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behind kanye’s mask

06/12/13 2 Comments


I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people: “This is the level that things could be at.” So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities.

with the coming of yeezus a few days away, mr. west shared with nytimes’s jon caramanica his thoughts on family, the new album, motivations behind his other projects, changes in his identity, fighting restrictions, etc.  some quotables:

When your debut album, “The College Dropout” came out, the thing that people began to associate with you besides music was: Here’s someone who’s going to argue for his place in history; like, “Why am I not getting five stars?”

I think you got to make your case. Seventh grade, I wanted to be on the basketball team. I didn’t get on the team, so that summer I practiced. I was on the summer league. My team won the championship; I was the point guard. And then when I went for eighth grade, I practiced and I hit every free throw, every layup, and the next day I looked on this chart, and my name wasn’t on it. I asked the coach what’s up, and they were like, “You’re just not on it.” I was like, “But I hit every shot.” The next year — I was on the junior team when I was a freshman, that’s how good I was. But I wasn’t on my eighth-grade team, because some coach — some Grammy, some reviewer, some fashion person, some blah blah blah — they’re all the same as that coach. Where I didn’t feel that I had a position in eighth grade to scream and say, “Because I hit every one of my shots, I deserve to be on this team!” I’m letting it out on everybody who doesn’t want to give me my credit.

You look at Jay or Diddy, and I’d say like, 90 percent of the time, you think they’re having a good time. With you, I would say, I don’t know, 50-50 maybe? Or 30-70?

Maybe 90 percent of the time it looks like I’m not having a good time.

A lot happened between “Graduation” and “808s,” obviously: a lot of struggle, a lot of tough things for you. [Mr. West’s mother died in 2007.]

Creative output, you know, is just pain. I’m going to be cliché for a minute and say that great art comes from pain. But also I’d say a bigger statement than that is: Great art comes from great artists. There’s a bunch of people that are hurt that still couldn’t have made the album that was super-polarizing and redefined the sound of radio.

One of the things that you’ve thrived on over the years is sort of a self-conception as an outsider, that you’re fighting your way in. Do you still, in this moment, feel like that?

No, I don’t think I feel like that anymore. I feel like I don’t want to be inside anymore. Like, I uninvited myself.

What changed?

I think just more actual self-realization and self-belief. The longer your ‘gevity is, the more confidence you build. The idea of Kanye and vanity are like, synonymous. But I’ve put myself in a lot of places where a vain person wouldn’t put themselves in. Like what’s vanity about wearing a kilt?

check out the full interview here.


young kings

11/13/11 2 Comments

even though chess is a great game of skill and intelligence, it hasn’t attained a degree of popularity that matches its quality.  nytimes gives it a moment in the sun(day paper) with a feature on three local prodigies.  james black jr. (brooklyn, left), justus williams (the bronx, center) and joshua colas (white plains, right) all earned the title of chess master before their 13th birthdays.

“Masters don’t happen every day, and African-American masters who are 12 never happen,” said Maurice Ashley, 45, the only African-American to earn the top title of grandmaster. “To have three young players do what they have done is something of an amazing curiosity. You normally wouldn’t get something like that in any city of any race.”

for more on their rise and future, check out the full article below.

Masters of the Game and Leaders By Example – NYTimes

lucian freud


realist painter lucian freud died this week.  sigmund’s grandson was most known for his portraits.   peep a sample of his work below and click here for his obit in the nytimes.

“reflection of two children (self portrait)” 1965

“portrait of queen elizabeth two” 2001


live from bedford-stuyvesant


photographer russell frederick tells a bed-stuy story a thousand words at a time.  it’s a tale of diversity, in both experience and personality, that truly captures the essence of brooklyn.  click on the too-fly young boy for a photo slide show of frederick’s work and an interview that he did with ny times.

related:  mr. frederick is a member of the photographic collective kamoinge (which means “a group of people working together” in the east african language kikuya).  established in 1963, kamoinge hopes to “address the under-representation of black photographers in the art world.”  go to their home page below to learn more about the group’s history and to see their photo gallery.


nytimes: the scene makers

12/14/10 1 Comment

cam gets computers ‘putin, the new york times gets actors acting.  from matt damon to javier bardem, natalie portman to chloë moretz, the paper captures the 14 actors and actresses “who defined cinema in 2010” in their element.  click on the pic for the video slideshow and the link below for the accompanying article.

Actors Create 14 Decisive Moments: Solve Sundsbo’s Video Portraits –

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