Kanye West Defends Celebrities: “F*ck All This Sensationalism; We Gave You Our Lives!”
Kanye West tackles rumors, racism and more in a wide-ranging new essay for Paper, using the notion of the American Dream as a launching point. For starters, he thinks collaboration and pooling talents is the key to a better world. He explains, “I think it’s so important for me, as an artist, to give Drake as much information as I can, A$AP [Rocky], Kendrick [Lamar], Taylor Swift, any of these younger artists as much information as I can to make better music in the future. We should all be trying to make something that’s better.”
“I feel very positive about the future,” writes West. “People are starting to recognize and just give me a chance to be looked at, respected and a part of the conversation.” He later says, “It’s funny to be so famous and noted for one thing, and to have so many people try to box you out of another form of art, even if you’ve proven you’re an artist of one form.”
He explains, “My goal isn’t to ‘break through the fashion world;’ my goal is to make usable sculpture. My goal is to paint. My goal is to be as close to a five-year-old, or a four-year-old, or a three-year-old, as possible.” And West thinks he’ll be successful. He says, “There’s no world that can stop me from what I love. Not the rap world, not the fashion world, not the real world.” But West also knows things are not supposed to be easy:
I heard this quote from Steve Jobs: someone came up to him when he was working on something and said, “Hey, just do it. It will be easy.” And he said, “Wait a second. Anything halfway good is at least medium hard.” There’s no easy way out. Just choose what you want to focus on. Right now, over 70 percent of my focus is on apparel. I haven’t even given my College Dropout of clothing yet. We’re still on mixtapes.
As he expands his professional life into new areas, West says, “It’s just harder for me to do music now, period. It’s easier for people who focus on it all day and who are younger in their concept of what they want to do with it. I am not what I would consider truly a musician. I am an inventor. I am an innovator.”
West continues, “I care about innovating. I don’t care about capitalizing off of something that we’ve seen or heard a thousand times. I’m not a capitalist in that way. I’m an innovator. That’s my job. I like two things: I like innovating and I like making things better. It’s not that I always have to invent things that are new. Sometimes I can take something that’s there and attempt to make a better version and that’s what gets me off. Bottom line.” He’s also got some thoughts on one persistent, out-there rumor:
I heard a comment — a joke — about the Tidal press conference being an Illuminati moment. If there was actually an Illuminati, it would be more like the energy companies. Not celebrities that gave their life to music and who are pinpointed as decoys for people who really run the world. I’m tired of people pinpointing musicians as the Illuminati. That’s ridiculous. We don’t run anything; we’re celebrities. We’re the face of brands. We have to compromise what we say in lyrics so we don’t lose money on a contract. Madonna is in her 50s and gave everything she had to go up on an award show and get choked by her cape. She’s judged for who she adopts. F*ck all of this sensationalism. We gave you our lives. We gave you our hearts. We gave you our opinions!
West writes, “There isn’t an example of a living celebrity that has more words formed against him, but just a little self-belief can go a long way. I think the scariest thing about me is the fact that I just believe. I believe awesome is possible and I believe that beauty is important.”
He sees racism as declining in influence. “Racism is something that’s taught, but for the new post-Internet, post-iPad kids that have been taught to swipe before they read, it’s just not going to affect them as much,” declares West. “They realize that we are one race. We’re different colors — my cousins and I are different shapes and we’re all from one family.”
“We’re all from one family called the human race,” says the rapper. “It’s simple as that. This race is up against some interesting things — poverty, war, global warming, classism — and we have to come together to beat this. It’ll only be as a collective that we can beat this, and we can. We can create a better world for ourselves.” What do you think about what West has to say?