The rapper sat down with the Beats 1 host for an unfiltered conversation touching on his Christian conversion, pornography addiction, and more
Kanye West is almost ready to release Jesus is King, his gospel-inspired new album. We say ‘almost’ ready, because it keeps getting hit with delays. Although he’s been hosting public listening sessions of the unfinished record around the USA, the album missed its scheduled release date at midnight today (October 25) as West was still tweaking the final mixes.
That hasn’t stopped him engaging in a promotional blitz, though. Besides putting out an IMAX film about the album’s creation, he also invited Beats 1’s Zane Lowe over to his ranch in Cody, Wyoming for a wide-ranging interview about the album. Bearing in mind that this is Kanye West we’re talking about, it understandably touched on a lot of things that weren’t the album.
Over the course of two hours, West talked about everything from his recent Christian conversion to his pornography addiction, the death of his mother to his mental illness issues. It’s a lot, and for Kanye West fans, an unfiltered look into where the artist is at right now. Here are some of the key moments from the interview.
KANYE SAYS HE IS “UNDOUBTEDLY THE GREATEST HUMAN ARTIST OF ALL TIME”
Let’s get the most Kanye of all these Kanye quotes out of the way first. At one point in the conversation, West refers to himself as “undoubtedly the greatest human artist of all time”. He followed this up by saying that his greatness is the reason that people were disappointed with his continued support for Donald Trump. “It’s not even a question at this point, it’s just a fact,” he said. “For the greatest artist in human existence to put a red hat on was God’s practical joke to all liberals. Like, ‘Nooo, not Kanye!’” West did affirm later in the interview that his own politics are “the most liberal”, so there’s that, and that he still plans to run for president in the future.
HIS PURPOSE NOW IS “TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL”
As you’d expect from an artist who’s named his new album Jesus is King, Kanye West is now fully recommitted to Christianity, having recently been “born again”. He has all the zeal of a new convert, too. “Now that I'm in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me,” he said. Still, much like his support for Donald Trump, which was primarily focused on things like the president’s “dragon energy” rather than his specific policies, West’s commitment to religion seems to be more about ‘Jesus’ in the abstract.
“There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessey had done for me, but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me, and in that I’m no longer a slave, I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free,” he said. “The most space that I had to think is when I went to the hospital. One of the things that happened when I went to the hospital is I started reading the Bible and I started writing and copying out Bible verses.”
HE HAD A “FULL-ON PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION”
West explained that his father left a copy of Playboy laying around when he was five years old, and that it was his “gateway into full-on pornography addiction”. “It’s affected almost every choice I made for the rest of my life from age five to now, having to kick the habit,” he said. West said that this later turned into a sex addiction, which fed into his ego. “You know that Playboy that I found when I was five years old was written all over the moment when I was at the MTV awards... My mom had passed a year before. And I said some people drown themselves in drugs, and I drown myself in my addiction: sex.”
HE ASKED PEOPLE WORKING ON JESUS IS KING TO ABSTAIN FROM SEX
Understandably, West’s religious breakthrough was at odds with his past views on sex and porn. As recently as last year, he was acting as the creative director for the Pornhub Awards, but while working on Jesus is King he had to set up lifestyle guidelines for people involved in the project. He asked people to fast during portions of the album’s creation, and asked them not to engage in premarital sex. “When people pray together and fast together, the power is increased,” he said. “There were times where I went to people that were working on other projects and said ‘can you just work and focus on this?’ I thought if we could all focus and fast – families who pray together stay together.”
HE HAS ANOTHER ALBUM DROPPING ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Jesus is King may not be out yet, but West says he’s already got another album planned: Jesus is Born. The album will be released on Christmas Day, obviously, and he describes it as his “Sunday Service album”, referring to the communal live music events he’s been hosting across the States this year. As for the actual content of the album, that’s still up in the air.