Kanye West sat down with Access Hollywood to promote his new album and spent at least part of the interview stuffing his foot into his diamond-encrusted mouth (at least in the eyes of Taylor Swift fans). When talk turned to the topic of the Grammy Awards, West couldn’t hide his disdain for the last few years of Recording Academy voting. “Where’s our instant replay clock? Why are the last four Albums of the Year: Taylor Swift, Dixie Chicks, Ray Charles and Herbie Hancock? Like, you know, with all due respect… that’s inaccurate.”
Looks like some old habits die hard. Head below to watch the wide-ranging chat, in which Kanye offers his own picks for Grammy glory and his latest thoughts on “Runaway”.
So which albums would West honor with the top prize at the Grammy Awards? “[Justin Timberlake’s] FutureSex/LoveSounds, Gnarls Barkley. How about Usher — Confessions? How about albums that sold 10 million?”
“I pinpoint the Grammys and the VMAs because they have to take responsibility, because they mean something to us,” he continued. “Little kids, 6 years [old], that are singing in front of the mirror. They’re also thinking about their Grammy speech; they’re thinking about when there will be a VMA so these people, whoever run them… they have to take some responsibility to say what really happened in culture this year because we’re marking it down.”
Does he have a point? Of course. But is “what really happened in culture” just code for “sold the most”? And if it is, do we really want the Grammys, for instance, to become even more focused on rewarding mainstream hits — at the expense of more adventurous or left-field music that deserves exposure? The odd part about Kanye’s commentary is that the Grammys have long been criticized for bending too far to showcase mainstream commercial albums in the major categories. Is this really about the fact that he lost to Herbie Hancock? (For the record, we were rooting for Kanye that year).
But Kanye seems to have a solution to his disappointment with award shows: sitting them out. As he said to Ellen earlier this week, he no longer wants to sit in the audience during the industry’s big award telecasts. Why? Because he probably can’t stop himself from interrupting someone’s speech if he doesn’t think they deserve it.
“As far as like sitting through the audience, its like, I can’t do it because I care,” says Kanye. “I can’t just see it happen over and over, for years and years and years. So if they’re going to do something to change or just make it make a little sense — get it a little bit closer to making a little bit of sense, then I can sit through it, but I’m sorry I have conviction. But I will perform though.”
We didn’t know how much we really missed West’s live TV performances until he came back big at the VMAs and on Saturday Night Live, so thanks for at least giving us that, Kanye. Also — you should maybe think about drafting another lengthy Twitter apology to Taylor Swift. Fearless went six times platinum. We’d say that counts as being pretty damn popular.