Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins isn’t someone you might first pick as a music veteran capable of offering some unusual yet penetrating insight on modern rap music, but that’s certainly what he did in an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe posted yesterday. The topic of conversation was Yeat, a rapper who has become massively popular for his slurry of debauchery, despondency, and raw energy.
After playing Corgan a Yeat song, Lowe asked him for his thoughts. Corgan went on to muse about the urge to tear the world apart and find fulfillment in the face of slow and inexorable collapse. Read his response below via Stereogum. It’s important to note that, contrary to many commenters’ thoughts, Corgan is not suggesting that Yeat consciously endeavored to put such heady thoughts in his music, but rather, that these concerns are reflected in how it sounds.
I hear someone struggling with the dissociative world. I understand why people have ripped society apart. Whether it’s gender, the idea of, like, “What is a marriage?” and all this stuff. All those things need to be examined hard. I have no problem with people ripping stuff apart. So what I hear is an artist struggling how to put those ripped pieces back together. ‘Cause the human spirit at the end of the day wants to be standing on a black beach in New Zealand looking at the stars and saying, “I am whole, I am complete, and I know what the hell I am doing here.” So for a lot of people, ain’t no beach. Ain’t no stars. Ain’t no future. But they’re still feelin’ all the human impulses. “Who am I? Who’s gonna love me if I’m myself?” Or whatever. I’m not saying that’s this artist’s journey, but that’s what I hear. So what you hear is what on the surface sounds like an abuse of technology. The Auto-Tune ain’t workin’ right. The loops are actually out of time. But I don’t think that’s on purpose as in a, “Hey, let’s be clever and do this.” That’s a, “This is making me feel something that’s fresh, and it feels like right now.”