Kanye West Sends Out Grammy Warning
SANTA MONICA, California — So what if the Grammy nominations haven't been announced? Kanye West is enraged anyway.
On Monday, when West performed a special high school concert the rapper spouted to MTV News backstage about predictions he'd heard that his Late Registration LP would be a likely contender for Album of the Year — but wouldn't win because of West's tendency to run his mouth (particularly his comment that "George Bush doesn't care about black people").
"If I don't win Album of the Year, I'm gonna really have a problem with that," said West. "I can never talk myself out of [winning], you know why? Because I put in the work. I don't care if I jumped up and down right now on the couch like Tom Cruise. I don't care what I do, I don't care how much I stunt — you can never take away from the amount of work I put into it. So I don't wanna hear all of that politically correct stuff. You put the camera in front of me, I'm gonna tell you like this. I worked hard to get here. I put my love, I put my heart, I put my money [into Late Registration]. I'm $600,000 in the hole right now on that album and you tell me about being politically incorrect?
"People love these songs," he continued. "You talk to somebody whose grandmother just died and listens to 'Roses,' and you tell me about being politically incorrect. I'm talking about history. I never got five mics [top rating] in The Source, I never got five stars from Vibe. They said it's not a classic. So 'Jesus Walks' is not a classic? 'Roses' is not a classic? 'Gold Digger' wasn't song of the year? 'Oh, but Kanye, you can't say that.' Why? Who are you? I don't know you."
West mocked artists who "love everybody except themselves," calling it "cliché media training." He also made it clear he's not planning to shut up anytime soon.
"I said I was the face of the Grammys last year. I'm 10 times that [this year]," West said. "Get your cameras ready. Two things: Do not let me get up on that stage and do not let me get up on that stage. Either way, we going crazy!"
The Grammy nominees will be announced on Thursday, and the ceremony is scheduled for February 8 in Los Angeles.
Last fall, West attacked the American Music Awards backstage at the event after losing Best New Artist to Gretchen Wilson. That tantrum made West a focus at the Grammys in February, where he was the leading nominee (with 10) and won three awards, including Best Rap Album for The College Dropout and Best Rap Song for "Jesus Walks" (see "Kanye Steals The Show, But Ray Dominates Grammy Winners' Circle"). In Sunday's Los Angeles Times, critic Robert Hilburn wrote that the Recording Academy, which organizes the Grammys and is considered by some to be late in recognizing new artists, could reclaim credibility this year by giving West the Album of the Year. There was no mention of West's rants.
Also on Monday, West revealed the next single from Late Registration will be "Touch the Sky," which in some ways is a response to his critics.
" 'Touch the Sky' is what my life is about, it's what this year's been about," he said. "To anyone that feels like something is so far away, [the song is] just the concept of actually being able to leap above the environment that you're in. All the naysayers and the haters and people say, 'You'll never make it that far, you'll never make it out of this town, we'll call you,' and all those things, and finally you get the opportunity to touch the sky. That's what this year's about, so no matter what they give to me or try to take from me, there's nothing you can take from me. We've already touched the sky.
"With or without any accolades, whatever it is, the fact that people listen to this music and it's connected with people, the fact that you see fans crying in the audience — you can't tell me anything after that because there's so many places and establishments where people are out of touch," he continued. "When someone hears your song and cries, then you're in touch and that's what matters. At that point, you feel like you've touched the sky."
Check out "All Eyes On: Kanye West," only on Overdrive.
— Corey Moss