Beyoncé may be “more powerful than [her] mind can even digest and understand” – but her inflated sense of self-regard has nothing on her pal Kanye West, who compares himself variously to Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, Rick Owens, Walt Disney Henry Ford, and Anna Wintour in a new 4,600-word interview with the New York Times. At one point, West even says that he and he alone is the nucleus of all society.
This shouldn’t exactly come as a shock; after all, the guy did name his new album Yeezus. And perhaps more importantly, West is hyper-aware of the vital role arrogance plays in his “brand”: “The idea of Kanye and vanity are like, synonymous,” he tells the Times during a brief moment of self-awareness.
That being said, the interview really is a breathtaking study in the art of narcissism – regardless of whether it’s utterly serious or at least partially manufactured. Prepare yourself for the breakfast of champions, e.g. reading the piece’s seven most egomaniacal quotes – as well as one that may just endear the guy to you after all.
On hard work, maturity, and never, ever holding a grudge:
“I was on the junior [basketball] team when I was a freshman, that’s how good I was. But I wasn’t on my eighth-grade team, because some coach – some Grammy, some reviewer, some fashion person, some blah blah blah – they’re all the same as that coach[…]I’m letting it out on everybody who doesn’t want to give me my credit.”
On fighting for justice:
“You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, ‘This is wrong.’”
On the consequences of his confrontational instincts:
“It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness.”
On the fight to stay true to himself:
“I would hear stories about Steve Jobs and feel like he was at 100 percent exactly what he wanted to do, but I’m sure even a Steve Jobs has compromised. Even a Rick Owens has compromised. You know, even a Kanye West has compromised.”
On Kanye believing in Kanye:
“I knew when I wrote the line ‘light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson’ [from the song ‘Slow Jamz’] I was going to be a big star. At the time, they used to have the Virgin music [stores], and I would go there and just go up the escalator and say to myself, ‘I’m soaking in these last moments of anonymity.’”
On those who would rain on his parade:
“I’ve had meetings where a guy actually told me, ‘What we’re trying to figure out is how we can control you.’ In the meeting, to me! Why do you want to control me? Like, I want the world to be better! All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness! Why would you want to control that?”
On his legacy:
“I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z[…]I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.”
And, in a rare moment of actual humility, on the way he used to dress:
“Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.”
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