“There’s a tremendous power in using the least amount of information to get a point across.”
This is the importance of minimalism according to Rick Rubin -- and is perhaps the definition Rick Rubin’s and Kanye West’s work on the rapper’s latest album, Yeezus.
In an intimate interview with The Daily Beast, the groundbreaking producer and co-founder of Def Jam Records recalled working with West on this week’s No. 1 Billboard album. Sharing that West enlisted him for help, Rubin recounted his thoughts on the work West originally presented him with.
“We listened. I thought I was going to hear a finished album, but actually we listened to probably three and a half hours of works in progress,” he told The Daily Beast.
With just five weeks to finish the entire project, Rubin told the tale of anxiously scrambling with West to create the 10-track album, which the rapper specifically instructed to be completed by “taking stuff away.” The process was long and grueling, according to Rubin.
“To me it seemed impossible what he was asking. I remember I wasn’t feeling that well that day, and I was thinking, Is the music making me sick? I don’t feel good about this,” he said. “ We ended up working probably 15 days, 16 days, long hours, no days off, 15 hours a day. I was panicked the whole time.”
Chronicling the crunch, the producer shared an anecdote in the interview about West skipping out on recording to attend a baby shower, leaving five songs without vocals. He explained his reaction:
“I say, ‘OK,’ thinking it’s not OK, and he says, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll score 40 points for you in the fourth quarter,’” he said. “[...]And then it was full-on NBA finals. It probably ended up taking two hours. Five vocals. He wrote two lyrics on the spot.”
Rubin also revealed an exciting tidbit about his take on West’s groundwork for Yeezus, stating that he advised West that, “Maybe this is two albums. Maybe this is just the first half.”
When asked if there is a Yeezus 2 on the way, Rubin replied: “Might be.”
Check out the entire interview here.