The rapper was invited to Oxford University to give a speech recently and Kanye West did not disappoint his fans as he touched on subjects like Nicki Minaj, being an iconic figure, the ‘new’ Bible, classism and so much more.
See highlights from his speech below.
On Nicki Minaj: “One of the most memorable things about MBDTF was Nicki Minaj, and the fact that she kicked my a**, on my own song, on one of the best albums…the best album – I’m just saying what the critics said – of the last 25 years. The best album of the past 25 years that I spent a year and a half making, out there. I was exiled from my country; it was a personal exile, but exile. To come back and deliver my magnum opus of a work, and to be outshined…to be beat by a girl, basically.
On comparing himself to iconic figures “My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater. That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone in the past that has done so much, and in your life you’re not even allowed to think that you can do as much. That’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.
On The Matrix being the “new” Bible: “What I said was The Matrix is like the Bible of the post-information age. I compared it like, when the hundred guys come at Neo, those are opinions, that’s perception, that’s tradition. Attacking people from every which angle possible. If you have a focus wide and master sense is like Laurence Fishburne and you have a squad behind you, you literally can put the world in slow motion.”
On classism: “That idea [racism], has passed. We’ve had The Cosby Show, Obama’s president, Beyonce’s great…that’s passed. But there’s still something you’re taught every day, especially in the UK, and that’s division by class. Our main focus, in my opinion…Imagine a world with no war, and imagine if everyone’s main focus, more so than going out to a club, their main focus was to help someone else.
On clothing costing too much money: “It’s illegal to not wear clothes, and also possibly too cold. That means someone is imposing an idea on you that should legally have to do! Clothing should be like food. There should never be a $5000 sweater. You know what should cost $5000? A car should be $5000. And you know who should work on the car? The people that work on the $500,000 cars. All the best talent in the world needs to work for the people. And I am so f*cking serious about this concept that I will stand in front of anyone and fight for it. Because I was 14 and middle class. I know what it felt like to not get what I have.”