Kanye West on His Next Album and Taking Over The World with His Yeezy Empire
Newly announced billionaire Kanye West, is a busy man. Amongst being a musician, designer, husband, father and now a ranch owner, West is now looking to further develop his brand and create a Yeezy-soaked world to cater for everyone.
As someone that has transformed the way artists make music today to altering ideas about footwear and fashion, you can't help but recognise that West is a powerful and revolutionary individual in both business and music. In an interview with GQ, conducted by close friend Will Welch, the pair spent three months together and travelled across three countries talking about Ye's renewed faith in God, his next album and forever crafting his brand that not only focuses on apparel, but now architecture and real estate.
"They don’t teach you in school about buying property. They teach you how to become somebody’s property." he says. The Wyoming ranch named West Lake Ranch is home to two lakes on a 4,000-acre land. The fishing lake has a plethora of different types of trout, caves that have pictographs carved into the walls by indigenous tribes. Around the time the interview was conducted, there were hundreds of antelope, mule deer and some elk. There are also 160 cows and approximately 700 sheep. But this is only a test of his "Yeezy campus". Since becoming active again he's plunged into choirs, a rebirth, the multi-thousand-acre land grabs, the move to Wyoming, the new Jesus-focused rap album and the return to Fashion Week in Paris. West is attempting his heftiest endeavours yet in developing new architectural languages with legendary American artist James Turrell, Belgian interior designer Axel Vervoordt, and Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin. His star-studded list of architects comes from spending a lengthy amount of time with Silvestrin with his New York City apartment and five-year collaboration with Vervoordt who worked on the Kardashian-West family home in Calabasas. After encountering Turrell's work, he visualised sustainable dome-shaped lots, with pod-shaped rooms within the larger dome, no corners and stairs and an oculus (a small window that is circular or oval in shape) open to the sky.
Also, his Yeezy Season 8 clothes that he recently premiered in Paris are "servicewear" garments that will be worn by Yeezy campus staff such as cooks, nannies, housekeepers, etc. West refers to the domes that he and the team are creating in Wyoming as "V.2." since the first V.1. domes in Calabasas were tests and made out of plywood. He mentions having dinner in there everyday for one or two months and went through different plans to refine the language of the whole idea, by building a waterfall shower and putting moss on the floor. When asked about how his domes made CNN headlines because they were torn down he says "The was exactly my conception."
Having confirmed that he purchased two ranches in the past year or so with ambitions of creating a community in Wyoming, Ye says it was his "dream and vision to move there" as told by wife Kim Kardashian-West. In an interview with Charlemagne tha God he says “It’s just the next frontier for me, to develop... we’re standing on my first property. So I’m going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time. What Howard Hughes was to aircrafts and what Henry Ford was to cars. Just the relationships I have with architects, my understanding of space and sacred proportions, just this new vibe, this new energy… We gonna develop cities.”
To try and comprehend what Ye is now trying to do, it could be related to how he is embodying his opera 'Nebuchnezzar' which was performed last year (2019). In his most recent interview with Zane Lowe he says: "Nebuchadnezzar was the king... And he looked at his entire kingdom and said, 'I did this.' And God said 'Oh, for real? You did this? Sounds kind of similar, right? I'm standing on the tip of the mountain talking about Yeezus. Saying, 'I did this!' That I'm a God!" he then concludes by saying "Nebuchadnezzar was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and he was still king!" which might be a more modern version of retelling how Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by God for boasting but then stricken with insanity. It relates to Ye opening up about his newfound relationship with Christ. "I know you’re looking for a real answer to How does the guy who made Yeezus, which is a very punk album, make a Jesus Is King?" he says to Welch when questioned about his sudden rebirth.
After mentioning his alcoholism during the era's of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and The Life of Pablo, he also noted that none of those albums were nominated for Album of the Year. "Imagine doing The Life of Pablo and driving down the road and never hearing none of those songs on the radio and your wife and your daughter are in the car." he says. He tells about a time when he thought about having a daytime drink of Grey Goose and thought "Devil, you're not going to beat me today." and hasn't had a drink since. Ye was never really told about him possibly being a functioning alcoholic so he didn't even realise it was something he struggled with. "People have called me a crazy person, people have called me everything—but not a functioning alcoholic. And I would be drinking orange juice and Grey Goose in the morning."
With Jesus Is King, this is an album that Ye wants you to blast in the house on a Sunday morning. It's the only album that has this level of production to allow it to be played through a home like when he grew up. 'Follow God' was No. 1 on both the Christian and gospel charts. Through the opportunities that people had such as making R&B and Rock 'n' Roll, it removed the idea of Jesus from the songs and was instead about falling in and out of love. Straying further away from God, he says the next frontier was about maybe killing someone or how he's going to be with someone else's wife but was saved from falling into that trap since altering his ego.
Amongst this, he believes 'Power' to be one of his weakest hits because it adheres to expectations that people wanted from him. After saying how people really loved My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy but didn't like 808's and Heartbreak or Yeezus. Comparing 'Power' to other hit songs such as 'Love Lockdown', 'Can’t Tell Me Nothing', 'Diamonds' or 'Follow God' and implying that it's like people viewing his creative choices in fashion as outlandish because it's not traditional.
He even considered not rapping again because he rapped for the devil for so long but was enlightened by one of his pastors who said “My son just said that he would want a rap album about Jesus from Kanye West.” He didn’t say, “Kanye West, you should do this,” or “you need to do this.” He just told me something that a child said." And that changed his perception completely.
In terms of what Ye's new album might sound like, he mentions that whilst he has recording studios in nearly every space he has, he mostly records into his iPhone. "Best microphone on the planet. Thirty, forty percent of The College Dropout was recorded on a [Roland] VS-1680. Twenty percent of Jesus Is King was recorded on an iPhone... I first started doing that on Yeezus. Like Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-fil-A - that part is off the phone."
When sitting in and listening to samples and sounds in one of Ye's studios, Welch records that it has songs that are "mellow and sweet, with singing and soulful samples. Then there’s a song called “Washed in the Blood,” with hard drums and Yeezus-like industrial horror noises that consistently shotgun-fires a rapping, dancing, moshing West across the concrete patio like it’s an arena stage"
Wash us in the blood
Wash us in the blood
Whole life selling drugs
Washed us in the blood
Holy Spirit come down
Holy Spirit we need you now
As for now, West is still changing ideas and trying to find what language sounds right for his next endeavours with his Wyoming-sized V.2. domes and injecting the now billion-dollar brand Yeezy into our everyday lives. With once mentioning that he would want to make the Yeezy clothing affordable to match UNIQLO prices, who knows what'll be coming next?
What we do know though, is that Rome wasn't built in a day.
Photographs by Tyler Mitchell
Yeezy Season 8 looks courtesy of Gorunway