It’s not often that Kanye West makes himself available to journalists these days — which is a shame, not only because he’s an amazing artist currently at the top of his game, but also because in interviews he says fun stuff like “I am the nucleus.”
Fortunately, Interview Magazine recently paired West with 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, who got the rapper to talk extensively about a broad range of subjects. Their Q&A clocks in at approximately a billion words, but it’s (mostly) all very interesting stuff about both West and McQueen. For instance, here’s West and McQueen on being shut out of the Best Album category at this year’s Grammys:
WEST: [I] think that when I compare myself to Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, or whoever, it’s because I’m trying to give people a little bit of context to the possibilities that are in front of me, as opposed to putting me in the rap category that the Grammys has put me in. In no way do I want to be the next any one of them. But I am the first me. So I only mention those other names to try to give people a little bit of context.
MCQUEEN: It actually stunned me to find out that you’ve never won Best Album at the Grammys. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s kind of odd, considering what you’ve done in music over the last decade.
WEST: I wasn’t even nominated for Best Album this year. This year, I only got two nominations by the Grammys: for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song.
MCQUEEN: Well, that’s my problem with all this stuff. It’s ghettoization—and I’m talking about country as much as rap. It’s all just music. And I’ve got a problem with people kind of trying to categorize it, where it’s either good or it’s bad. I find it all odd, to be honest. Have you ever been nominated for Best Album?
WEST: I’ve been nominated for Best Album maybe three times. I made Dark Fantasy and Watch the Throne less than a year apart and neither of them got nominated. “Ni**as in Paris” [off Watch the Throne] wasn’t nominated for Best Song either. But let’s go into the fact that I have the most Grammys of any 36-year-old or 40-year-old or whatever, and I’ve never won a Grammy outside of the Rap or R&B categories. “Jesus Walks” lost Best Song to some other song; “Ni**as in Paris” wasn’t nominated in that category. But those are the labels that people want to put on you. People see you in a certain way, so if I was doing a clothing line that had rock tees in it or whatever we just did for the “Yeezus” tour, which sells $400,000 of stuff in two days … You know, I like [the 2011 Michael Fassbender drama] Shame as much as 12 Years a Slave, but Hollywood likes the idea of a black director directing 12 Years a Slave more than it likes the idea of a black director directing Shame.
And that’s just (a slightly edited) taste of the whole piece. Head over to Interview to read the full thing.