“The other thing about Rick is that I don’t trust him”: Jacob Collier says Rick Rubin is “hypocritical” to say pure art is only made for oneself

“I think that he’s made a lot of, not just popular, but actually beautiful and meaningful work for many people.”

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[L-R] Jacob Collier and Rick Rubin

Credit: Frank Hoensch/Redferns [L] and Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Spotify [R]

Jacob Collier has labelled Rick Rubin “hypocritical”, due to his philosophy that art is only pure if made for the artist and not the audience. Collier says a significant portion of Rubin’s catalogue was made with a large commercial audience in mind.

Appearing on the Colin and Samir podcast, on an episode entitled We interviewed the Mozart of Gen Z, Collier says of the record executive and co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, “I don’t trust him, because he started his career making this commercial music, which is beautiful and we all love it, and it’s amazing.”

He continues, addressing Rubin’s idea that art is only pure if you make it for yourself, “I’m sure he has his own opinions of that work, but I think to say art is only pure or meaningful if you make it only for yourself is hypocritical of him. I think that he’s made a lot of, not just popular, but actually beautiful and meaningful work for many people. I think what he may be trying to say is that he wasn’t fulfilled by the work, which is totally valid.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Collier says that he disagrees with Rubin’s philosophy that “the audience comes last,” explaining, “There’s no one way to do anything – you can make work for people; you can make work for an audience; you can conform to the algorithm; you can make an engaging thumbnail. That’s cool.”

It’s clear that Collier has a lot of respect for Rubin, however, which is unsurprising given his influence and legacy. He says, “As someone who solves a lot of problems myself and has my own particular angle… I’m not the ultimate angle. I’m me, I’m Jacob, I see the world of the way I see it.

“But I’d love to sit with Rick at one point and just talk to him and push him. And I would also welcome to be pushed because all of us need to be examined, our opinions need to be examined and squeezed and broken.”

You can see everything Collier has to say in the interview here:


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