At one moment particularly you had “White Lines” and this was stuff that was talking about what was going on in the streets and in the inner cities with people who were struggling. And that was something that, I mean, I had my own context for that, you know, that I wrote about it in my own way. But it was the music that came along and gave voice to those things outside of what was then considered a protest music context, you know, and did so really beautifully. And so, you know, I’m not well-versed in it but I have listened over the years. You know, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., I listened to Tupac, I listen to Kanye West. Kanye West is incredible, you know. I mean, the record-making facility, you know, there’s a lot of hours in those records and they’re …
He’s a perfectionist like you.
I mean some of these, there’s like, just the production. And I saw him on television, he did the song called “Blood on the Leaves" on the Later…With Jools Holland — it was fantastic, you know. He’s a very, I still find him very interesting. I’m not necessarily driving [to] it in my car, you know. I probably fall back on the stuff that I listened to as a kid or something if I’m driving around. But I do listen. I listen to a lot because there’s a lot of information in it and it’s just fascinating record-making.
Photos: Danny Clinch, Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic
Jay Z’s Samsung deal, the Drake leak, Kendrick Lamar’s verse on “Control,” Pusha T’s “Numbers on the Boards,” and Kanye West’s face. NPR’s Microphone Check crew share their opinions of both the meaning and the quality of the music — and it’s not all unanimous.
(More from NPR Music’s Best Music of 2013.)
"I think I will be coming back to this record for the rest of my life.” — Ann Powers on Kanye West’s Yeezus
— Want to win tickets to see Kanye West and A Tribe Called Quest play Madison Square Garden? You’re gonna want to follow @NPRHipHop today.
Reach out and touch croissants.
Of course. Now someone release the Yeezus vocals already. —Lars
In the ’90s, Mike Dean helped create the Dirty South sound; now, he says, “Me and Kanye are like a band.”
Seven badass female culture critics assess and, well, psychoanalyze Kanye West’s bachelor party
Must-read Internet. —Lars
Download NPR Music’s preview of some of the albums we’re most excited about this summer, including premieres from No Age, Shigeto, Gauntlet Hair and Pinkish Black, plus music from Kanye West, Neko Case and more.