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Music June, 25 2013

What It Was Like to Work with Kanye West on ‘Yeezus’

Like Kanye West‘s past work, Yeezus is filled with instantly recognizable names and fresh faces alike. Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon returns as do Mike Dean and Anthony Kilhoffer. Alongside these three are Hudson Mohawke, Evian Christ, Travi$ Scott and Noah Goldstein, all of whom gathered around to relate their tales of working with Yeezy on his sixth solo studio album. Check out a brief excerpt below and read the rest of the piece here.

On getting the call:

Justin Vernon: After Twisted Fantasy, I kind of assumed that I’d get the call again at some point. I get along with Kanye really well and I think his musical decisions are exquisite. He feels otherworldly – he talks about being a god and shit, and his confidence in himself is inspiring. But at the end of the day, he’s a musician working in the lab. We have fun. So when the call came for this album, I was like, “Shit yeah!”

Noah Goldstein: When I was 17, I saw Dr. Dre’s episode of “Behind the Music”, and he was sitting at the console, looking through the glass. I was like, “That’s the dude I want to be!” Then, a few years later, I was working on hip-hop mixtapes at this studio in West Philadelphia, and it was a terrible situation, a really bad neighborhood. I almost got in numerous altercations there. So I quit there after a year and a half, and said, “The only way I’m ever working in hip-hop again is if I work for Jay-Z and Kanye West.” It was super tongue-in-cheek. Then, almost exactly 10 years later, Kanye hired me to work on Dark Fantasy. And four months after that, we were working on Watch the Throne with Jay.

Travi$ Scott: My manager Anthony Kilhoffer has been Kanye’s engineer/producer from the beginning, and he showed him my ”Lights (Love Sick)” video during the Cruel Summer sessions. I was pretty much homeless when Kanye first flew me to New York. Later on, I was in Miami with ‘Ye and Will Smith– I was playing Will my album, he fucks with it. He’s like my homey now. Then ‘Ye’s like, “You gotta come to Paris.” I got a passport and went. It was just me, ‘Ye, and Noah Goldstein at first. We weren’t even doing actual studio shit. We were just chilling, running around A.P.C.’s offices, making music on my laptop.

Evian Christ: When Kanye’s camp was working on Cruel Summer, they were apparently listening to my mixtape Kings and Them a lot. So when they decided to come out with this industrial, electronic, dark vision for Yeezus, they hit me up. In January, they told us, “Kanye’s in the studio on Sunday, it’d be good if we could have some stuff to play him.” That was on the Friday before, so I had two days to make some tracks that were specifically tailored to Kanye West. I don’t think I went to bed that night. I just made track after track after track– nine altogether– and sent them over. A couple of days later, they were like, “This is great, we’ve started working on one.” That track eventually became “I’m in It”.

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  1. Source: Pitchfork

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