By Peyton Blakemore
On Wednesday (April 15), the magazine released its May cover story featuring Ye, who was interviewed by GQ's editor-in-chief, Will Welch. Given that interviews with Mr. West are increasingly rare, it's no surprise that Will got all he could out of the interview, discussing everything from Kanye's spiritual rebirth to his political beliefs to the loss of Kobe Bryant, who passed away just days before his initial interview with Ye was conducted.
Being that so much was covered in the feature, we've picked a few highlights:
Kanye on the upcoming election:
I’m definitely voting this time. And we know who I’m voting on. And I’m not going to be told by the people around me and the people that have their agenda that my career is going to be over. Because guess what: I’m still here! Jesus Is King was No. 1! I was told my career would end if I wasn’t with her. What kind of campaign is that, anyway? That’s like if Obama’s campaign was “I’m with black.” What’s the point of being a celebrity if you can’t have an opinion? Everybody make their own opinion! You know?
On how he went from saying ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’ to supporting Trump:
Black people are controlled by emotions through the media. The media puts musicians, artists, celebrities, actors in a position to be the face of the race, that really don’t have any power and really are just working for white people. When it’s said like that, it’s kind of obvious, right? We emotionally connect to someone of our color on TV and feel that this person is speaking for us. So let me say this: I am the founder of a $4 billion organization, one of the most Google-searched brands on the planet, and I will not be told who I’m gonna vote on because of my color. Now, if that speaks to you, cool. But I’m speaking for myself.
On the loss of Kobe:
Kobe was one of my best friends. There’s one street that I drive to go from either my office or my home to the property where the domes were built. [Editor note: The street is Las Virgenes Road, the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people just four days prior to Kanye's interview with GQ.] So now there’s no way for me not to be as determined as Kobe every time I drive down that street. It’s game time…This is a game changer for me. He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’s facts!…No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together. And now it’s like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things—but I’m not taking any mess for an answer now. We’re about to build a paradigm shift for humanity. We ain’t playing with ’em. We bringing home the trophies.
On his music:
I was thinking of not rapping again, because I rapped for the devil so long that I didn’t even know how to rap for God. Then one of my pastors told me, '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 one thing made the difference.