Covering i-D’s “The Faith In Chaos” Summer 2020 issue, Pharrell brought Kanye into the fold and spoke on a myriad of topics, including Michael Jackson, fashion, the impact of the coronavirus and breaking barriers in hip-hop.
West had effusive praise for Williams, comparing him to Jackson in how his fearlessness to shatter expectations elevated him to the top of the music industry. “It felt like you really tore down the walls and the doors much like Michael Jackson did a generation before, and 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,” said West.
The Chicago superstar then celebrated Jackson’s boldness by rattling off his list of daring accomplishments.”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 catalog. That was Mike Jackson, right there,” he said.
He later added: “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. I’m like every time the media isn’t happy with me it’s like, ‘Here they go. They’re gonna come and Wacko Jacko me.’ Which in some ways, they’ve tried to do.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Pharrell offered his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic and how it has impacted people on an emotional level. “I think we need to be clear that this is a plague we’re living through at the moment. 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 said.
Pharrell 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.”