John Mayer has weighed in on Kanye West’s recent controversial comments, admitting the rapper is bordering between “intoxicating and toxic”.
The New Light singer sat down for an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 and Apple Music, during which he spoke about his own music, the industry as a whole and his thoughts on fellow artists including Kanye.
John worked with Kanye and Common recording Go back in 2005, and has stayed in touch with the rapper ever since. Asked for his thoughts on Kanye’s recent headline-grabbing behaviour, which has included him pledging his support of U.S. president Donald Trump and remarking that slavery “was a choice”, John put it down to the way the musician’s overly-creative brain works.
“That is intoxicating and sometimes toxic,” he said. “Because how can you be sure what is someone’s true assessment of a boundary line and what is just another imaginary imposed boundary line? You’re just not sure where the walls are.
“When you’re that powerful at building the road as you go, it’s gotta be very hard to be able to trust what’s a real road block and what’s an imaginary road block. Because your whole life… as an artist… is breaking through imaginary road blocks.”
John also revealed his feelings towards Shawn Mendes, calling him “John Mayer 2.0, without the weird software viruses.”
“He’s a better version of a celebrity than I ever was,” he continued. “He’s not as volatile, but I like where I’ve ended up, put it that way. Now that everything’s sort of flattened out and we’ve levelled out at cruising altitude, it’s lovely. I feel like my ambitions have settled down. I’ve retired from a certain type of ambition, which I think is right.”
The singer turned 40 last October, and has been looking at life differently since reaching the landmark age. When asked how being 40 has influenced his thoughts for the future, John admitted he has been thinking more about “selectively retiring”.
“When you get to this age, the great thing about being 40 is that you have seen the lifespan of people’s opinion,” he shared. “I really feel like everything’s so wide open right now, for me. I have selectively retired from certain things. I’ve retired from the idea that this song you hear is going to make me a star… a bigger star, and that I’m going to win a record of the year. I think that’s up to other people now and I’m just more excited by the fact that I can do anything today.”