Kanye West recently sat down with novelist and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis for the latter’s inaugural podcast, which came out earlier today. Over the course of an hour, the Yeezus rapper spoke with the American Psycho author about a variety of subjects, including movies, clothing brands and how Kanye West and Kim Kardashian binge-watch TV like “normal human beings,” as West put it.
During the chat, West revealed that the flick he has most recently watched repeatedly – make that 30 to 40 times – was There Will Be Blood. But he said that the movie he’s seen most in his life, the one he’s found most influential, was Menace II Society. He also talked in-depth at several junctures about how he identified with the movie 12 Years a Slave, which led to a discussion of how that album is like Yeezus and vice versa. It’s a connection Ellis supported. “Yeezus seemed really new to me,” he said. “It seems very new sonically. I haven’t heard anything like it. It was provocative, it was sexy, it was laugh-out-loud funny at times. And I think the problem, if we’re going to do the Yeezus–12 Years a Slave comparison, I think that 12 Years a Slave felt more calculated, a little bit more rigged, especially in terms of how they’re putting the movie out there.”
For his part, West doesn’t think he could make an album that’s sonically on par with director Steve McQueen’s work. “I don’t think that my skillset is high enough to sonically create something that would be on the textbook level of 12 Years a Slave,” he said. “I don’t know how to play a piano. I would have to be a musicologist. I would have to be really high skillset. The better and better I get, the younger and younger I am.” West continued that metaphor to explain that he feels younger each time he makes an album. For instance, if he was “six years old” when he made 2007’s Graduation, he was “five” when he made the following year’s 808s and Heartbreak. The only thing that has made him grow up was “the Taylor Swift thing.” After that, he says, “I delivered what could be considered my most perfected work. . . I almost reached 10 years old when I did Dark Fantasy.”
At other junctures in the talk, West comes across less humble. At one point, he says, “If I were to write my title, like going through the airport, ‘What you do?’ I would literally write ‘creative genius’ except for two reasons: sometimes it takes too long to write that and sometimes I spell the word ‘genius’ wrong.” He and Ellis laugh. “The irony.”
But when it comes to TV time, the rapper says he’s just like everybody else and has no problem binge-watching series. In fact, he and fiancée Kim Kardashian recently indulged in Breaking Bad. “Literally, me and my girl sat up in a hotel, we had some days off,” he recalls, “and we said, look, let’s go ahead and watch this so we can be normal human beings.”
Lately, though, West has been busy getting back to work. Over the weekend, he resumed his recently re-routed Yeezus tour – which had a big kickoff last month – with a gig in Philadelphia. He also made time this past weekend to give a lecture at Harvard.