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Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008
Kanye: 'I've sacrificed real life'

Kanye West
West is set to release his fourth album 808s & Heartbreaks later this month

Kanye West is one of the world's highest profile rappers, a hit with critics and the public alike - but massive success is never easy for the person involved, especially if they're trying to change their tried and tested sound.

When Newsbeat catches up with him after his show at London's O2 Arena, the rapper still seems troubled by the events of the last year, including the death of his mother and hostility from some of his fanbase over his new direction.

"To be under scrutiny and paparazzi, you know, some days you just really want to be normal and stuff," West explains. "I always used to have that support system, my mom would be there no matter what, she was there before anything.
No one controls me, no one can tell me what to do
Kanye West

"You know, we were together for like thirty years and now when I'm on that stage and I look out and I say, 'What am I gonna do with the rest of my life? When does a real life start?'

"I've like sacrificed real life to be a celebrity and to give this art to people."

West was certainly giving his art to a massive number of people during his gig at the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena on Thursday.

The star's Glow In The Dark Tour has been travelling the world since April 2008 with spectacular stage sets, including a crashed UFO.

"It was very good," says West of the London gig. "I, like, zoned out, did like the twenty-five minute freestyle and everything.

"I just really wanted to show London how much I appreciate art and theatre and sci-fi and spectacle and story-telling."

'808s & Heartbreaks'

West's been promoting 808s & Heartbreak, his fourth album and the follow-up to 2007's Graduation, on these last legs of the tour.
Kanye West and Estelle
West duetted with Estelle at his gig at London's O2 on Tuesday

It's a controversial album, with many critics and fans unhappy that the rapper has actually decided not to rap on the songs. Instead, West is singing.

"Well, I got a lot of melodies in me," West explains, in reaction to the complaints. "It's like someone who has drawings and ideas in them and they're scared to show them because people are gonna say they can't draw, and for all you know they might be the next Basquiat.

"They might never be the most perfect drawings but it might be something special and heartfelt about them that people connect with.

"It's like when people sing in the shower or they dance - you know, there's a lot of people who like to dance but they're not professional dancers. So I'm not a professional singer but I like to sing.

"I think of melodies, I think of really strong melodies and stuff. You know, [Red Hot Chili Peppers'] Anthony Kiedis wasn't the best singer in the world, but that's my favourite group."

'No responsibility'

It's clear West wouldn't be so groundbreaking in hip hop if he didn't have his bullish attitude and, some would say, arrogance in the quality of his own work.

"I don't know if you understand with me, I don't feel like I have any responsibility to anybody, responsibility to rap, responsibility to sign somebody," he explains.

"No one controls me, no one can tell me what to do and people need to understand they're not in control of other people, they're only in control of their selves.

"I just did some music for me and if people like it then that's good and if they don't then it's not good for them."

Kanye West was speaking to Max from 1Xtra.

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