Jeff Bhasker: "I think a big part of [why Kanye's live shows sound so good] is because Kanye is such a great producer who has a sensibility of how to produce the music at a show and how it should sound. A lot of times, [during a rap show] the band doesn't sound right. Hip-hop is not played by a band. The Roots are one of the few people who can pull it off and still make it feel [like rap] but its' a very specific feel and it's very careful in design and how the instruments are used.
There's certain rules that we follow: No crash cymbals, no hi-hats.
"There's certain rules that we follow: No crash cymbals, no hi-hats. We add to the music and make it better through the live musicians, rather than change it or make a bastardized version of the music. We worked really hard on that and it started from him.
"He puts on a great show, visually, sound wise, and the set list. We worked really hard of crafting all those elements to be the best they can be. My role as music director and a collaborator was to help him realize his vision. [We perfected the show] through repetition and being uncompromising. We're not afraid to change something. A lot of times we don't have a lot of times to prepare. So you have to will yourself to do it no matter what the time is.
"That's the thing about Kanye, if we have five minutes and he wants to change something, there's no, 'We can't do it.' The time that you explained why you can't do it, you could have actually done something. So it's more the philosophy of, 'Go!' That's the key: Go, do it, don't waste time, and you never know what you might actually be able to accomplish if you stop worrying about how you can't do something. You should figure out how you can do something."