Kanye West opens up during interview with David Letterman

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: In this handout photo provided by Forum Photos, Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West attend the Travis Scott Astroworld Tour at The Forum on December 19, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Forum Photos via Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: In this handout photo provided by Forum Photos, Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West attend the Travis Scott Astroworld Tour at The Forum on December 19, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Forum Photos via Getty Images) /

A new season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman was released today on Netflix. The legendary late night host interviewed musician Kanye West during the first episode of the second season.

In an interview with David Letterman, Kanye West opened up on an array of subjects including family life, his mental health and addressing political statements from 2018.

Speaking of family then and now

Kanye West’s parents divorced when he was young, he tells Dave Letterman that he thought they divorced when he was three, but found out on an episode of Behind the Music that they divorced soon after he was born. His father taught him about the ideology of power and force – what do you have the power to do and what do you have the force to do – which is something that he lives by to this day.

Another thing that West credits to his father is his outspoken behavior. West calls it his  “genetic coding” and says that his father would also take microphones from people, except he wasn’t as famous as Kanye so no one cared.  Now as a father, Kanye applies the idea of genetic coding to his  own children and states that his oldest daughter North is already the person that she’s going to grow up and be.

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His mother’s death in 2007 is something that has greatly impacted him and his work. In 2008. A year after her death he released his most emotional album in his discography with 808s and Heartbreaks.

During the interview, Kanye compared the death of his mother to how its impact parallels to  Michael Jordan’s father’s death and his career. West has gotten to a place of acceptance and a realization that everything in the universe happens the way it’s planned too.

He carries the spirit of his mother with him wherever he goes and can see her in his kids everyday. As he is reminiscing about her he knows that she would be proud of the father that he has become and she would have a blast with her grandkids.

The most sombering part of the interview is when Kanye tells Dave a story about a teddy bear that his mom bought him but since it wasn’t created by artist Takashi Murakami he didn’t want it.

"“I remember my mother bought me a bear that was multicolored and I was very into Takashi Murakami at that time when that third album – Graduation, so she bought it. She said it kind of feels like Takashi Murakami but I said ‘I don’t want that, that ain’t no Takashi Murakami bear and stuff like that!’  And then she passed, y’know, a few weeks after and I did, y’know, everything I could to find that bear and place that bear on top of all the Takashi Murakami stuff I had in the house.”"

With his upbringing from his parents and the way he dressed, it took Kanye a while to be taken seriously as a rapper. In the early aughts he was heralded as a producer but since he wore pink polos in an era of long tees and baggy pants, his peers only saw him as a producer. Adding that to the fact that he would hold some of, what would become, his most popular instrumentals for himself, a story that was told on his first  album, it’s surprising to see how far Kanye has come along in his career.

Speaking on mental health

After giving Dave Letterman a tour of his new residence and showing some new threads from his Yeezy fashion line, the pair discussed mental health and Kanye’s Sunday Service. Surprisingly, Andy Kaufman is someone who West credits as giving him courage. The late comedian would always try to be in front of the joke and that’s something that stuck with Kanye in his own life.

In November of 2016, Kanye had a mental breakthrough and cancelled his tour due to paranoia and delusions  and had to be treated at UCLA Medical Center. He and Dave discussed their mental health problems. If West isn’t taking medication, he knows his bipolar episodes will ramp up.
This causes him to suffer from hyperparanoia which feels as if everyone wants to kill him.

West hasn’t been on medication for 8 months. He makes comments about society and media and how it influences our mindstate and  our mental health. West also questions the side effects of his medication because he gained a lot of weight while taking it.

On the other hand, Dave Letterman says that he was a guy that would throw things, pull phones off the wall,  but when the doctor gave him medication it felt like “getting a new pair of glasses” since it managed to calm him down.

When talking about mental health and the creative process. Letterman questions if medication will slow down the process and creativity of an artist who doesn’t use it. Kanye has an interesting quote, “If you guys want these crazy ideas, crazy stages, crazy music there is a chance it might come from a crazy person” which could be taken as a sense of self-awareness.

Speaking on past controversial statements

After setting the internet on fire with his meeting at the White House in 2018, Letterman and Kanye discussed a few different social and political topics in America, from politics to the Me Too movement, but nothing was off-limits.

While discussing the Me Too movement Kanye, from a male perspective, states that men are going to be scared to talk about it because they may have done something to someone 30 years ago. West thinks that men are going to be constantly in fear in our society. The audience erupted with applause as Letterman counterpoints that their fear isn’t equal to that of  women on the other side of that.

Kanye’s main issue is that in the court of public opinion both sides aren’t given the same credence as in actual court. Letterman explains that over time this may not be the case, change may be pitifully slow, but men and women will find a way to communicate that isn’t threatening to women.

As someone who is viewed as being outspoken, he explains why he wears his Make America Great Again hat.  Kanye says he has never voted in his life, which Letterman responds that Kanye doesn’t have a say in the matter.  West argues that people who voted for Trump are being treated as enemies of America. Letterman and West have a civil dialogue about what is going on which is always nice to see.

Closing Out

The episode ends with a Sunday Service performance by Kanye at a sound studio in Burbank, California. Kanye talks about opening up his heart and making pure and positive music. He would remove the hi-hats and 808 drum patterns so the music didn’t have any ‘programming’ in it.

During the Sunday Service, West would adjust the lighting and frequencies to add an extra layer to allow the music to soothe those that are in attendance. The attendees will sit in a circle to get the fullest effect from the music blasting from the speakers. It’s the small things like this that show how much Kanye puts into his art beyond the recording booth. Letterman asks Kanye, “When will you know your vision is complete?” Kanye responds “that there will be world peace,” which isn’t a crazy goal after all.

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Season two of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman is now streaming on Netflix. Other season two guests include Lewis Hamilton, Melinda Gates, Zach Galifianakis, Tiffany Haddish and Ellen Degeneres.