Kanye West’s Oxford Speech Reveals He Wanted to Be Picasso “Or Greater” and Much More

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Baby North.

Kanye West took to the stage at Oxford University on Monday to deliver a 20-minute speech in front of an audience of 350 students. The rapper was received with a minute-long standing ovation, the Independent reports.

The stream-of-consciousness musings spanned politics and culture, high and low, and included West’s insights on Nicki Minaj, The Matrix, the Bible, greed, emptiness, overcoming one’s ego, President Obama, and daughter North. The most exciting news for art lovers might be that a video for “All Day” is a wrap, and it was directed by Steve McQueen.

The Oxford Tab reported that West ordered absolute silence from his audience: “I can literally hear a whisper, and it’ll throw off my stream of consciousness, and when I get my stream of consciousness going that’s when I give the best, illest quotes.”

Here’s a summary of some of the most quote-worthy #YeezOx highlights:

He wished he had gone to the Art Institute of Chicago “over the American Academy of Art, I would have researched where I could have got the best and the strongest education,” he regretted. “My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater,” he said. “That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone who has done so much, and that’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.” OK.

On the high cost of branded clothing, he opined: “Clothing should be like food. There should never be a $5,000 sweater. You know what should cost $5,000? A car.” (His Adidas line is set to launch with a high price point).

On politics, well, we could be doomed: “We have the resources as a civilization to find a utopia, but we’re led by the most greedy and the least noble.”

But he truly loves creativity. Dare we say, he is somewhat of an art-geek? “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!”

However, his definition of creativity is quite broad: “We’re all creatives here, we’re all born artists. Some people are artists of business, some people are artists of composition.”

Besides Steve McQueen, whom he was chatting with about The Matrix being “like the Bible of the post-information age,” he also hangs out with other artists: “I work with an artist called Vanessa Beecroft, and she bought my daughter some toys.”

But perhaps the biggest news is: “If I can remove my Ego, there’s hope for everyone.”

For the full transcript, of more or less exactly what Kanye said at Oxford go here.


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