Kanye Wants James Blake for Next Album

"I have been in contact with him," Blake tells Rolling Stone

James Blake performs in Paris, France.
David Wolff - Patrick/WireImage
February 21, 2014 12:55 PM ET

In a radio interview last November, Kanye West handed James Blake some heavy praise. "Just go listen to his music, and say, 'Hey, that's Kanye's favorite artist,'" West said.

"I thought it was nice," Blake tells RS. “I've been inspired by a lot of the music he's made. I was certainly inspired by Yeezus. It made me rethink what I’m doing. It's one of those albums, whether you like it or not, it should impact you in that way." He compares the album to Tao Lin's novel Taipei, which he discovered in a bookstore recently. "The style is just so strange, but rewarding, and I think that a lot of people would be put off by it. I think that Yeezus captures a similar aesthetic."

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A few years ago, West invited the British electronic songwriter to the studio to hear music that wound up on Watch the Throne. "It was nice to hear these songs that eventually became massive," he says.

Since then, West recently asked Blake to collaborate on new music. "I have been in contact with him," Blake says, but adds there's one roadblock: he doesn't want to work in separate locations. "You know, the way that I like to work is bare bones and personal. I think because Kanye's such an accomplished producer, if I was to work with him, then I think we could do something together, and just together, you know?"

Blake sums up the situation quoting Oscar Wilde: "Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital."

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West recently said he has bigger ambitions for his follow-up to Yeezus. "Bruce Springsteen dropped this album called Nebraska and right after that he did Born In The U.S.A. This next one, I have a feeling, because of what we did right now, has to be Born In The U.S.A."

"If he wants it to sound like Born in the U.S.A. then I'm not sure if I'm the one to ask," says Blake with a laugh. “Honestly, I spend so much fucking time talking about Kanye West and Chance [the Rapper] and Drake. People ask me so much about it, but really up until this point, I haven't had any time to act on any impulse, so all I can say is we'll see and watch this space but there's things coming. I'm really excited. My monotonous tone of voice won't show you that, but I'm excited."

Blake is reluctant to share other MC's he wants to work with. "I mean, I've said this before, but Chance because we are doing stuff, and I mean… I'm not sure there's any fucking point in telling you because it just ends up on a website and then people think it's happening and it doesn't happen and then I feel like a shit."

Before the interview ends, Blake considers the comment. "I hope I haven't offended anybody."

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