Pharrell Williams has stepped into a new vibe of love, peace and positivity in these unprecedented times. Earlier, the recording artiste and producer had a phone conversation with rap superstar and business mogul, Kanye West for I-D Magazine’s The Faith in the Chaos Issue. Their thought provoking phone conversation addressed wide-ranging issues including the new normal, state of the music industry, upcoming business ventures and staying connected to their musical roots and influences.
“You broke down the doors in fashion for us. Going out to Paris, you had this elegance, it’s not something that even can be learnt. Then to be the first guy to have a skateboard on the cover of The Source, for example. These moments, where we had to break out and just do something completely different… ” Kanye West says of Pharrell’s fusion of the music and luxury life.
These two creative geniuses have history together. Pharrell admitted that he first encountered Kanye when he was just finding his way in the music business whilst Pharrell was one of the most dominant figures in hip-hop, as an artist and super producer at the time.
“I think when we first met it was at the very beginning of your career. I don’t think any of your music was out yet? I remember meeting you and thinking, ‘This guy is different.’ Your persistence was infectious, and when you released the music it was everything you said it was going to be” Pharrell says.
Today, the rapper-business mogul-social media influencer has become a unique mix of musical drive, business genius, and ecstatic self-promotion.
The interview began on a light note, talking about the love, care and entrepreneurship.
Here are 5 talking points from the conversation that stood out for us
1. Pharrell Williams’ Take on the New Normal
There was no way they would not have spoken on the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cultural effect it is having and could continue to have in the future.
“I don’t think there will be such a thing as a new normal — it doesn’t do enough justice to the difference in who we were pre-pandemic and who we will be moving forward,” he added. “I think it’s made a lot of people very wary and on edge. Life’s going to have a different kind of gravity than it’s ever had before. It’s also gonna make us really separated. We’re disconnecting from each other even though online we’re probably more connected than we’ve ever been. It’s a bit like the Tower of Babel, if you will. We’ve never been this close, and there’s a lot of advantages that come with that. There’s a lot of disadvantages, too, and a lot of grey areas.”
Kanye on his part said this period is a chance to change humanity as a whole. “We need to change our mentality,” he said. “Readjust our mindset and use that readjusted mindset to change the world. The only thing that can change the world is people changing.”
2. Pharrell Williams’ is Kanye’s Music Generation’s King of Pop.
Kanye West compared Pharrell Williams’ influence on black culture to that of the late king of pop, Michael Jackson.
“It felt like you really tore down the walls and the doors much like Michael Jackson did a generation before,” West told Williams. “In a way, he’s very similar to Michael Jackson, in the ways where Michael Jackson was doing covert, super gangsta stuff, like he’d just pop the needles off. He kissed Elvis Presley’s daughter on MTV. Black culture used to be… we used to be fronting all night, but Michael was doing stuff that was different to what we were programmed to understand as being what we should do. He bought The Beatles’ back catalogue. That was Mike Jackson, right there.”
West spoke on Jackson’s influence, later drawing parallels between their own lives by saying that the media’s portrayal of Jackson and himself is usually negative.
“We should have something that says we can’t allow any company to tear down our heroes. Not on The Shade Room, not on social media and especially not in documentaries,” West said
3. Kanye West is Still Big on Spirituality
Kanye stressed the importance of creating a space for your inner self to preserve a spiritual drive.
“Sometimes you gotta turn the phone off,” he said. “And just go to Hawaii for nine months. Or move everything to Wyoming and find that answer. Time moves differently here in Wyoming. It’s a different stream of consciousness.” He said referring to himself having bought a ranch in Wyoming.
“Everything is up to God and we have this opportunity to collectively feel, to be saved and answered, to collectively think about what is happening really. We have this time to pause and reflect, to ask each other how we’re really feeling. What are we feeling? What am I feeling? What are you feeling? And then we need to ask what we’re thinking, and the deepest level is knowing. That gut feeling.”
4. There’s no one Pharrell Williams Would Rather have the Interview with than Kanye
it was a love fest between the two as Pharrell Williams also praised Kanye’s influence on music and the world. ” You know, when i-D asked me who I want to do this interview with, it was like you, that’s it. I believe you’re one of the most influential entities the world has ever seen, because of the way your presence and your point of view is rooted in so many worlds.” Williams said “When you speak, they’re going to listen. Whether they agree, disagree or whatever, they’re going to hear you, and there are going to be people who are reading this who are gonna need to hear from you.”
5. Kanye West is Working on New Projects (Of Course)
Kanye also spoke about his latest projects and what he’s been working on in the past few weeks.
” And that’s exactly what we’re doing now, sitting here in Wyoming figuring out how to do manufacturing during COVID. The Foam Runners we’re coming out with in June are our first American manufactured items and we gotta figure out how to do localised manufacturing. But it’s more of an approach than a description. Everything, whether that’s a time in history or a genre of music or a style of clothing is just a different approach to getting things done. I feel that this summer, when people are overly getting influenced by images – it’s like a dog chasing its tail. It seems like it’s harder for people to breakout and actually do something and really take on everything the world has to offer.”
BONUS – And… Stevie Wonder entered the chat!
“…Speaking of Stevie Wonder, actually, that reminds me – he wanted you to call him.” Pharrell said as Kanye referenced a Stevie Wonder song.
“Do you know what, I was just thinking this morning that I should of called Stevie yesterday! Give me the number. Don’t put it in this interview!” Kanye says.