Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin has stepped forward to provide more details on the rapid creation of rap star Kanye West‘s chart-topping Yeezus album and the panic he experienced during the two-week period.
While Rubin said Ye seemed cool under the pressure, he admitted the cutthroat deadline had him feeling uneasy.
“To me it seemed impossible what he was asking. I remember I wasn’t feeling that well that day, and I was thinking, Is the music making me sick? I don’t feel good about this. We ended up working probably 15 days, 16 days, long hours, no days off, 15 hours a day. I was panicked the whole time,” Rubin explained. “There was so much material we could really pick which direction it was going to go. The idea of making it edgy and minimal and hard was Kanye’s. I’d say, “This song is not so good. Should I start messing with it? Can I make it better?” And he’d say, “Yes, but instead of adding stuff, try taking stuff away.” We talked a lot about minimalism. My house is basically an empty white box. When he walked in, he was like, “My house is an empty white box, too!”” (The Daily Beast)
Rick also hinted at possible plans for a Yeezus 2 to drop at a later date.
“Initially, he thought there were going to be 16 songs on the album. But that first day, before he even asked me to work on it, I said, “Maybe you should make it more concise. Maybe this is two albums. Maybe this is just the first half.” That was one of the first breakthroughs. Kanye was like, “That’s what I came here today to hear! It could be 10 songs!” [Yeezus 2?] Might be.” (The Daily Beast)
Earlier this month, the music pioneer said the LP needed ample work done to it when Mr. West contacted him in May.
“Kanye came over to play me what I assumed was going to be the finished album at three weeks before the last possible delivery date. We ended up listening to three hours of partially finished pieces. The raw material was very strong but hadn’t yet come into focus. Many of the vocals hadn’t been recorded yet, and many of those still didn’t have lyrics. From what he played me, it sounded like several months more work had to be done. I joined the project because after discussing what he had played for me, he asked if I would be open to taking all of the raw material on and help him finish it.” (Wall Street Journal)
West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar recently admitted it took him a few Yeezus listenings before fully understanding Ye’s vision.
“It was hard for me to grasp it on the first take,” K-Dot told MTV News at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. “I got it, but as I kept listening throughout the week, I understood where he was going and that was him stepping out of the box again and doing what he felt. And as an artist, we all need to take heat into that and salute that because, at the end of the day, it’s so much we can do following radio, following the politics in the business so for somebody to come back again and do what they want, it helps out new cats like myself, Cole, Drake, whoever, so salute.” (MTV)