There’s a big article in the New York Times’ T Magazine by Jon Caramanica about Kanye West’s career in the fashion industry.
The most interesting nugget comes when Kanye talks about something that’s been central to his music for the better part of a decade: ego.
In explaining how he has come to understand and accept his own ego, he told a story about a marble table that was placed in his house without his permission, but proved too heavy to move.
It’s a great analogy:
“I have this table in my new house. They put this table in without asking. It was some weird nouveau riche marble table, and I hated it. But it was literally so heavy that it took a crane to move it. We would try to set up different things around it, but it never really worked.
“I realised that table was my ego. No matter what you put around it, under it, no matter who photographed it, the d*****baggery would always come through.”
In March, he told students at Oxford University, “One of my biggest Achilles heels has been my ego. And if I, Kanye West, the very person, can remove my ego, I think there’s hope for everyone.”
This analogy brings to mind a story that Pusha T told Complex about recording the song “Runaway” for Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Kanye, specifically on Dark Fantasy and Yeezus, indulges his ego as an act of self-criticism. He’s constantly embodying the parts of himself that he hates the most.
As Pusha tells it, Kanye was screaming at him to write a verse with “more d*****bag” on “Runaway.” The famous lyric, “24/7/365, p**** stays on my mind” came out of Kanye forcing Pusha to confront what he’s ashamed of.
“But I wrote ‘Runaway’ four times — and what he does not know to this day is that I was going through a relationship scandal in my life. So this man is asking me to write a song about a relationship and to say that I’m the biggest d*****bag ever. He’s telling me, ‘Yo, you need to be more d*****bag. We need more d*****bag!’ I didn’t want to say to him, ‘Dog, I don’t know if I even have d*****bag in me right now.’ I’ve been jammed up, and it’s hard for me to even tap into that part, because I’m remorseful. [Laughs.] And he’s f****** beating me for f****** more. All I hear in my head is, ‘More d*****bag. More d*****bag. More d*****bag!’ Finally, after a couple of days, I said, ‘I’m going to go upstairs and get in total solitude and just do what I need to do.’ And [the lyric]: ’24/7/365, p**** stays on my mind.’ It starts from there.”
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