After more than a year of living privately, Kanye West has returned to shower us with all his wisdom by way of an interview with renowned interior designer Axel Vervoordt for The Hollywood Reporter. While it is technically Vervoordt who is the interview subject, it is West, in the role of interviewer, who ends up revealing more about his current state of mind.
In the feature, Yeezus reveals that he has some very complicated thoughts about everything from the irrelevance of influencers to the fact that his creative collaborator Virgil Abloh was just named the head of menswear at Louis Vuitton. And that is just a taste of the teachings that West has waiting for us. While he doesn't mention anything about any new music (even though he's reportedly been in Wyoming working on something), he does say that he's working on a new philosophy book called Break the Simulation.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Here, some highlights from the interview.
He is both anti-influencers and anti–biased media:
"I do think that there's not a balance in the news. Like you said, we don't want to be influenced, just informed. That's a big term that people use right now: influencers. I don't want anyone to influence."
On how capturing a sense of "timelessness" informs his work and his "boring" Yeezy clothes:
"The future is here now, the past is here now.… I'm big on connecting with timeless energy, with people and musicians that I'm around. When working on 'Runaway' [video] with [artist] Vanessa Beecroft, it was very important to not define the time, to not give any labels to the environments that we were in."
"Sometimes even people say that the clothes are boring, but you can wear something from four years ago today. We avoid trends."
__On the philosophies and concepts between Break the Simulation: __
"I've got this philosophy—or let's say it's just a concept because sometimes philosophy sounds too heavy-handed: I've got a concept about photographs, and I'm on the fence about photographs—about human beings being obsessed with photographs—because it takes you out of the now and transports you into the past or transports you into the future."
We wonder whether Kim Kardashian's noted taste for making her own Instagram photos appear vintage or West's own Valentine's Day–themed return to Instagram are informed by West's philosophy or not. Whatever the case, watch out, Susan Sontag.
On his and Kim Kardashian's particular superpowers:
"A designer told me that my wife was a master of light and I was a master of time."
On Virgil Abloh's appointment at Louis Vuiton:
"I had been dealing with a very heavy concept this week that I couldn't get out of my head. Just the way you're expressing yourself has lifted the burden on me."
[Vervoordt asks if something bad had happened]
"It's not bad or good, it's my creative collaborator being the head of Louis Vuitton."
"Because [Abloh and I] have been fighting to make apparel at a certain price that still has the same credibility and desirability as something at a higher price.… But when they say he was my creative director, that's incorrect. He was a creative collaborator."
Just for some background information on this matter, West recruited Abloh to serve as art director for Watch the Throne, his 2011 joint album with Jay-Z (indeed, he was never technically named West's overall "creative director"). The pair ended up "interning" at Fendi together, and Abloh later launched the ephemeral art project–meets–streetwear label Pyrex Vision with a West co-sign. Abloh then launched his label Off-White, and was recently named creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton.
West also has a history with Vuitton: He put out a range of sneakers with the fashion house in 2009, several years before he'd launch Yeezy. Though Yeezy does come with a pretty price tag, West has claimed for sometime now that his ultimate goal is to design things that are more accessible. Indeed, Kardashian recently revealed that her husband's ultimate goal would be to design a line of drug store products. "Like deodorant, every product you could imagine. He would redo them all; he hates how they look.”
On Yeezy's success:
"I don't wish to be number one anymore, I wish to be water. I wish to be closer to UNICEF or something where I can take the information that I have and help as many people as possible, not to just shove it into a brand."
On once again revealing that he is the ultimate Gemini:
"Now some of these things I could change my opinion two or three times on it depending on the feeling. I feel like Stephen Hawking. He changed his ideas and his theories all the time. After proving something right, he proved something wrong, right? Because there is no wrong or right, it's bipolarity, it is both sides."
"I don't like the word brand because we don't use branding."
There is a whole lot more where that comes from, but what, basically, is Kanye talking about?
Well, it seems he really hates Instagram culture with its focus on personal branding, freezing idealized and (manipulated) images in time, and influencers (does he know what family he married into?), perhaps because it all serves to take us out of the moment on multiple levels.
It also seems like he's over objects that are more expensive being held in higher esteem and reverence than objects that happen to be both cheaper and more useful.
Of course, the biggest takeaway here is that West is back and talking in the media again. (We haven't gotten an in-depth interviews from West since 2016—indeed, you can watch one of his last full-length interview here). Here's hoping for many more long, complicated interviews to come.