Rick Rubin On Producing Kanye’s Yeezus

While finalizing Yeezus, Kanye commissioned Rick Rubin to executive produce the album. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Rick speaks on how their session came to fruition and experience.

When and why did you join the “Yeezus” project?

Kanye came over to play me what I assumed was going to be the finished album at three weeks before the last possible delivery date. We ended up listening to three hours of partially finished pieces. The raw material was very strong but hadn’t yet come into focus. Many of the vocals hadn’t been recorded yet, and many of those still didn’t have lyrics. From what he played me, it sounded like several months more work had to be done. I joined the project because after discussing what he had played for me, he asked if I would be open to taking all of the raw material on and help him finish it.

How would you describe the new sound he was driving for, and how you did you help him arrive there?

He wanted the music to take a stripped-down minimal direction. He was always examining what we could take out instead of put in. A good example would be the song that became “Bound.” When he first played it for me, it was a more middle of the road R&B song, done in an adult contemporary style. Kanye had the idea of combining that track with a cool sample he had found and liked – I removed all of the R&B elements leaving only a single note baseline in the hook which we processed to have a punk edge in the Suicide tradition.

Can you recall a scene from the sessions that might help people understand his method in the studio?

We were working on a Sunday [the same day West attended a baby shower for girlfriend Kim [Kardashian] and the album was to be turned in two days later. Kanye was planning to go to Milan that night. Five songs still needed vocals and two or three of them still needed lyrics. He said, “Don’t worry, I will score 40 points for you in the fourth quarter.” In the two hours before had to run out to catch the plane, he did exactly that: finished all lyrics and performed them with gusto. A remarkable feat. He had total confidence in his ability to get the job done when push came to shove.


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  • herohiro

    i guess impossible does take a week

  • lickit

    would be so crazy if j.cole sold more records than kanye. the rap community wud go ham!!! lol

  • Slim Baller

    I wish kanye actually got some good production on this shit, all his solo albums have boring production, and no kanye is really not a good producer except for Power

  • A

    Being a huge Kanye fan, I really hope this album isn’t a slam at white people or racist in any way.

    It would be very contradictory given the fact Rick Rubin just stated that he basically tied all the loose ends together and helped Kanye complete the album. So this isn’t white people trying to bring Kanye down or the “New Slaves” concept he’s talked about. You asked for help, and he got it. Hope I’m not disappointed.

  • Facts

    I wonder when Kanye is going to come out the closet

    most feminine artist in the game, both physically and mentally

  • Ridalen

    Lmfao nigga said Kanye’s albums have bad production. I’m dying

  • Leanin’

    @Ridalen Im Dying over here too!! That nigga must of been listening to His OWN Shit when he thought he was listening to Kanye’s albums! Bad Production?? lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TC

    So basically the album was rushed, I don’t expect this album to be that good, but it is Kanye, I just think that he could have added 3 more tracks instead of having just 10

  • Ma Clarte

    @TC yeah i was hoping for more than just 10 track since he originally had a lot more but rumor has it that it was cause of Rick that he cut back on some and said he is all about minimalism. hope for a deluxe or additional track or 2 on itunes.

    @Slim Baller – as Kanye said in his interview.. KILL SELF!! That might be the dumbest comment Ive ever read on here.. its up there with Lil B fans.

  • Devante

    Of course it doesn’t take Kanye long to to complete a song.. Check the booklet in his albums the niggas credits like 6 writers and 10 producers.

  • Nathaniel

    only yeezus could finish all those lyrics with all that gusto in 2 hours. ha!

  • WestCoast

    worst rap album of all time

  • MasterRapper2000

    Simple and to the punch, after watching Kanye, bump his head against a street sign, and acting like a little girl. I have concluded that Lil Wayne, is still holding the prince-throne. I don’t believe Kanye has what it takes to become the best rapper in the game. Lil Wayne can become even greater than MJ if he focus all his energy, and retired all drugs his pumping into his system..

  • LuxuryRap



  • ha

    @A Shut up you sound stupid

  • ha

    Kayne is the best right now
    Lil Wayne hasn’t put out great music in the last two years

  • Nickey Black

    I never bought a Kanye album besides WATCH THE THRONE, but I think I really might cop.

    I became a somewhat fan when I heard the classic FLASHING LIGHTS.

    I’m interested in hearing Ye on this particular album for some reason. Although the recent . music I heard isn’t “car bumpable” in the hood, but his lyrics were resonating.

  • MasterRapper2000

    @ha Kanye – on his way out – Lil Wayne soon to be king. Enough said.

  • Slim Baller


  • Jaymalls

    Name one artist, much less rapper, who comes w/ a different sound each album and still push the bar sonically and creatively??? All people talk about is everything BUT the music when it relates to kanye (both whites and blacks). With that said, I come to the conclusion that niggas wont fully appreciate Ye until he is gone.

  • Young Lucky

    yall niggas is so fucking weird. like, why do you care about how good it is and more importantly how much it sells??? AINT LIKE YOU NIGGAS LEGALLY PURCHASED ANYTHING NEW IN YEARS ANYWAYS!!! i aint never bitched over nothing free, nothing like you niggas be doing. fuck yall talking about

  • Young Lucky

    yo @ridalen lmao that nigga was buggin right? kanyes production is and has always been crazy

  • creo

    I remember when college dropout came out.played it for the hood homies. I love the album 1st thing the homies say is i should trade it in 2the warehouse for store credit. Followed by laughter from the room. I knew then sum ppl cnt even read n are so stupid.they could never appreciate sum next level shit. Wit dat being said kanye aint for every1. If u want more then the regular the man is always sumthing 2look forward too. From album covers,concepts,lyrics,production. June 18th

  • Shady13

    Yeezus is fire. Y’all may find it a weird album but the shit’s dope.

  • Dashing


  • Shady13

    Nah, I never lie.

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  • Dashing

    Fair enough, it’s gonna be a vey divisive album though. You would agree with that, I think?

  • Ruthless

    I don’t understand why some people come here and comment on what a genius Kanye is and what he has done for hip hop but to be truly honest this guy has done nothing for hip hop except maybe make gays feel more welcome. He has never set any trends as some may suggest, he did the soul sampling when it was already popular and switched to auto tune when it was already widely used and with his latest album uses drum and bass with very little lyrics. Yeezus is not hip hop, its not anything but a mixture of shit thrown together but the dick riders will eat it up cause that is all they know.

  • dll32

    @ruthless: go and eat a dick, blind swaggot!

  • DoinTooMuch

    Just heard the album. Really disappointed. Only good songs are Bound and New Slaves, and maybe blood on the leaves. Everything else is straight techno, demonic sounding music. Kanye really lost his way musically. I blame Kim K.

  • StarFox64

    i cant front this album is type crazy right now..

  • ZoomZoomDad-Otis

    50 Cent the Real King of Rap Music. G-Unit, bitches


    i dont know what to think about the album, im gona leave it alone

  • One question only for the serious Ye fans..is this album as good as MBDTF or and of the College themed albums?

  • yeezus

  • TOKapo

    Yeezus is not music it’s art in sound. go listen to it to hear for yourself. this album is really dope IMO

  • King E

    Not even Rick Rubin could save this steaming pile of $hit, I’m a day one Kayne Stan, and I’ll admit the album sucks donkey balls, it’s like bubonic plague horrible. Seriously you’ll be disappointed.

  • lodownj818

    im a huge fan kanye fan . i stand by all his music and work… but goddamn 10 tracks and most of them techno sounding… idk i like the songs but for 10 tracks only and on top of that he didnt amaze me with the lyrics he dropped on this …

  • escobar2013

    Dope Album. Different sound. Mos def Yeezy season

  • The wise

    Damn hearing alot of people dissapointed with this album…as i said its probly his worst an i could tell by his singles…i called it..but ill give the album a listen later

  • The wise

    Damn hearing alot of people dissapointed with this album…as i said its probly his worst an i could tell by his singles…i called it..but ill give the album a listen later!

  • SayItAin’tSo

    …meanwhile in Dreamville

  • Nigga slim

    Kanye just might be the weakest nigga of all time. All this nigga beats is boring ass trash and don’t get me started on his corny lyrics. This coon think he a fashion icon and yet nobody wear the fruity shit he always sportin .Real niggas like Juicy J will murder this nigga on the boards and on the beats. And what is it with this nigga with these beats with no snare n shit lol?! Nigga kill yoself

  • Les Coonvies

    Of course he wrote all his lyrics n rapped em all that quick, cause all his shit is garbage

  • DenCO

    Man o man.
    as a huge kanye fan and a fan of all his past work,
    this album is not doo-doo.
    im super disappointed though
    average at best 🙁

  • I’m Lyin

    Just based on beats its a top 2 kanye album. Lyrics aren’t as strong as any of his albums but I just feel production wise he took it to somewhere hip hop is not used too and that is why some people do not like it. Although a lot of people do the edm house sound, they didn’t do it how he did on this album. Great album overall.

  • AP

    @I’m Lyin you hit the nail on the head man, the production is incredible

  • G

    ppl talk sh!t but when the shit hits the fans…

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  • MrSkeezyMak

    Terrible album, only tolerable tracks were 5 and 10.

  • Anti-Lollipop KId

    This album took a minute to grow on me. But listen all the way threw a couple times and this shit hard as fuck. Track with Cheif Qweef nice, also the joint with Charlie Wilson. Have to admit when I first listened I was like this is so-so, but after a couple plays this shit started to grow on me. Maybe to industrial sounding for some tho.

  • B

    J. Cole 8
    Kanye 0

  • casper21

    Yet another project rushed to the very last possible day. What’s the point, your a superstar on the label. If you need a few more months tell them to fuck off. I’m not a fan of Kanye anymore but I’d be willing to spare some time and really listen to the record and at least try and give it an open mind listen if I knew he spent an extra year on the album with Rubin instead of doing everything in an hour to hand it in.

    I remember Scarface or someone, maybe Kweli saying most of these artists being happy and bragging about 1 taking it. And that reality is it all sounds like they just did one take. When will artists learn to take more time for a project. I’ve listened to a few leaks off this and I’m not even inspired to download the entire album let alone buy it.

  • XX

    Seriously, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one that thinks this album was kinda fucking terrible. “Bound” was literally the only good song on there.

  • Niggas don’t even know who rick rubin is! this is a power move!!

  • ya’ll gon learn to ‘ye!!! lol http://www.youtube.com/user/KINGSEANFAME CHECK OUT THE NEW HI-DEF *OFFICIAL* VIDEO SEAN FAME – FORGED IN THE FIRE

  • rick rubin is a legend! http://www.youtube.com/user/KINGSEANFAME CHECK OUT THE HI-DEF *OFFICIAL* VIDEO SEAN FAME – “FORGED IN THE FIRE”

  • kanye is a genius. http://www.youtube.com/user/KINGSEANFAME CHECK OUT THE HI-DEF *OFFICIAL* VIDEO SEAN FAME – “FORGED IN THE FIRE”

  • Wreck

    No, the album is not that good. The production is great but I’m like Rick he needed about 3 months for lyrics. He rushed the content and the production was so strong it drowns him. This wasn’t finished and 10 tracks was lazy.

  • JewsAndNiggersWithNoTalent

    Every single thing made by kanye west will be completely forgotten within 5 years, just like all the other crap produced by jewish hacks like Rick Rubin. Beyonce, jay-z, rihanna – IT”S ALL NIGGER JEW DOG SHIT.

  • JewsAndNiggersWithNoTalent

    For every time I’ve been forced in public to listen to nigger jew dogshit like Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and allthe other dreck produced by washed-up, Long Island jew satanist asshole idiots like Rick Rubin: I’d like to throw one jew and one nigger into a trash incinerator. GET THIS FUCKING JEW DOG SHIT OFF THE PLANET ***NOW***