Kanye West may have found some redemption within the music community following a week of bad publicity.
Days after West received flack for embarrassing two physically disabled fans during a concert in Sydney, Australia, the rapper performed in front of thousands in his hometown of Chicago during Common’s AAHH! Festival set on Sunday.
In a recent interview with GQ Magazine’s Zach Baron, West admitted that while taking time to focus on his wedding with Kim Kardashian and spending time with new daughter North, he’d lost the top spot in the industry to Toronto’s own Drake.
“Currently, that top spot is taken. Let’s be honest – he got last summer,” West admitted. “He got last summer. And I’d never given it up till last summer. It’s a real question for me[competing with Drake]. Do I want to?”
Avid fans of West know he’s been in the studio working on a new album for months, but he only just announced in the interview that his new single would probably be dropped in a couple of weeks, with the album not too far behind it.
West confessed the new single would be more in line with top pop songs receiving air time on the radio and less “beautiful,” a word he used to describe most of the tracks on Yeezus and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
“…for the new album, one new thing could change everything. I had an idea of the way I wanted to do the album. And then I got a new song that’s so good that the album has to be balanced against it,” West said, adding the new song is one that’ll be played at every club when it’s released.
The following content may contain coarse language. Viewer discretion is advised.
Reading the interview, it’s clear West still thinks he’s the biggest game changer to happen to the industry since Tupac, and when questioned about how he feels one year after Yeezus, he doesn’t even attempt to play down his own “brilliance.”
“I think Yeezus is the beginning of a completely new era of music. It has all new rules. It just broke every rule possible,” West said. “New Slaves. The second verse. I argue it’s the best rap verse of all time. It’s the Coming to America or Anchorman of a verse.”
He may still be enthusiastic about music, but the 37-year-old admitted his focus has changed. Now, he’d much rather spend time focusing on his new wife and daughter, all while preparing to launch multiple fashion lines.
But West admits he’s not the same kid he was five years ago, when it was about going home with a different girl every night and counting the dollar signs in a bank account. Now, he said, it’s about being cool as a man dedicated to his family.
“Family is super cool. Going home to one girl every night is super cool. Just going home and getting on the floor and playing with your child is super cool…having someone that I can call Mom again. That s— is super cool.”
Even before Kanye West was an uber successful artist, he was still Kanye West.
Arrogant, narcissistic, and full of incredible talent just waiting to be noticed, it’s a trip to see a young 19-year-old West lay it down in a dingy studio considering the lavish lifestyle he lives now.
The video below, which was recorded in August of 1996, shows off West participating in a free styling competition with other rappers from the Chicago area.
Warning: Video contains coarse language. Viewer discretion is advised.
According to Slate, the video was filmed in Fat Beats, an independent hip-hop record shop celebrating its successful move into a larger boutique closer to the city’s downtown core. At the time, West was just one of many rappers to come out and display their talents for anyone who cared to listen.
The minute and a half verse West spits is full of references to landmarks in Chicago, but most importantly, it’s full of typical Kanye West lines.
“But it’s not original cause I stole it from myself in the future,” is just one of the many lines West uses to reference his brilliance in the verse.
Slate also reported that while Fat Beats closed its retail doors in 2010, (after all, the death of record shops was imminent) the group still operates as a digital record label.
Hey, if they kickstarted the career of someone like Kanye West, they’ve got to have an eye for talent.
After Kanye West’s epic Bonnaroo rant-fest which had the festival crowd turning on the rapper, and then his U.K. Wireless Festival grumblings about racism in the fashion industry, the comedy site decided to reveal a faux setlist with his rant prompts – with a handful of songs placed in between.
Check out the hilarious document below (click for full view):