Friday, March 1, 2024

Kanye West: “Sometimes I Sound Completely Retarded”


Yeezus! Here’s an excerpt from Kanye West‘s new interview in W magazine. He says that sometimes he sounds “completely retarded.” He also addresses his new “I am a God” statements whilst eating veggies from a Hermes plate. Kanye’s “Yeezus” album is number 1 this week, for better or worse. He also describes his mind as a “flea market of information.” Here goes:

From W: (full interview at

Of course, West’s bright and dark sides are fully interdependent, and they’re equally essential to his art. Both are very much on display during our conversations in Paris. It’s a big deal for West to invite a journalist into his house: He hasn’t given many interviews in the past few years. This is due in part to a string of PR disasters, the last of which was an on-air clash with Matt Lauer about the George Bush accusation, which led West to cancel a live performance on the Today show. West is especially wary of print interviews, since the writer retains the power to choose which of his quotes are relevant (though at one point he asks me to streamline his more rambling comments or, as he puts it, “to turn my flea market of information into a beautiful living space”).

Another issue: West’s opinions evolve so quickly that by the time a profile comes out, he might have totally changed his mind. And finally, there’s his self-acknowledged deficiency in the eloquence department. “God’s little practical joke on me—as an intellect who doesn’t like to read a lot—is like, I’ll say some superphilosophical shit, but I’ll say it the wrong way,” he says, laughing. “I’ll use the wrong word, so it goes from being really special to completely retarded.”


“West is not oblivious to his own narcissism. “On one end, I try to scale it back,” he says. “Because I don’t want to close any of the doors needed to create the best product possible. But my ego is my drug. My drug is, ‘I’m better than all you other motherfuckers. Kiss my ass!’ ” The people on West’s team seem to tune out his boasting, since they realize it serves a purpose. “I understand how it can be off-putting for people to hear it,” Stanescu says. “But I think it’s how Kanye pushes himself. If he didn’t have this belief that he could do major things and have a global impact, he would just go close himself off in a room.”

One afternoon, while West is taking a break from recording, eating stir-fried vegetables off an Hermès plate, we talk about some of the tracks on the new record. Few musicians like explaining what their songs mean, and West is no exception, but if you write one called “I Am a God,” you can’t avoid certain questions. I ask West outright what he’s getting at there. “Hmm,” he murmurs and stays silent for a few seconds, looking out the window.

“I made that song because I am a god,” he says finally. He laughs for a second, then stops. “I don’t think there’s much more explanation. I’m not going to sit here and defend shit. That shit is rock ’n’ roll, man. That shit is rap music. I am a god. Now what?”


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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