listening and trying to promote new bands. I always have who I see as next to blow up as the opening act on tour. Like we got Rhianna at the perfect time. I mean, think about that Rhianna was the opening act on my tour last year and now she is arguably the biggest artist in the world.

Yeah, I was at the opening Seattle show of the Glow In the Dark tour.

Well she improved her set from there!

But the line up was spectacular; N.E.R.D., Rhianna, Lupe Fiasco… It was like a moving festival.

Yeah, we spent a lot of time like thinking ‘who are we going to bring out?’. And the thing is, Lupe is such a friend of ours and a friend of the family that you almost overlook using him. And we almost overlooked that he is one of the greatest rappers out there right now and has his own movement. So we were like ‘we gotta bring Lupe!’ (Laughs) And that tour was a sign of the times – all those artists together like that.

The UK dates have Santogold opening. How did you come to hear her?

I heard her at a Stella McCartney fashion show. And then I saw her perform later that evening and I was like ‘man, I love this girl’ and I got her number after that as I wanted to put her on something, but it didn’t work out. I still wanted to work with her anyway I could and now we’re touring with her.

Back to the new record, the ‘Love Lockdown’ video was directed by Simon Henwood. How did the two of you end up working together?

Well Simon actually designed the Glow In The Dark tour I did this time last year. The original run. He designed that run and so we became really good friends and we worked on different ideas and projects together, hanging out. We were always supposed to do a video and when it came to this I was like ‘Simon, lets do this’.

And how much input do you have into your videos?

I certainly had some input on ‘Love Lockdown’. With the new one for ‘Heartless’, Hype Williams did it and I was just like ‘direct me’. I put a lot of thought into the overall styling though. I like to find people who I can trust to just direct it well so I can use less of my brain sometimes. Because I think I use too much of my brain and need to let some of it rest.

You do seem to take a real hand in all aspects of your records – from the sound through to the cover art and the way it’s presented. Do you ever wish you could take a step back and let other people shoulder more of the workload?

Well there’s a lot to be said for picking the right people. I had a really good engineer on this record who was able to mix the album without me even being there. This is the first time that the entire mix of the album was done without me actually sitting there in front of the board. And you know what? The album sounds good. There were songs produced over the phone where I was changing drums, you know; ‘lets stop this here, mute that, put that snare there…’ There are times when I tell my management; you just figure it out. What’s your choice on this, what’s your opinion? I’ll trust you. It’s good to have people who taste and judgement you trust maybe even more than your own. That’s what I want to get to the point with my clothing, where the people I work with I can trust the opinions they will make on it.

What kind of people do you trust then? Someone like A-Trak seems to be someone you work closely with…

(Laughs) No – we have completely different opinions and tastes! He’s good to bring things from another perspective.

I wasn’t put on this earth to make money – I was put on this earth to make magic. I was put on this earth to make music and art.

And does he introduce you to new music?

Always, always – but the way I’m making music at the moment is way less thought out then previous. Now I just do stuff that I think is dope and I really just freestyle and upchuck the music and shit. This album came from playing basketball again. I used to play ball a lot at high school a lot and when you play ball you shoot and it’s just one idea. You have to make the decision, shoot then you’re off to the next thing. You can’t shoot, stop the ball in the air, switch it and change it and make it bounce different. A lot of times you do that with music, but on this album I got the ideas by free styling all the way through and do what I’m feeling right now blah, blah, blah and it would feel more natural and harder for anyone else to do. It’s just so natural and on such a higher skill level. A higher zone out level of musicality that is really just impossible to touch. I mean, the music I’m delivering on this new album when I hear it I’m like ‘man, I’m really happy I’m me because if I wasn’t I’d really be scared’. If I’m competitive and want to be the number one artist, I know Jay-Z, Beyonce… I don’t know how many people want that number one spot. But if you want that number one spot you need to listen to my album and try to beat it.

But surely that’s a healthy outlook?

Yeah! I mean, I think there should be competition in music. Lil Wayne, TI, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Justin… They all kick me in the ass and make me want to come out and beat them. And because of that the fans get better music.

Looking at your lyrics, do you write from personal experience? Are they intended to be taken as the first person? Other art forms (authors, directors etc.) don’t have this assumption made about them in the same way…

My songs are about me. Well, except sometimes I write songs that might be about things I’ve put people through but I still sing it in first person. So on this new album particularly there are experiences that I might be the one I’m singing about – flipping it to that person’s perspective.

And when producing, do you find it easier to produce for other people as opposed to yourself?

Yeah because at a certain point you let them make the decision that they are satisfied with how it sounds. For me it often takes a long time until I’m satisfied and I keep on pushing it until I think it’s really ready. I’m pretty good at coming up with stuff really quickly and tweaking a hit out of something, refining it down. When you work with other people they can often cut that off before you get chance. They’re like ‘hey, I like it like this’ and you’re like ‘that’s cool’. Sometimes things blow up that people just like as they are. But songs like ‘Stronger’, ‘Good Life’ and ‘Flashing Lights’ – all these hit records that I’ve had have been really tweaked by me. But you know, I don’t really produce now for anybody but my friends. I’m not now a quote unquote producer. People can’t get a track off me unless I really respect their music, we hang and we’re good friends. It’s really weird though because my production style is so different that there are no two Kanye West tracks which sound alike. Or two tracks I’ve done for Common or Jay-Z. But if you name any other producer they have a bunch of shit that sounds exactly alike. And if you’re just putting out stuff that sounds so alike you can make as many beats as you want. But if everything is literally a special painting, it’s a whole other issue. I mean, I’d be down to produce a person’s whole album rather than just do a beat for them. Instead of spending two days with you, I’ll spend two weeks with you. Give me something to be excited about. I don’t want to do one song for you that you may or may not use as a single.

How did you come to find the MIA sample on for ‘Swagga Like Us’?

MIA pointed it out to me… Made me look good (laughs).

And with so many people on a track like that (Kanye, TI, Lil Wanye, Jay Z) do you ever hit ego problems?

We’re just about to shoot a video for that actually – it should be fun. I think it all comes down to mutual respect for everyone that’s on that track. At this point everyone has paid their dues and held that number one spot at some time or another.

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with that you haven’t yet?

Santogold, MIA, Cool Kids, Feist, The Killers I’d like to do something with them…

When I spoke to Brandon from The Killers a month or so ago they said that you were the top of their list to collaborate with.

Ah man! That’s dope.

This marks your fourth album in five years. Do you think it’s down to you being prolific or other artists not having the drive to get things released?

Both things.

And are you still planning to release another album in 2009?

Well, I’m not going to put that pressure on myself. I’m just going to focus on making clothes now…

And is the clothing line still looking likely to appear?

Well every day is a struggle (laughs) I’m in the same position I was in with music before I got it together and finally managed to figure out what my style was. I used to have tracks that sounded like Timbaland and the next track would sound like DJ Premier… So when I’m doing designs I have one thing that looks like Venice and Ralph shit and the next thing is in the BAPE area. So it’s really about figuring out how to embody all of these things I like but have my own voice. I have that opportunity to put my name on something and people will buy it, but I want to create something that has its own voice and other designers can look at it and be inspired by. I wasn’t put on this earth to make money – I was put on this earth to make magic. I was put on this earth to make music and art.

What can people expect when they come to see you play live?

It’s just the best shit ever up to this point as we haven’t done the next show yet (laughs)

So the current show is always the best?

If you ask me a question like what is your greatest accomplishment, it should be what I’m about to do. And I’m about to perform tonight and people will be like ‘yo, that shit is crazy!’. I was opening up for Bono and he said to me that nobody from my community has ever figured this out – apart from Michael Jackson. Although I wouldn’t want to be in Michael Jackson’s shoes. He did something so great and has given so many gifts, yet people tear him apart any chance they get. He can’t do anything without people calling his by name and the paparazzi all over him. How do you wake up in the morning and deal with that? I really respect Michael Jackson for living through all of the different type of press and blah blah blah he gets. For me it’s definitely difficult as I’m a real person. I feel like when anyone says anything about me, I’m back at high school – so you say something and I’m gonna talk to you at lunchtime (laughs).

And would you work with Michael Jackson?

Yeah, I’ve talked to him a few times. I wouldn’t be opposed to working with him.

Is the time right for people to reappraise him? Make a comeback?

Anything can happen with incredible and relevant music.

And am I right in thinking you are working on a puppet show? Alligator Boots?

Yeah – we worked on it but are still working out what network will put it out. But we did a pilot. I don’t like when there’s a lot of press on something before it appears though. I like to hit people so they’re like ‘damn!’. You see the product and the press comes from it.

Was that the thinking behind the new album appearing pretty much out of the blue? To heighten the impact?

Yeah – with ‘Love Lockdown’ it just dropped. I’ll drop the video and then the next video. I think people are going to be surprised. People were surprised by ‘Love Lockdown’, but when people listen to the album they think they won’t get the same feeling as when they heard ‘Graduation’ or ‘Late Registration’. Especially hip-hop fans. But when they listen to it, they’ll be like ‘wow – this doesn’t feel too far off hip-hop or the songs that hip-hop was made from’. You know? At the end of the day, ninety percent of hip hop is based on a song that did not have rap on it.

And you have faith that people will see this shared genealogy?

Yeah. This shit is hard music. Every beat on that album 50 Cent would have took. Every beat on the album the Clipse would have took. Every beat is hardcore shit. And actually it’s talking about love, which is the hardest thing because love has no logic. So you’re talking about some shit that can make you go crazy like drugs (laughs). If someone was to make a whole song about being on drugs, I guess that’s like ‘Rehab’ a little bit, but say a whole album about being on drugs that’s what it is to make an album about being in love. ‘I was on drugs and I had no control of my emotions…’

Is it difficult to work on an album that is emotionally raw?

It’s difficult and therapeutic at the same time. You can work through stuff.

How do you find playing to UK crowds?

I can’t wait to perform tonight. My agent was talking about not doing this tour because ticket sales are down and all this shit. And I was like ‘dude, I’m gonna sell tickets – I’m Kanye, the most important artist in the game’ (laughs) I mean I fucking rock shows and people know what it is. And we sold out our shows. They say they don’t know whether to bring the tour to the UK because it won’t sell? We dropped two shows at the O2 and they sold out in hours and had to add an extra show. This is what we do. People should come to the show. In fact, you would be doing a disservice to not see this show if you have any appreciation for performance, music, spectacle, light, authenticity… Everything that goes in to making a quality show. This is the moment to see me. You might never see the likes of an artist at this point in his career again. You never know where I’ll be tomorrow, where I’ll be three years from now, five years from now… But right now this is the greatest show you could possibly see anywhere on Earth. I mean, you wanted to see Madonna right after Madonna dropped fucking ‘Live To Tell’ – that era. Can you imagine seeing Madonna in that era?! To be able to go and tell your kids twenty years from now that I saw Kanye in concert the year after ‘Stronger’ came out. I mean, ‘Stronger’ is going to be around forever. You can say that you saw me at that point. Because how many artists get to that pinnacle? As many artists you may like that have potential, they get one hit and are good… But to see a person at their height? And I unabashedly realise that I am at a high point. There is the possibility that there are other mountains to climb which allow me to get even higher than this, but I’m nowhere near U2’s status of performing to one hundred thousand people consistently. But I think that comes with time – they become finer with time. When we do ‘Through the Wire’ people dance and sing to it just as much as a brand new cut like ‘Love Lockdown’. Artists come out and say that their new album is better than the Beatles. You can’t say that! Those songs are thirty years old. That’s like when you have a best friend you’ve had all your life and some new guy comes along who’s super cool and you’re like ‘man, this is my new best friend’ – he is not going to be a better friend than someone you’ve known your entire life and these songs you have known you entire life. So I’m at this point where I have super hot songs but also songs that are like five years old that are in people’s lives. People have listened to Spaceships to get through their day. People have listened to ‘Rose’, ‘Hey Mama’, ‘Stronger’ to help them. I get people come up and tell me that ‘Stronger’ helped me. And that’s different to ‘it made me dance’. But it’s great that it makes people dance too.

You think that music can connect on different levels? It can sound good in the club but have the emotional richness to see you through hard times?

Yes. What’s so funny is that I was making these records whilst having little media problems. People thinking I was a monster because I should have won, shit like that. Shit that didn’t mean anything really but inspired these songs that meant everything. And then it really helped people when they were going through real situations. And then – wow, I’ve just gone through the hardest year of my life and I’m like performing these songs and they’re helping me.

I remember seeing you perform ‘Stronger’ in Las Vegas quite a while before its release and the crowd loved it. If something fell flat in a situation like that would you go back and reconsider the track?

Yeah, you’d maybe improve on the song. But I told people when I did ‘Stronger’ that it was my greatest beat to date. I could play just that beat and it got such a reaction out of people; even more than ‘Jesus Walks’ which was the best before that. Yet it’s even better now in hindsight! We’d be doing shows in Asia and shit and after the show I’d be like ‘man, I am really happy I have that song’. It embodies everything a Killers song, a U2 song, a N.E.R.D. song has. Everything you want in a song, it has. It’s got crowd participation, it has the build up, it has the longevity, it has the emotional chords, it has the message.

Where did the Daft Punk connection come from?

Oh that was A-Trak. He pointed that out. What’s great is that I really look up to Daft Punk. I mean that’s a group where I look at shit they’re doing and bow to them. I feel they’ve created music and visuals that surpasses what I’ve heard up to that point. It’s great to have groups like that which I can look up to. One day I can be on the level of sophistication that Daft Punk are. But that’s the way the French are, you know? They’re art, fashion and style is at the highest point on the globe. I completely believe in stereotypes! Like the best rap music is from America, mostly from the East Coast as that’s where hip-hop was born and that’s the best there is. The absolute best animators now are, to me, from Asia. You can think like Korea, Hong Kong, Japan – that’s a big thing to say as its billions of people, but that is where it is done. The best clothing and heart of fashion is obviously Paris. And it trickles down from there, so you’re not too far off when you get to London. And you’re not too too far off once you get to New York. And you’re not too too too far off when you hit Chicago and by the time you get to LA (laughs) it’s gone. Is that bogus? It’s funny though…

So what about Britain? What are we best at?

This is Britain right here? I thought this was Ireland?

No – Northern Island, which is part of Britain…

(laughs) Oh yeah, I knew that! Well I failed geography I’m proud to say. And who knew that I would actually need that skill? If I’d have thought I’d be travelling this much I might have studied! It could help me more in airports and shit. I can’t even find my gate (laughs). Erm… There has to be something more than drinking tea!

How about drinking lager?

What’s lager?


(laughs) Hell yeah man! Like I’m gonna say that Paris is known for fashion and you guys are known for beer! Shit – give me something positive to say… Oh, I got one thing! Stadium music is from UK. Stadium bands. You have people like Coldplay. There are no American stadium bands apart from me now.

How about The Killers?

Yeah. Well, we’ll have to give it time and see. But The Killers are my favourite group. But they’ll have to be consistent. Three or four great albums that have three or four great songs on each. I saw The Killers at the V Festival and that was amazing to me. Brandon from The Killers is one of the most stylish people, which I think is important. What happened to the Mick Jaggers, Michael Jacksons, Madonnas… People who are really fresh to death. I’m not going to name any names, but I feel like there are people who have the potential to do that and that alone holds them back. They look whack! (laughs) And that’s another reason I think Barack won too. Nobody wanted to look at McCain anymore! For the four years he’s going to be here and shit, people didn’t want to look at that dude. Looking good does take you a long way. I mean this is entertainment. Look at me, I just switched it from politics to entertainment – but politics can be entertaining to people though.

It is true and there’s a reason that we find certain people attractive or feel someone looks trustworthy. We’ve evolved that recognition.

Absolutely. If Barack had a missing tooth I guarantee he wouldn’t have done so well (laughs)

So what’s coming up next for Kanye?

I’m definitely having some clothes come out next year and some more singles from this album. I will be touring the next album by next summer though. You saw the show in Seattle right? Well what you’re about to see tonight is way better than that. It had a bunch of kinks in it… You got the jist of what was going on, but now it’s another league!

I saw you play at Global Gathering too.

Oh yeah, that’s where the press made up that lie about me ordering in Indian takeaways for my entourage… That was a super lie and actually the catering was nasty as shit (laughs). We didn’t have good food at all. It was super dirty in the back!

Would you play Glastonbury? Did you see the issues surrounding Jay-Z’s performance?

Yeah, I mean I appreciate the racism. I experienced racism in a way that I couldn’t overcome at Bonnaroo festival this year. I experienced it with my set being sabotaged and my time slot being moved; just everything about it. What was great about Jay-Z was that he overcame the racism and broke down more barriers and we’re fighting every day… When I saw that image of Barack on CNN stood with his whole family on stage, I felt like I was in some futuristic movie. I was like damn; first we have iPods and now we have Barack – we are really in the future!

The edited version of this interview can be found in Issue 33 of Clash magazine, out December 4th. Read more about the issue here

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