Kanye West on Success When You Have All The Money in The World

Steve McQueen — the one who is alive and directed 12 Years a Slave — interviews Kanye West for Interview Magazine and it is kind of amazing.

So you talk about doing all of these other things, which is great, but there’s really no amount of money that could make you more influential than you are now. So my question is: What are you going to do with all of the influence that you have right now?

Well, influence isn’t my definition of success — it’s a by-product of my creativity. I just want to create more. I would be fine with making less money. I actually spend the majority of my money attempting to create more things. Not buying things or solidifying myself or trying to make my house bigger, or trying to show people how many Louis Vuitton bags I can get, or buying my way to a good seat at the table. My definition of success, again, is getting my ideas out there…You know, people say things about creativity and jobs and every 10 years, blah, blah, blah. But I don’t have a desire to not continue making music. When I left Chicago and moved to New York, it wasn’t because I didn’t love Chicago; it was because I needed to go to New York. So right now, I’ve got other innovations and other thoughts that I want to pursue. As I was saying earlier, I create like a 3-year-old. When you’re 3, you wake up one morning and say, “I wanna ride a bike.” And then the next day, you wake up and say, “I wanna draw.” I don’t want to be in a situation where, because I was good enough at riding a bike one day, then that’s all I can do for the rest of my life.

My personal favorite part of the interview comes right after, when Kanye apologizes to McQueen for using a film metaphor (“I feel like I’m working with better cameras”) and pinpointing what I did not know was a pet peeve of mine all along:

Steve, please forgive me because I feel like it’s super-patronizing whenever someone does an analogy or a metaphor that relates to the field that you currently work in…I’m sorry. I find it super-insulting whenever people give me a music analogy. It’s like, “You know, I would have understood it if you just said it in English. You didn’t have to put it in music terms, like you somehow know more about music or I would understand it better if it were in music terms.” So please forgive me for putting that in film terms. I mean, talking about film to Steve McQueen …

I mean, okay, the best part is when he says he coped with the post-Taylor Swift incident blues with “god, sex, and alcohol,” but I also liked that.

Photo: Peter Hutchins