US Magazine‘s Ian Drew talked to Quincy Jones about his new album and about the younger singers and rappers he respects. The reporter compared him to Kanye West, and Jones responded how most 77-year-olds who produced Thriller and worked with Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, etc. would:
Us: Kanye West is similar to you in that he’s the producer everybody wants to work with in the last decade …
QJ: How man? No way. Did he write for a symphony orchestra? Does he write for a jazz orchestra? Come on, man. He’s just a rapper. There’s no comparison. I’m not putting him down or making a judgement or anything, but we come from two different sides of the planet. I spent 28 years learning my first skill. I don’t rap. It’s not the same thing. A producer has to have some sort of skills that enable him to be a producer. It’s totally different to know what to do with 16 woodwinds you know from piccolos down to bass clarinet. It’s a whole different mindset. No comparison. None.
Later he says, “I don’t think about [West] much. He’s a great rapper, but there are a lot of good rappers,” and talks about his admiration for Ludacris. Jones later clarified his thoughts on West on his website:
I’d appreciate it if people didn’t take my comments about Kanye West or anyone else for that matter out of context to contrive a story. I have nothing but respect for my little brother Kanye and what he has achieved in his young career and I look forward to watching his evolution as an artist. There is a reason why we put him on the new We Are The World 25 for Haiti — he’s a great rapper. But having been in the music business for more than 60 years and having been fortunate to accomplish what I have over that time, it’s not unreasonable to put a comparison of Kanye at this time in his career and myself into the proper perspective. This is not dissing Kanye, this is simply trying to express that I’m not a rapper! I don’t need to take anyone else’s props away from them. Let’s all just try and keep the record straight.
Still, this will probably hurt West’s feelings, since he’s made it clear that he wants to be the next Michael Jackson. And Jackson wouldn’t have been Jackson without his work with Jones. Maybe West and Jones could bond over their love of Swedish girls? (Jones’s ex-wives include a Swedish model/actress, a German model/actress, and an American model/actress, Rashida Jones’s mom).