In case you were wondering, Kanye West has no regrets, just "complete awesomeness at all times." His beautiful interview with The New York Times and its "Visionaries" series of sit-downs popped up on the paper's site Tuesday evening ahead of this Sunday's Arts & Leisure section. West, of course, has a new album due out next week, hence the long interview treatment. It's worth a read, though we've pulled some of the highlights below.
On regret: As we said before, he has none of this. But does he have a conception of it? his answer:
But has that instinct led you astray? Like the Taylor Swift interruption at the MTV Video Music Awards, things like that.
It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.
So no regrets?
I don’t have one regret.
Do you believe in the concept of regret?
If anyone’s reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now.
And, while West HAS apologized in a manner for his famous interruption of Taylor Swift in 2009 at the VMAs, his answer here shouldn't be surprising. His very much regret-less 2010 VMA performance was arguably the heart of his response to the incident:
West kind of said as much in the Times interview, referring to the entire album it's from as his "long, backhanded apology" after the interruption damaged his reputation.
On race: West, in hurricane Katrina's aftermath infamously said that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," prompting a bizarre apology force from Matt Lauer, who made West watch a video of the president emoting about his remark on television:
While that incident wasn't directly addressed in the interview, West brought up institutional bias in a different context:
You’ve won a lot of Grammys.
“[My Beautiful] Dark [Twisted] Fantasy” and “Watch the Throne”: neither was nominated for Album of the Year, and I made both of those in one year. I don’t know if this is statistically right, but I’m assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven’t won one against a white person.
On being the Michael Jordan of music: "You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, 'This is wrong.'"
On having a good time: "Maybe 90 percent of the time it looks like I’m not having a good time."
On minimalism and the new album: "You know, this one Corbusier lamp was like, my greatest inspiration. I lived in Paris in this loft space and recorded in my living room, and it just had the worst acoustics possible, but also the songs had to be super simple, because if you turned up some complicated sound and a track with too much bass, it’s not going to work in that space...like I say, I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body."
That quote is already raising eyebrows:
Kanye, the minimalist, who hired twenty superstars to sing nearly indistinguishable hooks on "All Of The Lights."— Foster Kamer (@weareyourfek) June 12, 2013
On his baby: "Well, I just don’t want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby.
On getting dressed:
"You even see the way I dress now is so super straight.
Does it take you less time to get dressed now than it did five years ago?
You look at your outfits from five or seven years ago, and it’s like —
Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self."
On culture: "I am the nucleus."