Miley is over hiphop after she spent a few years twerking in rappers videos and trying to rip off the black culture. The 24-year-old singer said she was distancing herself from hip-hop—or, at least, the type she feels oversexualizes women.
Did folk singer Melanie Safka [with whom Cyrus performed in 2015] influence you?
She did, and I grew up with her. But I also love that new Kendrick [Lamar] song [“Humble”]: “Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks.” I love that because it’s not “Come sit on my dick, suck on my cock.” I can’t listen to that anymore. That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little. It was too much “Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my cock” — I am so not that.
I was torn on whether I was going to work with certain producers that I really like. But I feel if we’re not on the same page politically … My record is political, but the sound bite doesn’t stop there. Because you can write something beautiful and you know E! News will ruin our lives and say, “This is a political record.” Because then I’m the Dixie Chicks and I’m getting my album smashed in the streets, and that’s not what I want. I want to talk to people in a compassionate, understanding way — which people aren’t doing.
Is it hard to not smoke?
It’s easy, dude. When I want something, it’s fucking easy for me. But if anyone told me not to smoke, I would have not done it. It’s because it was on my time. I know exactly where I am right now. I know what I want this record to be. And not in the sense of manipulation — wanting something from my fans or the audience, like some slimy thing — “How do I get attention?” I never thought about that. Dude, I was shocked that people gave a fuck about the [MTV Video Music Awards in 2013, when she performed with Robin Thicke] — the twerking, the teddy bear. It’s a totally different time, and I don’t think that would freak people out anymore.
Our perceptions of a lot of things are changing at lightning speed. Still, there’s an audience that’s maybe a little scared of you, those who might have a tendency to vilify the “other.”
I was talking about this with my sister [Noah], who’s 17, and she’s doing music right now. She basically grew up in L.A. She’s never known anything different. She doesn’t even know she’s open-minded, it’s the only kind of mind she has ever known. It’s mind-boggling to me that there was even a controversy around me having black dancers. That became a thing, where people said I was taking advantage of black culture, and with Mike [WiLL Made-It] — what the fuck? That wasn’t true. Those were the dancers I liked!
When I met Pharrell [Williams], before “Blurred Lines,” before “Happy,” people wouldn’t take meetings with me because they said, “He hasn’t had a hit in 10 years.” They wanted to put me with the Dr. Lukes of the world, the Max Martins, and put me through the fucking assembly line, and I said, “No. This is someone who actually cares about me. This is someone I feel safe with.” I got completely shut out, and I had to just trust myself. What feels right to me feels right to my fans, because they know some dude in a suit didn’t tell me to do it. And by the way, I brought “Wrecking Ball” to Luke. No one put me in the room with Luke. I had done “Party in the U.S.A.” with him, and that’s just someone I thought could handle that sound. Did you ever get to come to a Bangerz show?
Yeah, I did.
I was crazy about making the tongue slide work. I was so embarrassed to be on the red carpet and so many of those fucking disgusting photographers would tell me to blow a kiss, and that’s not me! I don’t want to blow you a kiss. I didn’t know what to do with my face, so I stuck my tongue out, and it became a rebellious, punk-rock thing.