Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels Confirms Kanye West Is Working on New Music
Sometimes, if you want reliable updates on some of the biggest stars, you have to go to someone who's just as high up on the food chain. So for the latest on Kanye West and the rest of Def Jam, Variety interviewed Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels. Naturally, one of the hottest topics discussed in the conversation is the status of Kanye West's new music.
Simply put, Bartels confirms Kanye is working, but neither denies nor confirms the claims that Kanye has been plotting out of a remote part of Wyoming to record new material. He continues to say that when he speaks to Kanye, it's more about larger issues and not trip itineraries. It sounds like when Kanye is ready to release new music, he's ahead of the curve, according to Bartels.
"I don’t know if that’s real or not, I read the same things you do," Bartels said when asked if Kanye was working out of Wyoming. "When we talk we don’t really get down to the granular of where he’s going and how he’s flying there, we keep it much more on a broader level. Kanye is working, that’s been widely reported. He’s always very focused, and our relationship with him is that we always have great respect for him and when he’s ready to do something or talk about something, we’re there for him, we totally support his vision and his focus, and that’s where we leave it. I check in with him from time to time just to see how he’s doing. What’s great about our relationship is that I always know when it’s go time — because he wakes me up."
Asked if we could expect new Kanye music this year, Bartels said, "You never know. He’s always working, so maybe so. It’s never something we’re pushing — it’s always led by the creative side."
We know Kanye has been working on new material with people like Pusha T and Francis on the Lights, so now we simply wait.
Elsewhere in the interview, Bartels continues to give updates on the rest of the Def Jam roster like Justin Bieber, Iggy Azalea, Alessia Cara, Vince Staples and 2 Chainz. By looking at Def Jam's releases in retrospect along with Bartels in this interview, it's important to note that the label has been patient with developing its roster as well as continuing to champion the OGs.
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