Here Are the 10 Most WTF Moments from Kanye West’s Oxford Speech
Kanye West gave a guest lecture at Oxford University yesterday (March 2, 2015), continuing his tour of stream of consciousness ramblings and prophetic mumblings.
To put it simply, the Oxford stop on the Yeezy tour did not let down. Kanye spoke for 30 minutes to the 350 students in the Oxford Guild Society (a campus institution devoted to business and networking), covering several topics that are inherently just “so Kanye”, such as his ego, being Picasso or greater, and how Nicki Minaj showed him up on his critically-acclaimed album, My Beautiful Dark Fantasy.
Additionally, West revealed that the video for “All Day” has already been film and was directed by Steve McQueen (so look forward to seeing that).
Here are the 10 most WTF moments from #YeezOx:
1. “My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater.”
Context: Kanye confessed that if he could do his education over again, he would have chosen the Art Institute over the American Academy of Art (no offense to the latter) and would have researched where he could get the best and strongest eduction.
On being Picasso or greater, he added, “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.”
2. “What I notice about creatives is that, and one of the reasons why I get into trouble, is, not only do I want to design video games, or make music, or ride bikes, I think one of the most important things to my ability to create so much in the past 30 years is my desire to play sports. I approach creativity like a sport, where if I have a drawing I react just like a jock: LOOK AT THE FUCKING DRAWING RIGHT THERE YEAH!”
Context: Ye says we’re all born artists, but “Some people are artists of business, some people are artists of composition. We were taught to hide our black fingernail polish and put our head down in the back of the class and not notice out of fear that someone might laugh at one of our ideas – that our idea could become a mockery or a failure in some way.”
3. “The Matrix is like the Bible of the post-information age.”
Context: He said this is what he told Steve McQueen in private when they were shooting visuals for “All Day.” He later asks, but doesn’t answer, “Why do I say the Matrix is like the Bible? What is my definition of the Matrix?”
4. “By the way, I don’t know the days of the week. I just go to exactly when my appointment is.”
Context: He asked the security guard if it was still February.
5. “Call Elon Musk out of the blue, or call Obama out of the blue…he calls the home phone, by the way.”
Context: Kanye believes that a “future utopia” is possible only through collaboration and the sharing of ideas (at which point he gave a shout out to his “favorite person”, the late Steve Jobs, for not giving his ideas up before he passed), and he was saying “I understand that I’m a servant. And with my voice, with my ability to build relationships with amazing people, speak to amazing people.”
However, he added later (remember, West likes to change course and loop back when he speaks), “When I talk about collaboration and the creative process, the best idea wins.”
6. “Time is the only luxury. It’s the only thing you can’t get back.”
Context: It is indeed a fact that you can’t get time back, unlike say, a piece of luggage. West commented slyly, “If you lose your luggage – I’m not gonna say the obvious brand of luggage that I’d normally say because I’ve got a meeting with them soon – if you lose your expensive luggage at the airport, you can get that back. You can’t get the time back.”
7. “People talk about the number of viewers the Brits get, or the number of viewers the Grammys get. They need to do award shows for the Nobel Peace Prize, but I guess that doesn’t sell as many MasterCard commercials.”
Context: Kanye was then disappointed for dropping “MasterCard”, adding “Oh, I mentioned a brand!…I had two things…I was trying to get a flawless victory on my speech! No offense to MasterCard…but that was a big fucking logo in the middle!”
8. “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.”
Context: West humbly reminded everyone that everyone (critics and the media) thought My Beautiful Dark Fantasy was the best album in the last 25 years. He admitted, “One of the most memorable things about MBDTF was Nicki Minaj, and the fact that she kicked my ass, on my own song, on one of the best albums…the best album…This was necessary. I think it was one of the most important points of working on that album, was to not stop her from her moment because of how good she is.”
9. “One of my biggest Achilles heels has been my ego. And if I, Kanye West, the very person, can remove my ego, I think there’s hope for everyone.”
Context: None needed.
10. “Clothing should be like food. There should never be a $5000 sweater. You know what should cost $5000? A car should be $5000.”
Context: West is demanding some more equality when it comes to consumption of goods and services. He said, “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!…All the best talent in the world needs to work for the people. And I am so fucking 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.”
West then asked the crowd a couple of rather poignant questions before he made his exit:
“People say to me ‘you’re successful, what are you crying about?’. I’m crying about the people. I’m crying about their daughters. Our daughters, as one family. What good is it. What good is anything that everyone can’t have. Every ism. They think we’re done with racism. What about elitism, what about separatism, what about classism? That’s all.”
Read the whole speech here.