Everyone’s favorite outspoken rapper Kanye West has learned a lot of lessons over the span of his career.
Like for instance, he probably learned that it’s never a good idea for him to drink Henny straight from the bottle during a live awards show….or else it might inspire him to crash someone’s acceptance speech, or something like that.
But it’s all good now, because it’s a new day and now that he’s on the verge of releasing his new album, Kanye is talking about how he’s lived and learned over the past few years.
Kanye just did an interview for VanityFair.com and talked about Taylor Swift, his new iced out bottom (permanent) grill, his new album, how Jay-Z has helped him as his “big bro” and more. Check it out below:
VANITY FAIR: Looking back on last year’s MTV Awards, when you interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech—you said Beyoncé was robbed, and a lot of us agreed with you. How do you feel about it now?
KANYE WEST: Well, it was very punk rock and revolutionary and idealistic and very angry in a way. But the timing was in poor taste. And the other two things I’ve learned since then are humility and empathy—to be empathetic to other people’s feelings. To care about how much this must mean to someone else, and not to think that my ideals or my righteousness are more important than someone else’s feelings.
VF: You’ve protested during award shows before. Do you just take them too seriously?
KW: These things mean something; you’d like to have some historically accurate representation.
VF: What did you want to do with your new album?
KW: I wanted to take it back to the essence, like the soulful people who brought knowledge—like RZA and Q-Tip. At a certain point, you need to find a better way to do it; it’s like people [in basketball] who dunk and hurt their wrist and come down on their knees too hard. Your knee’s gonna give out at a certain point. Some of my social and public-persona knees are starting to give out. I still want to run the games. I’ve just got to not get kicked up quite as hard.
VF: You also have an entirely new, elegant look; you told me you thought that the traditional hip-hop look was tired.
KW: Yeah, people always dress like they’re headed to the gym.
VF: Why did you have permanent diamonds drilled into your bottom teeth?
KW: I just like diamond teeth and I didn’t feel like having to take them out all the time.
VF: What do you think Jay-Z has done for you?
KW: Man, everything—served as a big brother, the blueprint, our reality. Someone to look up to.
VF: What do you think you’ve done for him?
KW: Just served as a burst of energy at all times—light and energy. Just a person who’s constantly seeking information that Jay can use.
VF: You’ve had a tough time since the death of your mother, in 2007. Even though you’re always in recording studios, this past year you retreated from the spotlight. How are you these days?
KW: Extremely happy. And you know … people obviously know I lost my mother, and it was shocking. On one hand, I never really dealt with the loss, but in not dealing with the loss, I also didn’t completely deal with the responsibilities that my mother used to take. She was such an amazing, well-rounded person, and I was a spoiled brat.
VF: You were?
KW: Yeah, and my mom used to balance my spoiled-bratness by just being one of the most awesome people. She was a teacher, and to be a teacher you have to care about people—you can’t just care about yourself. I just cared about myself. I thought the fact that so many people in the world—a million in the first week [of a record release]—cared about me, that that was enough, but it’s not enough. The best thing I can do now is carry on my mother’s legacy. I need to recapture the hearts of the world just to show people how great my mother was, to show people that Donda raised a good guy. My responsibility is to make music that’s progressive, that makes me happy, that makes everyone happy. My job in society isn’t to be mad. My job is to present good music.