Granderson: Kanye West’s life and art are one. You don’t have to keep watching for the other one.
At the end of the most exciting interview with Kanye West to date, a fan asked me to go further back in his relationship with Kanye. I asked him if he had ever asked him about his relationship with his deceased mother, and he told me he did. I asked him if he had ever asked him about the controversy surrounding his father and his own relationship with his father, and he told me he did. I asked him if he felt that his art was part of what brought him and his father together, and he told me he did.
So then, I was asked, “Have you always thought your mom had a lot to do with his art?”, and I said, “Yes, and it’s a mystery to me why she didn’t get the respect she deserves.” I thought maybe he wanted to keep this secret all to himself until the end, but he told me he wasn’t going to do that.
It’s clear from the conversation that Kanye can be honest, and it’s clear from the conversation that Kanye feels that his art is part of who he is, and part of who he will grow into. His art is a part of his life, and the only way to keep that art separate from his life is to pretend that it’s not. Kanye doesn’t want to be part of Kanye West, and he wants to be the best version of who he is. But he believes the best version of himself is the one that comes from who he is, and that he can do so more powerfully through his art than through anything else. So he says, “I think the most powerful art comes from being in the moment. When you’re creating, you’re expressing yourself exactly how you are. You’re not trying too hard to pretend something else is going on, you’re just being you.”
It took me a long time to realize how important this insight was for Kanye to have, because no one has taught him that. His mom was so involved in his life that she was part of the reason he wanted to be a musician, but now he doesn’t want to do that—that’s who he is—and that’s who he is. He had to learn how