At the Wireless Festival this week in London, businessman, husband, entrepreneur, and his-own-favorite-rapper Kanye West gave a 15-minute, largely auto-tuned rant touching on topics from Louis Vuitton to the deceptiveness of advertising to the false image of celebrity peddled by the media (and coining a new word along the way). Of course, a diatribe from the 21-time Grammy award-winning artist is hardly news, and this particular jeremiad stuck to many of the traditional Yeezian themes. But this speech hit some especially high dudgeon: the celebrated and certainly self-celebrated man behind albums like My Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus opened his normally solipsistic scope to consider other people: “They want to control everybody, you know, rumors, lies, media, marketing. It’s like they want to steal from you, and sell you back to you after they stole it. They want to make you feel like you less than who you really are. Cause as far as I’m concerned, everybody’s a star.” Just not as big a star as him, obviously. (A full transcript is available at Vulture, in case your time isn’t particularly precious.)
As he advances in his career, Kanye the artist’s pronouncements become, if less clearly understandable, then perhaps more profound. It sounds at times like a prophetic confusion, and indeed Kanye opened up his Yeezus tour last year by appearing onstage with Jesus himself. Might we not see in his defiant (and strange) “F#@k whatever my face is supposed to mean! F#@k whatever Kanye is supposed to mean” another “Who Do You Say That I Am?“? In fact, Kanye ended his London rant by outlining a program not at all dissimilar to the Son of Man’s: “I just want to be awesome, and I want to hang around my awesome friends and change the fucking world; and that’s exactly what I plan to do.” Despite the confederacy of dunces.