I Read Kanye West's Latest Interview So You Don't Have To

Illustration for article titled I Read Kanye West's Latest Interview So You Don't Have To
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Lacroix (WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Early on April 15, folks flocked to social media to report that their promised stimulus checks made their way into their bank accounts. Others were attempting to grapple with the strange quaran-dreams that continue to occur during these uncertain times.


But me? I used my Wednesday morning to read Kanye West’s latest GQ cover story. A written Kanye interview is rare these days, yet over the last few months, Will Welch, GQ Style’s editor-in-chief, sat with West to chat four times between January and early March about fashion, architecture, religion and more.

I’d like to consider myself a recovering Kanye fan. I’ve adored his music since I was around 11 years old, but much like you, his comments, behavior and demeanor over the years have changed my favorable views. However, there’s still that place in my heart (way, way down deep) that holds onto that admiration I felt up until about the Yeezus era began.

Since The Root staff was not about to read this entire thing (Editor’s note: Absolutely not.) and since I clearly have no respect for my own wellbeing, I decided to read the entire thing so no one else had to. This is what happened.

9:11 a.m. ET: Kanye is asked by Welch how he’s been feeling when he first steps foot on his Wyoming ranch. “Not good...Because Kobe was one of my best friends,” he replies (the first interview was conducted on January 30, 2020, a few days after Kobe’s untimely passing).

9:12 a.m. ET: The ranch, formerly called Monster Lake Ranch in Cody, Wyo. is “home to colts and geldings, 160 cows, and approximately 700 sheep.”

Waymentttt…700 sheep? Is it because he thinks he’s Jesus? Is this a shepherd thing? Either way, my eyes rolled.


Also, Kanye has architects following him absolutely everywhere, from L.A. to Mexico and Paris, because they’re working on creating the best possible project for the ranch, now aptly called West Lake Ranch. The project has to do with creating “totally sustainable” dome-shaped homes, and he collaborated with the Axel Vervoordt gallery in order to deliver the concept.

9:15 a.m. ET: Kanye says that his psychiatric emergency in 2016 at the end of his Saint Pablo tour was a pivotal moment for him. He states that he has an alter ego, all because “Christ altered his ego” (insert Hotep laser eye meme here).


9:16 a.m. ET: The 700 sheep on the ranch are going to be raised in order to produce the wool for the Yeezy clothing line. I think my conclusion jump is a lot more fitting.

9:17 a.m. ET: West Lake Ranch is referred to by Kanye as a “Yeezy campus” and “a paradigm shift for humanity.” My eyes rolled, yet again.


9:18 a.m. ET: Kanye is talking more about these domes, and is in the developmental stages of creating single and multifamily dome dwellings. He hopes that people will come to stay inside them when he’s finished building West Lake Ranch. He also explains that the clothing showcased at his Yeezy Season 8 show in Paris earlier this year are “servicewear” garments intended to be worn by the eventual Yeezy campus staff—cooks, nannies, housekeepers, etc.” There go my eyes again...rolling.

9:22 a.m. ET: “I’m trying out a different cure than medication. Fresh air. Fun. Inspiration. Space.” Please keep trying, then.


9:28 a.m. ET: West hopes to have set designers, not contractors, build his dwellings. This could result in his domes becoming “the Zara of homes.” Okay…so, overpriced, hit-or-miss in the durability department, and something I can find much cheaper elsewhere? Gotcha.

9:30 a.m. ET: So now, they’ve split up the conversation as a four-part Q&A. This is where the good stuff is coming in. Fuck those domes, honestly.


9:32 a.m. ET: In the first of four Q&A’s, West is at his cabin on his Wyoming ranch. An assortment of quotes that are soon to be on Etsy mugs and pillowcases across the country make their way into the conversation. My favorite so far: “Colors are my fresh air. And every piece that I make, it’s not only something that I would wear—I would never make anything that you wouldn’t catch me in—they’re also art pieces. Everything I’ve ever done has been an art piece, because I’m an artist…Any action, any word, anything. Even this conversation right now.”

He also gives a taste of lyrics from his next album, which is billed as a follow-up to Jesus Is King. “I made it back from addiction, I beat the predictions, brought real to the fictions.” I like that, but I’m not expecting miracles.


9:36 a.m. ET: Another quote. “Well, you know, not everybody’s a pussycat! That would be the Christian way to say it.” Just thinking about how Kanye once said he’d “put the pussy in a sarcophagus.” Times sure have changed.

9:37 a.m. ET: We’re on the second Q&A interview now, which also took place January 30 in a private jet from Cody to L.A. I’m never finishing this feature.


9:39 a.m. ET: Kanye has developed the Mamba Mentality from what it seems, and says “[Kobe] was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’s facts! We got the commercials that prove it.” Eyes rolled.

9:40-9:44 a.m., ET: Trigger warning: coonery

“This is America. One in three African Americans are enslaved, and we go more crazy if, you know, someone scores a touchdown. Modern-day mass incarceration is right in front of us, and if I even use the word slavery, I’m treated like I’m a white person talking about slavery. I remember when I became a billionaire I was told not to say out loud that I was a billionaire. What is the point of being a billionaire if you can’t even say it out loud? We’re not completely free yet.”

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people” is a victim statement. This white person didn’t do something for us. That is stemmed in victim mentality. Every day I have to look in the mirror like I’m Robert De Niro and tell myself, “You are not a slave…” Black people are controlled by emotions through the media. The media puts musicians, artists, celebrities, actors in a position to be the face of the race, that really don’t have any power and really are just working for white people…So let me say this: I am the founder of a $4 billion organization, one of the most Google-searched brands on the planet, and I will not be told who I’m gonna vote on because of my color.”


Lastly, Kanye said he will definitely vote at the end of this year, and knows who he will be voting for because it won’t end his career and no one can stop him from voting for that person.

***I’m going to take a lap around the apartment. Stretch my legs, get a glass of water, and get my mind right.


9:45 a.m. ET: He’s talking about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy not having the same replay value as Jesus Is King because he can listen to the latter in the house with his family. “Selah” is his daughter Chicago’s favorite song.

9:47 a.m. ET: Interview number three also takes place on January 30, this time in a Lamborghini. I am tired, and I cannot believe this is all taking place on the same day. The car was taking Kanye to his friend Kid Cudi’s birthday party. Apparently, during the event, Kanye showed Shia LaBeouf a picture of new Yeezy kicks on his phone, and Stanley Yelnats got so excited about them that he ran outside.


9:48 a.m. ET: Kanye says he initially didn’t plan on rapping anymore because that was the work of the Devil, but now he’s delivert and plans on rapping for God only. He also acknowledged that he was a functioning alcoholic, which is news to me.

9:50 a.m. ET: The Sunday Service choir, in Kanye’s eyes, is the Wu-Tang Clan of choirs because they’re different. Okay. I enjoy them, but okay. *Kanye shrug*


9:52 a.m. ET: Interview four, cue Kanye’s “Champions.” This took place in March at the Hotel Ritz in Paris before the coronavirus pandemic started to really kick in.

Kanye is working on the follow-up to Jesus Is King, and my ears already started to bleed upon reading the news. There’s a song called “Washed in the Blood” that comes equipped “with hard drums and Yeezus-like industrial horror noises that consistently shotgun-fires a rapping, dancing, moshing West across the concrete patio like it’s an arena stage.”


I don’t think Jesus died for that.

9:55 a.m. ET: Probably the most Kanye-esque quote of the bunch: “I don’t exist in context. I exist in KAN-text.” My eyes did roll, but more like the old sitcom eye-roll that mostly comes with approval. “Oh, that Kanye!” My heart still has that soft spot, you know.


The rest is about fashion, soil, seeds, and it doesn’t really matter. I scroll down and see that the interview is finally over. This was quite the experience, and I’m glad I could help someone today avoid giving themselves a headache. (Editor’s note: Thanks for taking the L, J’na. Now, go take a nap.)

Stay safe, wash your hands, and blast Late Registration whenever you can today.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."



Thank you for your sacrifice.

Also, how is J’na pronounced? I read it as similar to “Gina” at first, but now I’m wondering if it rhymes with “way”? 

Um, because we live in the worst possible timeline, I feel the need to specify: I’m not being sarcastic or making fun of your name. I’ve just never seen it before and love learning about unique names.