Kanye West talks with Vanity Fair about how he’s lived and learned during the past year, read insertions from the interview below.
LISA ROBINSON: Looking back on last year’s MTV Awards, when you interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech you said Beyonce was robbed, and a lot of us agreed with you. How do you feel about it now?
KANYE WEST: Well, it was very punk rock and revolutionary and idealistic and very angry in a way. But the timing was in poor taste. And the other two things I’ve learned since then are humility and empathy to be empathetic to other people’s feelings. To care about how much this must mean to someone else, and not to think that my ideals or my righteousness are more important than someone else feelings
L.R. You also have an entirely new, elegant look; you told me you thought that the traditional hip-hop look was tired.
K.W. Yeah, people always dress like they’re headed to the gym.
L.R. You’ve had a tough time since the death of your mother, in 2007. Even though you’re always in recording studios, this past year you retreated from the spotlight. How are you these days?
K.W. Extremely happy. And you know … people obviously know I lost my mother, and it was shocking. On one hand, I never really dealt with the loss, but in not dealing with the loss, I also didn’t completely deal with the responsibilities that my mother used to take. She was such an amazing, well-rounded person, and I was a spoiled brat.
L.R. You were?
K.W. Yeah, and my mom used to balance my spoiled-bratness by just being one of the most awesome people. She was a teacher, and to be a teacher you have to care about people you can’t just care about yourself. I just cared about myself. I thought the fact that so many people in the world a million in the first week [of a record release]cared about me, that that was enough, but it’s not enough. The best thing I can do now is carry on my mother’s legacy. I need to recapture the hearts of the world just to show people how great my mother was, to show people that Donda raised a good guy. My responsibility is to make music that’s progressive, that makes me happy, that makes everyone happy. My job in society isn’t to be mad. My job is to present good music.