I’ll be honest. As of lately, I’ve been trying very hard to ignore everything that has been happening in the world of Kanye West. The man has transformed in the last couple of months from a really great rapper – which of course he still is – into a man struggling with something much too dark and weird to even try and analyze… and I once read Tara Reid’s diary! Like, doesn’t his face always just look like he wants to perpetually punch something?
And of course, while this isn’t Kanye’s first controversy in the slightest (think Hurricane Katrina), this is certainly Kanye at his strangest, or most “genius” level. So I thought maybe I would take some time to just play psychiatrist to Kanye for a bit. I took the liberty of grabbing some of his best quotes from the week so I could show you guys just how strange and out of touch his comments make him sound with the rest of the world… I guess more so than before.
In an interview with Angie Martinez on Hot 97, we got some great Kanye sound bytes. My favorite: “I’ve got a better perspective … I lived in Paris!” But in the rest of the interview, West mentions a few casual things, such as his decision to leave his Nike shoe deal behind because they wouldn’t offer him royalties, his future collaboration with Adidas, his need to make more money because he “has to provide for his family” – but the highlight quote from the interview was when West said this little gem (but unfortunately no holograms) while comparing himself to Tupac.
“I am going to be the Tupac of product . . . I’mma be the first hip-hop designer, and because of that, I’m going to be bigger than Walmart.”
So while we might all be focusing on the Walmart statement, I think we can even see a very big contradiction in the more mundane part of that sentence – and that being Kanye suggesting that he is at all the “first” hip-hop designer ever. He just isn’t. Look at Rihanna designing with River Island; 50 Cent and G-Unit; even Nicki Minaj has her own clothing line. Also, just think of all the shoe collaborations male rappers are doing right now; many of which Kanye mentions himself in the above video. So for him to really believe he can be the first hip-hop designer is just wacky, and for him to think his designs are going to make him the best is just wackier – because if he was any inch a designer at heart, he wouldn’t have done this move in an interview with Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club.
In the interview, Kanye discusses a lot of things. But the best quote would be when he tells us of the time Bernard Arnault, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, “didn’t understand” why he should take a meeting with him. About the refusal to meet, West said:
Okay, you don’t understand why you don’t need to take a meeting with Kanye West? I’mma show you why you need to take a meeting with Kanye West: EVERYBODY IN ATLANTA RIGHT NOW AT THE LOUIS VUITTON STORE IF YOU BLACK DON’T GO TO LOUIS VUITTON TODAY. [Silence.] THAT’S WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE A MEETING WITH KANYE WEST, BERNARD ARNAULT.
The quote is typical angry Kanye, but here’s the thing that is the most shocking part. For Kanye West, the man who wishes to be the biggest hip-hop designer ever, you should know that Louis Vuitton is part of the bigger conglomerate LVMH. While LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, they also own Celine, Dior, Konna Karan, Fendi, Givenchy, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, among others. LVMH is the biggest luxury brand provider in the world, and you know who is the CEO of that, as well? Bernard Arnault.
So here’s a question, West: If you ever plan to do a future collaboration with any big fashion house that exists today, why would you ask your fans to boycott the man who controls almost every single one of them? Not even Anna Wintour would fucking diss LVMH. Pick up an issue of Vogue someday! It’s a decision that not only makes you question West’s seriousness as a designer, but also make you wonder if he is even paying attention to fashion at all. Be honest: his clothes – beyond the label – never show it. He wears more unbuttoned designer plaid than Hugh Jackman in my lumberjack daydreams!
And this final quote doesn’t come from Kanye himself, but rather Kim K. After the world was blown away by Seth Rogen and James Franco “Bound 3” parody video, Kim Kardashian took to Twitter to write back to Seth Rogen’s tweet of the video link: “You nailed it!!! Sooo funny!” She then added: “Kanye says what’s up! He loves u guys! He laughed so hard at this.”
While there is no doubt that the video is funny, you have to think of the premise and understand just how much Kanye West is laughing at his own ideas, rather than the comedy duo. Franco and Rogen’s video is a “Shot. By. Shot” remake of “Bound 2”, meaning that besides the substitution of Kimye from the video with the two bromedy actors, nothing was changed. So for Kanye to laugh at it suggests that he isn’t being laughed with, but rather laughed at. And, for that matter, so are we.
While “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus was parodied over and over again, Cyrus never presented the video as high art, but rather as the video to her next single. When you make a strange video with your fiancee riding naked on a motorcycle, cut some important ties to the fashion community, and express that you’re going to be bigger than Walmart all in one week, where do you go next? We’re about to find out. But honestly, if West plans to take us there on a motorcycle through some CGI canyons, I might just have to hitchhike.