Kanye West gave himself one hell of an introduction at his album listening party in New York City yesterday.
Among 200 people — including Jay-Z, Beyonce, Busta Rhymes and Timbaland — the 36-year-old rapper revealed his new strategy and profound thought process behind the name of his sixth studio, “Yeezus.”
“I want to explain something about the album title. Simply put, ‘West’ was my slave name and ‘Yeezus’ is my god name,” he said. “We just wanted to make the best product possible and this is just the beginning of an entirely new mentality about how to make music. I got a new strategy: it’s called no strategy. And I got a way to sell more music: it’s called make better music.”
The 36-year-old went on to discuss the relationship between rap and the art world, and how YouTube fails to meet his expectations.
“[I hate YouTube because] the player is so ugly, and it’s presented in such a terrible manner. I want everything I do to be presented in an art context, as this is a form of sonic art,” he said. “I was an artist originally, I have been in art school since I was five-years-old.”
He also touched on the paparazzi asking him “dumbass sh*t all the time” and how he’s “a very commercial celebrity boyfriend.”
Check out a selection from the speech below:
“[I hate YouTube because] the player is so ugly, and it’s presented in such a terrible manner. I want everything I do to be presented in an art context, as this is a form of sonic art. I was an artist originally, I have been in art school since I was 5 years old. I got scholarships to three art schools, Art Institute of Chicago, Saint Xavier, and the American Academy of Art, where I ended up going—and I dropped out because I had an assignment where I was supposed to do an ink painting or something, and I would take two weeks to do it, and when I looked at my work, I just felt that I would never be one of the great visual artists of the world. I just felt like I would end up like—and this is no knock to anybody that does this—but I felt like I would end up working at an ad agency or something like that. I wanted to make something of impact. I found that when I would drop samples, my friends would react to it more. I felt that I had a real talent in chopping and appropriating music.
“What I want people to understand about sampling and producing is that it’s really similar to—and I know this is obvious what I’m going to say, because I’m a Black guy so I’m gonna name the ‘most obvious artist in the world’—Warhol, but it’s very similar to the way Warhol would appropriate a Campbell’s Soup can is the way I would sonically appropriate a Ray Charles sample or a Michael Jackson sample.
“Right now it’s a fight against the separation and constant dumbing down of culture, and I’m standing in the middle of it. So if you know what people say are my lowest moments, those moments where I sat and saw them try to dumb down culture, and I would not allow it to happen on my clock. [Applause]
“So when I used to go to fashion shows with my boys and we’d be eight deep, it was almost like a civil rights, like a sit-in. They wouldn’t even let us in. They had no idea what rap would mean to this world, what rap would mean to the art world. Before the Kendrick Lamars and the A$AP Rockys, it was Kanye West in a hotel room at the Le Maurice getting a ‘no, no, no, no’ to every single fashion show.
“But I thought it was so important to get close to the artists who worked so hard on making a usable form of art—like this furniture right here, like everything that is in all these rooms that inspire us so much—and I fight in my position of being a very commercial celebrity boyfriend, I fight to push culture forward every chance I get. And I only frown because paparazzi ask me dumbass shit all the time, and I think about changing the world, and I think about what I can do to make things better. And, without further ado, I want to play you guys my new album. It’s called Yeezus.”
The project is scheduled to hit stores on June 18, and according to reports it’s expected to sale over 500,000 copies in its first week.
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