AllHipHop.com: Can you give me a peek into the Late Registration?
Kanye West: It will be co-produced by Jon Brion that did Magnolia, Enternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, and Fiona Apple. He plays every instrument.
AllHipHop.com: What made you do that?
Kanye West: That is what I do, have you heard the level of genius that Jon Brion is? If you reference that, you will understand. That was me attempting to make something on the [highest] production level. I could only work up to what I knew. Now I know where it really comes from like the people that orchestrate the s**t. So instead of sampling movies, I am going to the people that make the movies that you sample.
AllHipHop.com: So no more speeded up samples?
Kanye West: The whole album is full of sped up samples just mixing it together.
AllHipHop.com: I went to a seminar on Public Enemy, and your College Dropout album was mentioned as an album what was actually good from beginning to end, not a bunch of singles sewn together.
Kanye West: Even though it is a bunch of singles. [Laughs] The songs make sense though. Well, my songs [from Late Registration ] are a part of an album set. I picture these songs like scenes in a movie. Now, how do I make this scene over here talk about some relationship and make it relate to this song that’s talking about the roles in community and society? I’ll quote you some lines off the album: “Before you ask me to go get a job today, can I at least get a raise on the minimum wage? And I know the government administered AIDS/ So, I guess we just pray like the minister say/ Alu Akbar and throw ‘em some hot cars/ The things we seen on the screen are now ours/ These n***as from the ‘hood so these n***as got far/ Where I’m from the dope boys is the Rock stars/ But they can’t cop cars without seeing cop cars/ I guess they want us all behind bars – I know it.”
Now, how do I make that relate to something else? How do I make things from this movie and make it something else? I can make a good song, a good single, but I have to think about my movement. When Jay-Z first came out, he just rapped about who he was and where he been though. It came out and it was praised, but there were a small amount of people that criticized that the lyrics were not deep enough. Every 16 or so bars he’ll throw something out there that’s defending himself. I find myself doing that on this album. I refuse to put out an album that’s a bunch of hot raps that are defending myself. They attack us as rappers and they force us to defend ourselves. How can I do [a true album] when I wake up and hear I am posing in Playgirl? I’m hearing that I’m too arrogant. I’m hearing that I didn’t write s**t that I did. What else can you write about?
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people reacted that way to Jay’s Black Album. They said he was too reactive about who is the greatest. We know he’s the best and he really doesn’t have to tell us.
Kanye West: The thing is, what fuels your mind? A rapper like me or Jay, it comes straight from the heart of straight from the head. It’s what’s on your mind [at the time]. For him, it was people trying to attack his legacy. That was his last time out. Meanwhile, he’s doing these really great songs and he has to say something that defends the legacy. If he doesn’t say it, who will? Whose voice is more powerful than Jay’s?
Kanye West: And whatever you use, don’t try to make the caption or headline say “Kanye Says He Doesn’t Want To Defend Himself Like Jay.” That’s exactly how a paper would do. Put everything I’m saying right here. I want to put the “in-between” quotes in there. A lot of times, when people see me doing interviews, I say “Don’t try to quote me like this,” because I know what they are up to. I’m not saying that’s what AllHipHop.com is about, but I want [the people] to know how these magazines will take your words and and try to make it something more. Especially Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone gave me 3 ½ stars. They are totally un-credible unless they change that score. And I refuse to be involved with a magazine that has no credibility in order to sell some records. That’s not what I’m here for. I appreciate the record sales, but I feel if you make something that’s good, for the people and make them feel better, they will support. I can’t say that I am going to sell more or less with [Late Registration]. I can speculate, but it’s all up to God and the fans. Maybe I rubbed people the wrong way this time and [the sales] might be completely different. I’ve heard people say that Kanye’s well is gonna dry up. Well, until then, I’m gonna be celebrating and poppin’ champagne.
AllHipHop.com: You don’t feel like there’s gonna be some industry backlash? You know how the industry can be…they can hate with the best of them.
Kanye West: [Mimicking industry person] “We’re gonna diss it!” They’re waiting for me to come out with something that’s so wack or so subpar or just a little less good as what it should. And they are going to attack and they are going to try to bring me down and they are going to put me in a mind state where it’s hard for me to rap about what I really need to be rapping about. And I’ll just be rapping about them attacking me. That’s their job. Their job is not to enjoy the music or be happy that somebody is making good music. Their job is to attack. Where is the article that attacked Marvin Gaye? Where are those? If I was to die today, my face would be on murals across the world. If I was to live and fall off, people would say I’m wack and they would forget about me.
AllHipHop.com: That’s how I always felt about Eazy-E. Not that he wack, but that he was so revolutionary in music, but he died at a down period in his life.
Kanye West: I think that Jay-Z has done the best job of maintaining a legacy and living at the same time. With rappers, it’s all about dying at the top. The people that maintain the legacy the best are Snoop. Snoop’s one of the realest n***s ever. Jay-Z is one of the realest, Snoop. Dre, at the end of the day, look at all the things he been through. I can only use him as an example. Just like people look to The Bible, I look to him as a mentor. And any stress that I am going through, name calling, rumors, I would use him as an example of strength. When you are a celebrity, we sacrifice out anonymity. We give our lives to you. It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’m having. I could be at the airport and somebody comes up and ask me, “How are you feeling?” What am I going to tell them? “Oh, I just got into a fight with my girl and I don’t feel like talking?” Or do I say, “I’m feeling good. Would you like an autograph?” I would use AllHipHop.com, because I respect your opinions and I respect the opinions of people when they diss s**t. I like to let this all [vent] out so I can rap about what I need to be rappin’ about.
AllHipHop.com: Stay focused.
Kanye West: I’m a human being and I won’t let them box me in. I’m one of the few rappers privileged enough to rap about whatever he wants to rap about. Even though I’ll do a song like “Jesus Walks,” I will wild out.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people are losing their faith in Hip-Hop and with Common’s BE we have something to hold on to.
Kanye West: The thing is, everything needs change. I think everything what me and Common do, everything that John Legend does, everybody that’s a part of [my label] G.O.O.D. Music, we innovate along with giving you things that give you that nostalgic feeling. We have a good time making the music and Getting Out Our Dreams [G.O.O.D.], people can get on their computers and write anything they like, but for the most part, sit back and f**kin’ enjoy it. You can’t beat it, you might as well enjoy it. Anything that’s hot, I’m associated with it.
AllHipHop.com: Right, right.
Kanye West: Just enjoy the music like I’m enjoying it. Anybody that’s mad like “I don’t think Kanye shoulda got a Grammy,” be happy. I got live [at the Grammy’s]. They gave me the floor.
AllHipHop.com: So your G.O.O.D. Music has a good family vibe going on, but what’s your take on rap beefs? I never see you beefing with any rappers.
Kanye West: I don’t do beef. I’m not real good at it. I’m not really good at shooting and stuff. I have really bad aim. [Laughs] I’ll hit the wrong person and go to jail. I’m not good at those types of raps or anything. At the end of the day, it’s all entertaining. If we ain’t do what we did, what are you gonna talk about when you getting your hair cut? What Sharon Stone wore to the Grammys?
AllHipHop.com: True…but bullets are flying. It’s a lil’ past entertainment when guns start blowing.
Kanye West: I think anything where there is actual violence is really sad. All I can do it pray for the best and pray for the safety of every one. But, its people that just wanted to go to school and the Army would pay for them to go to school and the second they finish school they can’t even live their lives because they have to go over and kill people. That’s where its bullets flying. It’s a lot of fates worse than death. Death only affects people that are still here if you truly believe in God. If you’re going to heaven, it’s a better place. Life is hard.