22 Quotes From Kanye’s BBC Interview To Make You Think About Race, Culture, And Creativity
Here's why we should actually be talking about the interview. CC: Jimmy Kimmel, the world.
From Part 1:
I'm gonna take music and I'm gonna to try to make it three-dimensional, like in Star Wars, and the hologram'll pop up out of R2-D2. I'ma try to make something that jumps up, and affects you, in a good or bad way.
We're all gonna die one day. So, live like that. Live like you could die tomorrow. You know? Go for it.
For me, in my life and my creativity, it's been challenging and everything, but I was able to ascend to massive levels, to heights and never stop because of the foundation that my mother and father and grandfather laid through civil rights, what Michael Jackson did through music videos and the ground he broke. There would be no Kanye West if it wasn't for Michael Jackson.
People have issues with me and they say ... they classify my motivational speeches as, like, rants and things like this. 'Why is he saying that? Why is he doing that?' blah blah blah.
I've reached a point in my life where my Truman Show boat has hit the painting. And I've got to a point that Michael Jackson did not break down. I have reached the glass ceiling. As a creative person, as a celebrity. When I say that, it means, I want to do product, I am a product person. Not just clothing, but water bottle design, architecture, everything, you know, that you could think about. And I've been at it for 10 years, and I look around, and I say, wait a second, there's no one in this space that looks like me, and if they are, they're quiet as fuck. So that means, wait a second, now we're seriously, like, in a civil rights movement.
When I see Hedi Slimane, and it's all like, OK, this is my take on the world. Yeah, he's got some nice $5,000 jeans in there. It's some nice ones here and there, some good shit here and there. But we culture. Rap the new rock 'n' roll. We culture. Rap is the new rock 'n' roll. We the rock stars. [Zane Lowe: "It's been like that now for a minute."] It's been like that for a minute, Hedi Slimane! It's been like that for a minute. We the real rock stars, and I'm the biggest of all of them.
From Part 2:
What I want to explain to everybody out there is, like, I make music. I can do it but I shouldn't be limited to one place of creativity. And it's literally like only one or two or three reasons why I haven't been able to break that down."
You guys don't understand that I did the Yeezys and they eBayed for $90,000 and people wanted them bad as whatever, right. But I didn't get a call from Nike the next day. You guys don't understand that I met with companies and they say, 'What we're trying to figure out is how we can control you and control that.' ... No, I don't think you're really hearing what I'm saying. As a creative, for you to have done something to the level of the Yeezys and not be able to create more … so when I say, 'Clean water was only served to the fairer skin,' what I'm saying is, we're making product with chitlins. T-shirts — that's the most we can make. We can have our best perspective on T-shirts, but if it's anything else, your Truman Show boat is hitting the wall.
We got this new thing called classism. It's racism's cousin. This is what we do to hold people back. This is what we do. And we got this other thing that's also been working for a long time when you don't have to be racist anymore. It's called self-hate. It works on itself. It's like real estate of racism. Where just like that, when someone comes up and says something like, 'I am a god,' everybody says, 'Who does he think he is?' I just told you who I thought I was! A god! I just told you. That's who I think I am. Would it have been better if I had a song that said, 'I am a n***a? Or if I had a song that said, 'I am a gangster'? Or if I had a song that said, 'I am a pimp'? All those colors and patinas fit better on a person like me, right? But to say you are a god, especially when you got shipped over to the country that you're in, and your last name is a slave owner's. How could you say that? How could you have that mentality?
I always feel like I can do anything. That's the main thing people are controlled by. They're slowed down by the perception of themselves. I was taught I could do everything. And I'm Kanye West at age 36.
People are going to look at this interview and say, 'I don't like Kanye. Look, he looks mad. I don't like his teeth.' They're gonna say, 'Why doesn't he just focus on music? I liked him as music.' They're gonna say, 'Hey, I want the old Kanye, blah blah blah.' But one thing they will do? They will play this interview in five years. They will play this interview in 10 years, and say, 'He called that, he called that, he called that. He said that was gonna happen, he said that was gonna change.'
I'm a postmodernist, at best, as a career. I'm a futurist, mentally.
From Part 3:
It's our earth. Like, you remember, like, you'd see future movies, and everything was in the sky? Like, it moved to the sky? … That's the internet! That's what it is! That's our sky! That's our future sky! We kinda thought we knew what it was, and it's flying cars. … We didn't get flying cars, but we can send movies, in, like, two seconds.
Go listen to all my music, it's the codes of self-esteem. It's the codes of who you are. If you're a Kanye West fan, you're not a fan of me, you're a fan of yourself. You will believe in yourself. I'm just the espresso. I'm just the shot in the morning to get you going, to make you believe you can overcome the situation that you're dealing with all the time.
You don't realize, I am so frustrated. I am so frustrated. I've got so much I want to give. I've got ideas on color palettes, ideas on silhouettes, and I've got a million people telling me why I can't do it, that I'm not a real designer. I'm not a real rapper either. I'm not a real musician either. Like I don't know how to play the piano. I'm an artist. I went to art college.
I've dedicated the last 10 years of my life to this. I've spent 80% of my time working on this, and 20% working on music. Why do you think the song 'N****s in Paris' was called 'N****s in Paris'? Because n****s was in Paris! That's why we were in Paris. I put in the 10,000 hours. Because I had an office in a small courtyard across the street from Colette where I couldn't even find a good pattern cutter. That's why we were in Paris. I put in the 10,000 hours. I've got a very particular, specific take on men's footwear. No one can say I cannot design, or understand how to design, a guy's sneaker.
Do you know how many times I sat with people and said I want to make a store. And they said, 'How could you make a store? blah blah blah.' It's in my code. It's in my code. Have y'all ever seen Wreck-It Ralph? You remember how that girl in there ... she was the glitch? You tellin' me they don't look at me like I'm the motherfucking glitch? You tellin' me people don't look at Kanye West like the glitch? Right now. And she was on the side of the video game, the whole time! It's in my code. It's in my code. [Zane Lowe: "I see what some people say in comments and whatever after these things get posted, and I go, all right, those are the people that think you're the glitch."] Yeah, they broke Vanellope's car! Vanellope Von Schweetz, they broke her car!
From Part 4:
This is what I was telling that writer in W. I'm learning what I want. This is the reason I'm working at five architects at the same time ... there are very few people that are in the position to educate themselves as much as I can educate myself. For me, it's constant information intake.
For me, dopeness is what I like the most. People who wanna make things as dope as possible. And by default, make money from it. The thing that I like the least, are people who only wanna make money from things whether they're dope or not, and especially make money from making things [the] least dope as possible.
You know, to be a visionary, all you have to do is make decisions based off of your eyes instead of your ears and your memory. So at the moment of the MTV awards, I made that decision off of my eyes. I was like, that's not correct. That is invalid. Completely invalid. And everybody else, 'Don't move,' that's off their ears. 'Oh, he gon' get in trouble,' that's off their memory. They don't move. They're enslaved. They're enslaved to what could possibly happen. We're constantly enslaved.
It's funny; you drive in a Maybach past a homeless person and you ask, 'Who's more free?' You could be trapped to your possessions. 'You gotta do this next deal 'cause you gotta do this with your house and you gotta get this car.' And everybody [who] stay next to you last name is Jones, and you trying to keep up with all of them. And that's what it's like to be a celebrity.
Both this song ['Black Skinhead'] and 'I Am a God' were made after Hedi Slimane didn't let me into his first [Yves] Saint Laurent show. He wanted me to go but he just told me I couldn't go to any other show other than that. I was like, wait a second. I can't go? You're not telling no editor they can't go to any of these shows. I'm not your boy. Like you can control me in some way. Off of that, I went into the studio with the producers that made the music for his show (laughs) and made 'I Am a God' and 'Black Skinhead' ... That was my reaction.