Even though today it seems like the entire music industry is at Kanye West’s feet like a cherub-bedecked Persian rug, there are some who feel his lionization is slightly premature—particularly compared to someone like Quincy Jones, who understandably bristled when Us Magazine attempted to draw parallels between the two:
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.
Why do we get the feeling Kanye’s next album will have, like, 32 piccolos? Anyway, Jones further put things into perspective, saying, “I don't think about him much. He's a great rapper, but there are a lot of good rappers. I just did The View with Ludacris, who's one of my favorites.” Sensing that he’d likely created a “feud” that would temporarily rouse the Internet out of its pre-Thanksgiving slumber, Jones quickly took to his own website to clarify his remarks:
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.
Granted, Quincy Jones has produced a lot of beautiful things in his years, from Thriller to Rashida Jones, and his contributions to pop culture naturally outweigh Kanye’s just through the sheer longevity of his career. But answer this: Does Quincy Jones own a Fatburger franchise?