10 Things We Learned From Kanye West’s ‘New York Times’ Interview

Jon Caramanica, The New York Times‘ resident Kanye whisperer, caught up with the man himself once again during his Ye rollout in Wyoming earlier this month. In the pair’s latest interview, Mr. West discusses the making of his new album, his continued support for Trump, his controversial comments about slavery on TMZ, his relationship with the newly-appointed Louis Vuitton don Virgil Abloh, and the state of his mental health, which at one point was so low he seriously thought about killing himself.

“Oh yeah, I’ve thought about killing myself all the time. It’s always a option and [expletive]. Like Louis C.K. said: I flip through the manual. I weigh all the options,” he says. “I’m just having this epiphany now, ’cause I didn’t do it, but I did think it all the way through. But if I didn’t think it all the way through, then it’s actually maybe more of a chance of it happening.”

Here are 10 more things we learned from Kanye’s latest New York Times profile. Read the full story here.

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+ Early last year, Kim called Tony Robbins to help Kanye regain his confidence

“He could look at me and you know, I don’t know why he mentioned suicide, but he could tell that I was very low,” Kanye recalled in early June over breakfast at the rustic modernist home here that he’s been renting and making music in. “Really medicated, shoulders slumped down, and my confidence was gone, which is a lot of the root of my superpower, because if you truly have self-confidence, no one can say anything to you.”

And so Mr. Robbins looked Kanye in the eyes and started issuing instructions. Made him stand up, get into a warrior pose and scream.

“I was so self-conscious about the nanny and the housekeeper that I didn’t want them to hear me screaming in the living room,” Kanye said. “I think that that’s such a metaphor of something for the existence of so-called well-off people that they’re not really well-off — they won’t even scream in their own house.”

+ Ye was written entirely in the week before its release

Perhaps it is not surprising to learn that eight days before its release, Kanye said, he’d had none of the lyrics of “Ye” written. And he still went to see “Deadpool 2.” Twice.

+ Drake did indeed write the hook for “Yikes,” as well as a verse that didn’t make the album

Yes, Drake had written on “The Life of Pablo,” which was not a secret. And as it happens, he wrote for Kanye on “Ye” as well — the hook for “Yikes” is his. (He also wrote a whole first verse, Kanye said, though it didn’t make the final album.)

+ Kanye’s most valued songwriter is CyHi The Prynce. He even tracked down Cardi B’s “Drip” co-writer Pardison Fontaine after hearing a line he liked

Since leaving the hospital, Kanye had been compiling notes about his experiences and feelings. For “Ye,” he turned them over to various writers, so that they might help put structure to the thoughts.

Many are people he’s worked with for years and trusts implicitly. CyHi the Prince is, he said, the best at finding those shapes. The line on “All Mine” about Stormy Daniels, that came from Consequence. “Sometimes I take all the shine/talk like I drank all the wine,” on “Ghost Town,” was contributed by Malik Yusef.

After hearing Cardi B rap “I gotta stay out of Gucci/I’m finna run out of hangers” on her song “Drip,” Kanye tracked down her co-writer, Pardison Fontaine, and brought him to Wyoming: “I was just like, that’s something that I would have thought of and would like to say.”

+ Even Kanye’s father tried to talk him out of supporting Trump

When his father came to visit Wyoming for a few days, Kanye said, “He expressed that he felt that some of the policies were hurtful and that I’m a person that does not intend to hurt people, never hurts people with intention.” He added, “I expressed the example that I have a cousin that’s locked up for doing something bad, and I still love him, so I don’t base my love for a person on if they doing something good or bad.”

+ Kanye doesn’t agree with all of Trump’s policies, though. In fact, he prefers not to be politically informed

Having a political opinion that’s overly informed, it’s like knowing how to dress, as opposed to being a child — “I like this.” I hear Trump talk and I’m like, I like the way it sounds, knowing that there’s people who like me that don’t like the way it sounds.

+ Kanye isn’t apologetic for his slavery comments on TMZ

To Kanye’s mind, what happened on TMZ was a failure of language, not ideas. “I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds — sounds — like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself — like being shackled in chains — was a choice,” he said. “That’s why I went from slave to 400 years to mental prison to this and that. If you look at the clip you see the way my mind works.”

What I would say is actually it’s literally like I feel like I’m in court having to justify a robbery that I didn’t actually commit, where I’m having to somehow reframe something that I never said. I feel stupid to have to say out loud that I know that being put on the boat was — but also I’m not backing down, bro. What I will do is I’ll take responsibility for the fact that I allowed my voice to be used back to back in ways that were not protective of it when my voice means too much.

+ Kanye was legitimately worried that Kim might leave him after the TMZ debacle

“There was a moment where I felt like after TMZ, maybe a week after that, I felt like the energy levels were low, and I called different family members and was asking, you know, ‘Was Kim thinking about leaving me after TMZ?’” he said. “So that was a real conversation.”

+ Kanye doesn’t believe that black fans will abandon him, despite all the controversy

By me saying slave in any way at TMZ left my voice unprotected. So it’s not a matter of the facts of if I said that exact line or not, it’s the fact that I put myself in a position to be unprotected by my tribe.

Like I said, wouldn’t leave. Like yes, got a bunch of different opinions. You’re not always going to agree, but they’re not going to leave.

+ Kanye is back on good terms with Virgil Abloh

While selecting items, he got a call from Virgil Abloh, who was recently named the artistic director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton. Mr. Abloh was Kanye’s mentee for years, the chosen son who broke free to make his own way. They spoke about the clothes Kanye was finding, about Drake, about the colors of the “Ye” album cover. Mr. Abloh complimented Kanye’s facility with earth tones — visual and aural — and gave Kanye his assessment of the album.

Kanye pressed Mr. Abloh for more: “I’m not canceled out the culture? People are listening to it?”

“You see me and Virgil’s relationship,” he said in the S.U.V. on the ride back from the secondhand store. “I don’t know what might have been in your mind, but there might have been some place where you wonder if those dudes still talk like that. And you saw, we do.”

Related: New Video: Kanye West “Violent Crimes” + “All Mine” (Lyric Video)


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