Whether you agree with him or not, Kanye West wholeheartedly believes in changing the world with his creativity and perspective on life. As a father, artist, and now fashion designer, he’s the perfect subject for Surface Magazine’s The Art Issue, which the cover was shot by photographer Albert Watson. The 30-minute video interview, conducted by Editor-In-Chief Spencer Bailey, also premiered in accompaniment with Yeezy's cover story tonight.
West is candid throughout the interview, speaking on the importance of design and art, being a visionary, working on multiple art projects, and more. “What’s more important, design or art itself? In design is the ability to put structure to art. And art is the ability to break from structure,” he says.
'Ye even touches on creatives who are able to surpass the corporate ladder and be in influential positions to brainstorm ideas for a progressive world. “There’s a lack of people in power that are motivated by the idea of helping people. But, thanks to the internet, people who would have never have made it through a corporate system, they were able to jump to positions of power in their 20s that work on ideas for the new world.”
Kanye also spoke about his mission to further children's education. "People across the world just lack opportunities, period. I feel a responsibility because of my parents. They’re activists and were in the world-changing business," he said. "Any extra goodwill or good skills I’ve gained I learned from them, and take along on my Legend of Zelda role-playing path in life." He also compared life to an RPG (role-playing game), saying, "When you roll the dice, you’ve got three guys with you, and then you meet someone else, and then another person gives you information."
Despite having said that he is no longer "listening to the kids" at his Saint Pablo show in San Jose, he shouted out all those young creatives out there trying to make it. "Those are the people who can make the change. And will," he said. "It’s not can; it’s will. You have to will things into fruition. I think that in our time, our civilization, we can get to a place where… [Pauses] When you say way overly optimistic things, they just get attacked.
While Kanye managed to smile more than once during the interview, there was a little hiccup towards the halfway mark, where the rapper got a little heated about a question posed at him. After he was asked about viewing himself as an artist, Kanye interrupted, saying "I didn’t mention that I view myself that way. I just am. I never worded it like that. That’s really offensive. Why did you say I view myself like that? Do you not view me as an artist?"
After Bailey stated that he did in fact think he was an artist, Kanye replied, "Okay, cool." But the "Famous" rapper appeared to get a little irritated yet again, when Bailey mentioned his past tweet in which Kanye wrote, "The definition of art—or at least my personal definition—is to be able to see the truth and then express it," Kanye chimed in: "That’s the answer I wanted. Thank you. Lead the witness a little bit. If I’ve already answered a question, we’re just digressing." After that minor setback, the two carried on with the conversation about Ye's creative process.
Kanye's thoughtful interview comes shortly after his questionable rants during his Saint Pablo concerts, in which is both endorsed Trump and total people, especially black people, to stop talking about racism so much. You can watch the full interview and read the story here.