On Tuesday, in an interview live-streamed from London, Kanye West answered questions from “friends, celebrities and fans worldwide.” The rapper-cum-designer talked about everything from his fashion line, to why music isn’t as exciting anymore, to his take on racism (we’ll all be black in 1,000 years, or something).
The stripped-down chat, via Fact, lasted two hours and was hosted by Lou Stoppard. Pulling from pages of submitted questions, she asked West a number of things, which he usually somehow brought back to how the fashion world is giving him a hard time. Here are the best quotes on race, music, fashion and feminism edited for brevity and clarity:
On all humanity eventually becoming black, or whatever:
People couldn’t say they’re going to have the opportunity to run for Queen. [The class systems of the U.K.] circumcises your dreams from day one. In America, you can work your way up the class system but to get the house in suburbia, it’s a lot of mixed kids away from that… but the world is mixing. In 1,000 years we might be completely known as what we know as black currently. But it would just be known as a new race, except for those people whose main goal would be to keep the purity of separatism.
On the future of race:
I see the future as people being mixed. I think other races have always been attracted to each other because I believe that we’re meant to… but I was taught to never bring a white girl home when I was eight years old. I liked white girls, and I also liked black girls, but I liked white girls too. Like I said in the Tyler song, “I know they told their white daughters don’t bring home Jerome.” I’ll tell you from my single days that white women do like black guys… there’s something about what mixing the cultures brings to the table.
On how black people should be more like Jewish people:
My best friends are Jewish, I know people say that, but they are! I do have a lot of Jewish friends! That culture is one that shares information—that doesn’t happen in the black community!
On not being accepted into the fashion world:
Working in fashion, I’m sitting here in the trees, trying to chop down wood, screaming at the top of my lungs, “Can somebody just throw me some water” and everyone’s laughing at me. That’s the fashion world, the fashion critics. Me… trying my absolute hardest and everyone laughing at me.
Then... people say ‘Oh, he’s working with Nick Knight,’ then ‘Oh, he’s working with Pat [McGrath].’ [...] Then ‘Oh, Riccardo [Tisci] the hottest designer likes Kim’ and then the fashion world is like ‘Hm, maybe it’s OK. Can we capitalize off of this in some way?’
But they’re fucking definitely not letting me in the shows and trying to keep the joke going. But there were a lot of tsunamis and earthquakes that hit while people were laughing on the beach, so keep joking on the beach.
On the fashion world’s backhanded acceptance of Kim Kardashian West:
It’s better now than it was and I feel happy about that.
On homophobia in music:
It’s funny how the culture of different art forms is so different. I got discriminated against in fashion for not being gay where in music, you get discriminated against if you are gay. It takes some amazing talents to break down that barrier. People don’t have a problem with white rappers now because Eminem is the greatest artist. Everybody thought that when Frank Ocean’s album dropped that [him sharing his sexuality] would be bad for his career but he’s one of the greatest writers of all time. People don’t give a fuck, they love his music. The people who break the stereotypes make history. With the fashion and music worlds culturally, it’s reverse discrimination.
On Caitlyn Jenner’s transition:
I thought about black radio hosts making jokes about it because black culture is so homophobic and the news cycle is constant.... But then it was like ‘Fuck what people say, fuck what people think.’
I feel proud to be in a family that has so many people breaking ground for the generations to come. The reality show is so fucking new as an art form. My wife and her family should’ve had plenty of Emmys by now, but... people feel like they shouldn’t be nominated even though it’s the most popular and the longest running [show].
Letting your life be controlled by public opinion is like asking to sit in traffic forever…. Bruce just got off at the exit sign and drove as fast as he wants. Sorry, it’s disrespectful to use that name. I’m still getting used to what’s politically correct because it’s new, it’s modern.
On naming his album Swish and when it’s (ever) dropping:
I wasn’t sure if I was gonna keep Swish as a name but I just didn’t want to walk around with the name So Help Me God for the amount of time that I was working on the album.
On why music isn’t as exciting to him as fashion:
No, it doesn’t excite me like when I first heard Wu-Tang or when I was using Autotune for my first time. There were things to prove... there was Lauryn Hill and Dead Prez. [...] I’m an inventor, an innovator. It’s fine for people to proliferate on ideas but I get excited by ideas, not by responsibility. When you look at Andre 3000 who’s considered in the top five rappers of all time, he only had to write one verse. Writing three verses sometimes starts to feel like you’re doing a talk show every night rather than some prophetic, every two year speech.
[...] Sometimes creatively because I’m being held to task by the highest critics in every form of art, I feel like one of those guys who’d steal something and their form of death would be to be tied to four different horses and then be pulled to death. That’s what it feels like that when I’m being pulled from all different angles.
On his “Cubist” rhymes:
A lot of people who liked the first version of “All Day” instead of the one that was released because like a later Picasso work—yes, as you guys know, I think I’m Picasso. Lesser, or equal or maybe even better—but maybe there’s something that’s more Cubist about the way I rap.
On everyone biting his style now:
Here’s another thing, the majority of the things that are popular now—this is going to be a truthful, straightforward statement—are directly related to something that I’ve done in the past 10 years. You can pinpoint it; that was that album, that was that song. I think it’s amazing, that was my purpose to innovate. That is an extension of a new album for me.
But he didn’t want to pinpoint Drake, when the interviewer asked him:
I’m not trying to specify people, but I do feel… it’s a lot of influence and you can almost pinpoint the moment when thing happen. But I was also heavily influenced… all of that was in my work too.
On rap’s relationship with black women:
I generally think that rap’s misogynistic. I’ve definitely said ‘Bitch get out the car’ in some of my lyrics. Is there a responsibility? Rap for the 20 years that I’ve studied it, it’s only responsible to trend.
On misdirected aggression on the part of black men towards black women:
When I come home from a meeting with some head of a studio and I just get completely dissed… I’ll find myself irritated and maybe rude with my wife.
Let’s take that to the idea of a black male in America not getting a job, or getting fucked with at his job, or by the cops, or being looked down on by this lady at Starbucks. He goes home to his girl and—just thinking of if I’m being mean to my wife and we’re super well off—to the point where he’s like, ‘I can’t take my kids school shopping if I knock my manager the fuck out.’ He literally can’t drink the Ye juice or turn up at all. You scream at the person that’s closest to you.
Then take that to the studio and that frustration and disrespect is what comes out toward the women around. ‘We can’t wife you, you’re just a thot.’ And then the guys around are like ‘You better not say that to me, I’ll shoot you.’ It’s from lack of opportunity, it’s from being inside of traffic, that thing I told earlier about the lack of ability to see a way out.
You are frustrated and you go to the studio and that’s what it’s gonna sound like. That ‘fuck you bitch’ came from America, came from our lack of opportunities, that ‘nigga I’ma shoot you’ came from racism, which is an amazing tool.
If you put racism in your phone as a battery, it’d never stop working. It’s like it works on itself…. black people don’t even like black people at a certain point. I always say that racism is the hate that keeps on hating.
On whether he’s a feminist:
I think I’m a humanist, is that a party? I was raised by my mom, like so many black kids in America. My dad was around, I’d see him in the summers. I fight for the rights of any community that’s not being properly credited for anything.
This statement is gonna sound kinda gay, but I love older white men. If you’re not an older white man, you’re not gonna own shit. I like to speak for whomever doesn’t have a voice. Sometimes it’s a man, sometimes it’s a woman, sometimes it’s a man becoming a woman.
Plus, here are two bonus quotes too random to omit.
I don’t use the color blue, it bugs me out. I hate the color blue.
[My last meal would be] some of [Kim’s] home-cooked fried chicken.
Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.