In the mag, he talks about his new music (his new single “All Day” is set to drop in a few weeks), his wedding and marriage to Kim Kardashian, how he feels about Beyoncé & Jay Z and more.
GQ: You got married a week ago. You’re the lead subject in practically every tabloid on the planet right now. Are you comfortable in that position, having that many eyes on you?
KW: That wasn’t my goal. My goal is just to be respected as a man when I walk down the street with my family. I don’t care what your job is, you’re not gonna talk down to me, you’re not gonna try to get a rise out of me. I’m a man first. And in establishing that, some interesting things have happened. [laughs]
Like that TMZ video from last year, where you’re walking with your pregnant fiancée with your head down to avoid the paparazzi, to the point where you walked into a sign and hit your head. Then TMZ made fun of you for walking into the sign. How do you live like that?
It’s difficult. And then put on top of that the idea of going and taking meetings with people, and people say, “We don’t want to work with you, because we saw you get mad about running into the sign.”
Does that kind of mockery feel like an effort to de-fang you?
But also, there’s no fangs. I don’t have fangs. I’m a porcupine. I’m a blowfish. Like, I’m a—what’s the fish that blows up?
Yeah. I’m a blowfish. I’m not a shark, I’m a blowfish. So that perfect example about me hitting my head, it’s like a blowfish. I wasn’t coming out of my house going to a paparazzi’s house to attack them. I’m defending my family in front of my own house. I’m defending my name as someone’s screaming something negative at me. That’s a blowfish. People have me pinned as a shark or a predator in some way, and in no way am I that. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. I want to defend people. I want to help people.
You can read the rest of his interview, including where he talks about his new music, the cultural significance of Yeezus, and Drake owning last summer via GQ.
Can I read you something? The New York Post’s Page Six has an account of your wedding that reads, in part: “Kanye returned one hour before the wedding and didn’t like the all-white bar that was in front of the Gold Toilet Tower. He took a saw and started sawing it in half himself. Two men held the bar stable as he sawed, and sawed, into the bar, defacing the entire front, screaming at everyone around him. He said it looked like a bar from Texas. Then he ordered two pieces of raw wood to be nailed onto the front of the bar. Once the wood was in place, ‘Now,’ he said, ‘it’s art.’ The Italian construction teams looked at this guy and couldn’t believe what they were seeing.”
For the person that wrote that, were they involved with anything last year that was as culturally significant as the Yeezus tour or that album? They didn’t even talk there about the photographs, or the dress, or Andrea Bocelli singing, or the marble tables. They’re like: “It’s a gold toilet.” No. The bathrooms—that usually would be a porta-potty—were wrapped in a fabric that was neutral to match the fort. The bar was terrible, and the wedding planner didn’t approve it with me. I was having issues with this wedding planner the entire time on approvals, and I get there and they threw some weird plastic bar there. So the same materials that were used to cover the bathroom, we said, “Let’s just use that, because this is all we have to make the bar look better.” Which it did, in the end. And anyone knows that you cannot pick up tools yourself, because of—what are those rules about the workers?
Yeah, unions. You can’t do that. It’s illegal. That’s false.
Then they say you gave a forty-five-minute toast to yourself.
And what I talked about in it was the idea of celebrity, and celebrities being treated like blacks were in the ’60s, having no rights, and the fact that people can slander your name. I said that in the toast. And I had to say this in a position where I, from the art world, am marrying Kim. And how we’re going to fight to raise the respect level for celebrities so that my daughter can live a more normal life. She didn’t choose to be a celebrity. But she is. So I’m going to fight to make sure she has a better life.
How does it feel when you read something like that account of your wedding or you see a photo of you looking glum at a zipline go viral?
My feelings don’t matter anymore.
Of course they do.
No. One of the things that I said at the speech was, anyone that’s at this table has had to defend me or Kim or both of us at some point in their life. Ask a boxer: “In the third round, when he hit you from the side on your ear, how did that specifically feel?” You wouldn’t ask a boxer that. Because you know they’re there to fight. Meaning now you know I’m here to fight. I’m here to fight for the re-education of what celebrity is. To say, “Yes, we are celebrities, but yes, we’re also innovators, we’re also inventors, we’re also thoughtful.”
But that’s sad to me. You should be able to be a human with feelings, too.
That’s fine. But that’s not the case, is it?
Is that the way you feel, that you’re always in the ring?
Yeah. I’m sitting right here, it’s a fight. I’m fighting with the way I line my words up together and the way I place a sweater on top of a T-shirt. At this point, people know what’s up. People know I’m smart. And people know that, whether it’s SNL or Jimmy Kimmel, it’s a trend to take the piss out of celebrity—just as much of a trend as wearing a gray hoodie or driving a Prius.
But you voluntarily married into a celebrity family, right? In 2014, there are no bigger tabloid stars than Kim Kardashian.
In the speech, I talked about the idea of collaboration and all the people involved working together and being able to change things. Meaning there was a time for two or three years where fashion designers wouldn’t give Kim dresses. There was a time they wouldn’t even let me be at shows. Now the idea that Kim is in a Givenchy Couture dress is raising the communication. Because people would be more apt to be like, “Celebrities don’t really have style. Celebrities can’t dress. Celebrities are less educated.” But they haven’t had the chance to be able to break throughand have Carine Roitfeld sitting right there. Carine Roitfeld is the Walt Disney of what Tumblr is today. She is the Kanye West of what Tumblr is today. She’s the single most important person to what street style is today. And she was at the wedding seven seats down from Kim, who is one of the number one fashion plates of today. So I said, “Wow, Carine is seven seats down from Kim. Farnaz [Farjam], the producer of the Kardashians and the producer of The Real World, is four seats down from [director] Steve McQueen. And four seats, because in between them is Hosain [Rahman] from Jawbone.” This is what I talked about. That was not a forty-five-minute speech to myself. Do you realize what that means for those people to be in that close of a proximity to each other?
But if you read a lot of the tabloid coverage, the implication is: Kim and her family are bringing you down. Jay Z and Beyoncé didn’t show up at your wedding because of them. That kind of thing.
All that, I wouldn’t even speak on. It doesn’t even matter to me whatsoever, who would show up. Because the most important person to show up there, to me, was Kim. And that’s all that matters to me. I had to fight for that for seven years. But the fact that these other people showed up that are from such different worlds but have done such dynamic things—they’re all, in a way, equal to what Kim has done in TV or what I had done in music. I was so moved that I just wanted people to stop and think they weren’t sitting at a table full of fashion people, they weren’t sitting at a table full of celebrities, they weren’t sitting at a table full of movie directors. It really was a representation of the way we receive information today, post-Internet. And so Page Six can’t overshadow the main point: Carine Roitfeld was sitting next to Kim Kardashian. That alone to me is like the same moment when I brought Mos Def to the studio with Jay Z. It’s about the people, and the fact that they’re from different walks of life, and that they’re working together and not discriminating against each other. There was a class system, and now there’s a creative class system, and I think that’s what you were talking about a bit—the class system of creativity.
And my point was, they leave Kim out of it.
And my point is, they were all at her wedding.
A skeptic would say that’s because of you.
But when an Instagram photo gets 2.3 million likes—
Your wedding photo, which is currently the most liked photo on Instagram ever.
That’s because of who?
I don’t know.
Don’t say you don’t know! It’s because of Kim. Meaning there’s no photo that I would have put up by myself, or next to one of my smarty friends, that would have got that amount of likes. So now you take this photo that has that amount of likes, and it has a flower wall from the same guy who does the Lanvin shows, and it has a couture Givenchy dress and Givenchy tuxedo in it. That’s the point. Now the thing that is the most popular is also communicating the highest level of creativity. The concept of Kimye has more cultural significance than what Page Six could write.
Why’d you decide to get married?
Saying “Hey, I like Kim” isn’t as inspiring to people as us getting married. And anyone that’s in a relationship knows that in order to get to the point to get married and then to be married and to then carry on, it needs that work put into it. Right now, people look at it and it’s like, “Wow, that’s inspiring.” Meaning that love is infectious. You know, God is infectious—God flowing through us and us being little-baby creators and shit. But His energy and His love and what He wants us to have as people and the way He wants us to love each other, that is infectious. Like they said in Step Brothers: Never lose your dinosaur. This is the ultimate example of a person never losing his dinosaur. Meaning that even as I grew in cultural awareness and respect and was put higher in the class system in some way for being this musician, I never lost my dinosaur.
Kim is this girl who fucking turns me on. I love her. This is who I want to be next to and be around. And then people would try to say, “Well, you know, if you’re a musician, you should be with a musician, and if you want to design, you need to be with a girl from the design world.” I don’t give a fuck about people’s opinions. Because when a kid falls in love with an airplane or a bike or a dinosaur—especially if you’re an only child and it’s not because of the book that the sibling was reading—it’s like, fuck, you mean to tell me that the dinosaurs walked the earth and stuff like that?! That’s amazing! You mean to tell me that these giant multi-ton crafts can fly that fast and that loud, and they can flip, and there’s danger, the possibility of them exploding? That’s fucking cool! You mean to tell me that this girl with this fucking body and this face is also into style, and she’s a nice person, and she has her own money and is family-oriented? That’s just as cool as a fucking fighter jet or dinosaur! And just as rarely seen.
That’s a lovely way of putting it.
I feel like you’re stronger as a team. Because when you know you have a team player, it’s not one on the world anymore. At least it’s two on the world.
Two and a half, if you want to count your daughter.
Yeah, and then two and a half, eventually. It’s like having some eyes in the back of your head. That’s one reason why, when people try to spoof or talk shit, it’s like: But you’re mad because basically Kim is the type of girl that, her entire life, if you were in school with her, most people would be studying and up late nights, but for some reason she would have the skill set to go and grab the one book, turn to the exact page, and just magically say, “That’s the exact answer.” Or she could wink at the person who had done all the work and get it done anyway. And the point of life is getting shit done and being happy.
Credit: B. Scott