Eighteen months after Kanye West’s explosive BBC Radio 1 interview with Zane Lowe (the one where he proclaimed himself the inventor of leather track pants), a lot has changed in the rapper’s life. He’s signed on with Adidas and seems to finally have some of the creative control he’s been craving all this time. In this latest interview with Lowe, we see a new Kanye; less petulant, more thoughtful and sure about his goals within the fashion industry.
Kanye acknowledges that proclaiming himself a genius to everyone may have been off-putting and jumbled his message. “I did not know how to communicate at all,” he said. But part of his overall frustration came from the fact that no one seemed to believe that he wasn’t being given enough creative control or general respect. He recalled a meeting he had at his Paris apartment with someone who worked for Kering boss François-Henri Pinault.
“I had a meeting with him and it was related to doing a deal with Puma. I’d actually forgotten about the meeting. I had my jacket on and it was a jacket I’d done with A.P.C., and I was about to leave. So he shows up at the door and we go to my dining room table and I’m sitting with him and I tell him, ‘Yo, I made this jacket,’ and he makes some joke about, ‘You did look pretty hot. I’m happy to know that you put on all those clothes for me.'”
Kanye found this quip rather disrespectful and he says it is typical of his interactions with brand executives. “He was leveling the conversation. This is what people do all the time. If I meet someone who I respect or I look up to, I will literally kiss their feet…and it’s a lot of agents, a lot of people who work under the main guy that will try to level you. When they talk to you, they talk down to you.”
But the entire interview wasn’t about his ongoing struggle in the industry. Kanye also had a few words to say about the late Central Saint Martins figure Louise Wilson, whom he calls the “baddest professor of all time.” He recalled a meal he shared with Wilson just before her passing.
“Last time I saw her, we had a dinner at Hakkasan, which is my favorite restaurant in London, and I think she knew she was gonna pass,” he said. “She just wanted to give me some words of advice moving forward and she was asking me about my daughter and my wife. She said, ‘So many students, they don’t give it their all. And the problem is soon as they do something halfway good when they’re two years old, three years old, their parents clap.’ And she just looked at me and she said, ‘Kanye, don’t clap.’ I didn’t know we were gonna lose her. She told me, she said, ‘Thank you for the times where we came to performances and this has really meant a lot to me.'”
It is then that Kanye starts breaking down in tears, covering his face before walking off set to take a moment. “That’s never happened to me in an interview before.”
Kanye seems more focused and level-headed in this interview and his love for fashion is made ever more obvious, particularly through his supremely emotional reaction as he remembered Wilson. Watch the full 40-plus minute interview above.
[via BBC Radio 1 YouTube]