Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky” tour is yanking the heavens to terrestrial venues across the nation and a tremendous effort has gone into the performance. The self-proclaimed "international a**hole" takes a moment to talk tours, censors, clothing and acting.
AllHipHop.com: Speak on the “Touch The Sky” tour.
Kanye West:We are doing a lot of groundbreaking things visually. I have a seven piece string orchestra plus A-Trak, the world champion DJ. I have Omar Edwards on the keys and Karriem Riggins on percussion.
AllHipHop.com: How important is it for you to have a great show? A lot of people associate Hip-Hop with a guy walking back and forth across the stage and having a huge entourage.
Kanye West: Don’t take my word for it you really have to experience it. The way we’ve added a lot of theatrics to it. And there’s a lot of incredible writing to it. And there are different things in the way that I set up the band. I’ve put then in these boxes that, I don’t want to explain exactly how we did it. But they can either be lit up like a certain color. We can project certain imagery on it or you can see though it.
AllHipHop.com: Now what do you mean when you say theatrics.
Kanye West: Like theater-like stuff. It feels very much like theater though out the whole thing. There’s not just a spotlight but there’s a whole bunch of bright lights. Sometimes we bring them way down for like a song like "Roses" and we’ll bring them way up for a song like "Touch the Sky." You haven’t seen the show have you?
AllHipHop.com: No, I’ve seen you on Saturday Night Live which obviously doesn’t equate to that. But I got a glimpse of it I guess you could say.
Kanye West: No not at all. No. I need you to go see this in order for you to do a complete article about the show. It’s like when people interview you about your album before they’ve even heard it. So just like how your saying it’s important for me to have a good show. That’s how import it is. I’m like, “Yo, I need you to see this.”
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, I need to see this.
“Y’all have entered the “Touch the Sky,” Kanye bellows to a thoroughly diverse crowd in New York City. High amongst the clouds with the Chi-Town native, the fans are old, young, Black, White, square and thug alike. The show careens through an assortment of themes from humorous “Broke Phi Broke” fraternity skits to an impromptu church service to melded music by The Eurhythmics and Prince. And, the show is indeed theater for the Hip-Hop community, as Kanye proclaims. The set changes constantly, depending on the song, and Kanye evokes a mood that stretches beyond mere music. Images of roses, family and quotes from haters decorate the set and the dazzling lights often focus on the crowd than Kanye West, the centerpiece. It’s nothing shy of an experience.
AllHipHop.com: What about other people, will we see John Legend or some of the other people?
Kanye West: Well you know John Legend is doing his own tour. I’m still disappointed about that.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah I remember when I spoke to you a while ago you where trying to do a joint G.O.O.D. Music tour.
Kanye West: Yeah, I’m disappointed about that. It gives me more of an opportunity to perform more songs. We have Consequence, GLC and Really Doe out here.
AllHipHop.com: What made you pick Fantasia and Keyshia Cole to join you on tour?
Kanye West: Keyshia has always been like in our family anyway. She’s the closest thing to hip-hop that you get in R&B. And Fantasia I saw her performing at this one awards show, I’m not going to name it cause I don’t to give them any pub. But I was floored. I just thought she was a dope ass performer and I wanted more people to see her.
AllHipHop.com: Now, there’s rumors, you might not want to address this, that they are bickering behind the scenes. Any truth to that?
Kanye West: I don’t even address stuff like that. Come one homey – we major!
AllHipHop.com: The political nature of the album is deep too. Do you find it difficult to mix politics with theatrical entertainment? I mean everyone is very apathetic these days…
Kanye West: No. I don’t touch on political stuff I think it’s more like social. I’m not political at all. I’m not political – I’m politically incorrect.
AllHipHop.com: So you have had some protests and you’ve canceled a show or two? Some folks said you wanted a closed arena or something due to safety concerns.
Kanye West: I never canceled any show – ever. I’ll just take my chances. God has me here for a reason. Think about it if anything happened to me now it would be such an uproar.
AllHipHop.com: I found it really strong that you got on NBC with “Saturday Night Live” and did the lyrics talking about man-made AIDS and Ronald Reagan. I was like “How did he get by censors with those lyrics?” I don’t think you’ve really been checked so to speak, do you feel that?
Kanye West: Well they bleeped "White man get paid off of all that" on “All Falls Down” on the MTV version of the video. So how do you bleep that out on MTV but don’t bleep it on BET? White people don’t watch BET? Is that what they are trying to say? So that was like obviously like racist. I’ll just throw out my random opinion about anything. I really feel I’m as close as you can [be] to a non-biased, non-racist person. But I always touch on those types of issues and I always think stuff is funny. And it shows like on "Gold Digger,” [because at the concerts] I say, "White people this is the only time you can say n***a so take advantage of it." And everybody’s like laughing at that. But I’ve said this many a time that I feel like I’m the Hip-Hop Dave Chappelle. We both touch on really shocking issues. We laugh to keep from crying. I have a treatment for "Gold Digger" that I’m not gonna tell y’all but I still might do it. But it’s a treatment for" Gold Digger" that’s so over the top that the label wouldn’t let me do it.
AllHipHop.com: So you can’t really reveal that though.
Kanye West: But I may eventually do it though, because I don’t do a video just for marketing purposes. I do them as pieces of art. So just how artist can go back and say that something is their muse someone is their muse and go paint them four times. Like we’re about to do another video for “Space Ships.” We’ll go back and do it again cause it’s for the art. It’s my hobby.
AllHipHop.com: It’s interesting that you mention that cause on of my favorite videos is “Two Words” with Mos and Freeway. And the way that was shot with the graininess almost like a hand held camera – I loved it. I don’t know how to put it into words, but I appreciated the video.
Kanye West: That opening shot in the beginning with the building that said “Two Words” then breakdowns that shows it going from black and white to color. It just fit the mood of the song. Like that the type [of video] that "Crack Music" should be in. Did you like the third “Jesus Walks?”
AllHipHop.com: I’ve seen them all online I think, but I don’t watch that much TV.
Kanye West: Like the video it was some thing that we released, but it was a defect. So they had to recall the videos. But the third “Jesus Walks” is the video where I was walking with Jesus in the hood. It was all black and white.
AllHipHop.com: Is that the one that was banned or something?
Kanye West: That crazy right? But all that s**t makes it doper. If we’re getting bleeped and banned and censored and all that, then we are doing the right thing.
AllHipHop.com: Now last you interviewed with AHH, you where kind of unhappy and you kept calling yourself wack you were like "I’m wack, I’m wack, I’m wack."
Kanye West: But I was being sarcastic…
AllHipHop.com: Yeah I know, but do you feel that those people that considered you “wack” see you differently now?
Kanye West: Yeah, we run this. We amongst the elite. We just did this [concert-themed] show for MTV and this separates …It’s just one of those things that I’m so happy to be apart of. The stuff that we are doing is so good that I would have been happy to play any role in it. I would have been the DJ for me. I would have been one of the string players for me.
AllHipHop.com: In "Gone,” you had mention that "I flip sides like Anakin." What did you mean in terms of Hip-Hop? Was there any bigger meaning then that or was it just something clever?
Kanye West: No…but what do you take it as and I’ll see if you’ve got it.
AllHipHop.com: I’m not sure you’ve moved over to the dark side? I’m not sure honestly.
Kanye West: Sometimes I like to not slang my lyrics out. Cause sometimes it means something more special to somebody then what I’ve even thought of. With that one what I was saying was that if the fans decided that they didn’t like you anymore. "But if they ever flip sides like Anakin," you not packing them in like you use to. "You’ll sell everything including the mannequin." Like you can say I won’t sell out, I won’t sell out, I won’t sell out.
When can we get your fashion line?
Kanye West: We’re in talks with different people, but I want to connect with someone that can really bring it to light. Trying to bring a designer on. We’ve talked with a bunch of different people but the people that are really good are focused on their own stuff. And the people that aren’t that good, don’t meet up to my standards. I won’t do anything just to do it, just to make money. I feel like you make a product out of yourself. And I want everything to be a certain caliber. If I was doing something just to make money, I wouldn’t spend so much money on my videos. It’s always art first. And I have such a respect for designers and I wouldn’t want to disrespect them and come out with some random cheap line. I would want people in the design world to look at me and be like "that’s dope how did you think of that."
AllHipHop.com: Clothing wise, right now you’re the Louie Vuitton Don, will it be more or less on that note? Or will it be some new creation in your mind that we have yet to see?
Kanye West: Yeah, I have new ideas.
AllHipHop.com: Are you gonna act?
Kanye West: In fact, I have some acting roles on the table right now I’m just considering them. It’s just about supplying my time. I’d be more geared to directing then acting.
Kanye West: I just love directing. I like giving directions more then taking them.