10 Things We Learned From Kanye's lecture at Oxford
Kanye West holds many titles; rapper, designer, businessman, God, but none prove quite as enthralling as when Kanye puts on his philosopher’s cap and begins prognosticating. A wellspring of sage wisdom, Yeezy has thoughts about the world quite unique to anyone else’s point of view, and these thoughts are expressed in a voice equally as unique. Over the weekend, Kanye was invited to lecture at Oxford University (yes, the Oxford University) to the Oxford Guild Society, a group of students specifically honing their skills in the fields of business and networking. After poring over the transcript in scholarly delight, we’re proud to share the Top 10 Things We Learned from Yeezy at Oxford.
If he didn’t rap he would be making art:
Today was the first time I realized, If I could have done it again I would have gone to the Art Institute over the American Academy of Art, I would have researched where I could have got the best and the strongest education.
He aspired to be a Picasso, and points out that that is not a ridiculous sentiment:
My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater. 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.
He’s gonna stand the hell up to defend creative types from all backgrounds:
We’re all creatives here, we’re all born artists. 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.
He took waaaay more out of The Matrix then we ever did, even after repeat viewings:
The Matrix is like the Bible of the post-information age. I compared it like, when the hundred guys come at Neo, those are opinions, that’s perception, that’s tradition. Attacking people from every which angle possible. If you have a focus wide and master senseis like Laurence Fishburne and you have a squad behind you, you literally can put the world in slow motion.
He’s hopeful for our future, but identifies what our biggest obstacle is:
I’m talking about a band of thinkers that could remove religion, race, gender, and somehow come together to find solutions for a broken planet. We have the resources as a civilization to find a utopia, but we’re led by the most greedy and the least noble. This humanity that I talk about, this civilization that I talk about, this future utopia I talk about…it can only happen through collaboration.
Ideas are for the people, and he knows it:
I love Steve Jobs, he’s my favorite person, but there’s one thing that disappoints me. When Steve passed he didn’t give the ideas up. That’s kinda selfish. You know that Elon’s like ‘yeah, take these ideas’. Maybe there are companies outside of Apple that could work on them and push humanity forward. Maybe the stock brokers won’t like that, the stock holders wouldn’t like that idea, but ideas are free and you can’t be selfish with them.
He says that the only luxury in this world is time, and we couldn’t think of a better argument to support this idea:
We’ve been sold a concept of joy through advertising, through car advertising, through fashion branding. It’s not the concept of time, time with your family, time with your friends, the little time that we do have on earth and what we do with that. It was somehow sold to us through a Gucci bag or something. Time is the only luxury. It’s the only thing you can’t get back.
Racism may still be a problem, but Kanye is acutely aware that our biggest problem now is classism:
That idea [racism], has passed. We’ve had The Cosby Show, Obama’s president, Beyonce’s great…that’s passed. But there’s still something you’re taught every day, especially in the UK, and that’s division by class. Our main focus, in my opinion…Imagine a world with no war, and imagine if everyone’s main focus, more so than going out to a club, their main focus was to help someone else. You guys have been taught, without you knowing, ways to separate yourselves from each other. If you’re separated, you can be easily controlled. If you’re too busy pointing fingers at each other, rather than holding hands, you can’t get anything done.
He admits one of our most guilty thoughts, that Nicki Minaj secretly owned My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy:
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, 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. 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.
And finally, he gracefully and humbly addresses what we’ve all been thinking, and gives us some hope to boot:
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.
Check out the full transcription of his lecture here