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“I knew I was going to make it this far; I knew that this was going to happen.”

Kanye West was recently joined by Jon Caramanica of the New York Times for a conversation spanning three days at Shangri-la Studios. The product of the talks? A detailed insight into the dark genius psyche of Mr West. The interview explores Kanye’s evolution as an artist to the point at which he stands now, on the cusp of the release of his eighth studio album Yeezus. The interview concludes with a characteristically bold statement by Kanye, “I understand culture. I am the nucleus.” Read some of the more engaging Kanye quotes on the topics below.

On his ability to ‘set the record straight’

“I remember when both Gnarls Barkley and Justin [Timberlake] lost for Album of the Year, and I looked at Justin, and I was like: “Do you want me to go onstage for you? You know, do you want me to fight for what’s right?”…I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.”

On the Taylor Swift incident

“It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.”

On singing on 808s & Heartbreaks

“Yeah. I love the fact that I’m bad at [things], you know what I’m saying? I’m forever the 35-year-old 5-year-old. I’m forever the 5-year-old of something.”

On creative output

“Creative output, you know, is just pain. I’m going to be cliché for a minute and say that great art comes from pain. But also I’d say a bigger statement than that is: Great art comes from great artists. There’s a bunch of people that are hurt that still couldn’t have made the album that was super-polarizing and redefined the sound of radio.”

On “Yeezus”

“It’s like trap and drill and house. I knew that I wanted to have a deep Chicago influence on this album, and I would listen to like, old Chicago house. I think that even “Black Skinhead” could border on house, “On Sight” sounds like acid house, and then “I Am a God” obviously sounds, like, super house.”

On love

“Any woman that you’re in love with or that loves you is going to command a certain amount of, you know, energy. It’s actually easier to focus, in some ways….I’m the type of rock star that likes to have a girlfriend, you know? I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love and likes to be able to focus. And that inspires me.”

On his impending parenthood

“Well, I just don’t want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby.”

On his outfits from 5–7 years ago

“Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.”

For the full interview jump over to the New York Times.

Lorna Stewart-Thornton