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Kanye West Is Michelangelo, Says Kanye West

AP Photo/Richard Drew
Kanye West

Yeezy opens up about his artistry, the fashion industry and his place in it all. ("As you guys know, I think I'm Picasso, also.")

Like any Kanye West interview, the self-proclaimed creative genius' chat with SHOWstudio was brimming with Yeezy-quote gold. But in addition to his usual sound bites ("I'm Michelangelo," among them), West made some thought-provoking statements about racism in fashion, his goal as an artist and how his celebrity both helps and hinders him in the industry.

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The two-hourlong conversation included questions not just from SHOWstudio but also from young Yeezy fans, as well as industry pal Anna Wintour, who may be upset to learn that West didn't answer her question about what he and Kim Kardashian plan to name their unborn son.

1. On why he calls himself a "creative genius":

“Because otherwise I’m called 'celebrity.' I’m called 'n—er.' I’m called 'rapper.' And when they use those terms, it’s not in a positive way. ... I have to redefine and let people know exactly who I am.”

2. On the math of visionaries versus math of normal people:

“I came up with an equation that explains the way visionaries think as opposed to very calculated people. ... If you put two and three in front of me, I'm going to say, 'Well, two plus three is five, two times three is six, two divided by three is this, three divided by two is that,' and I'm going to come up with an average of all those things. ... That is what people marvel at. That is the calculation of the zeitgeist.”

3. On his Yeezy season two collection as a political statement:

“I’ve created a moving expressionist painting. ... I think it’s racist when white people assume that when a black person uses color, they’re making a political statement. It’s just a painting. ... It wasn't my intention for it to be political.”

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4. On industry critics: 

“People’s misunderstanding of me is a misunderstanding of themselves. ... It’s easier for us to shun it than to really try to dig deeper and find out more about it. People who are supposed to be so educated just pick the lowest hanging fruit in terms of fame or celebrity as a way to diminish or take away the value or the validation of what has been done up to this point.”

5. On his influence on artistry:

"Excuse me, this is going to be a really true, straightforward statement: The majority of things that are popular now are really directly based on something that I’ve done in the past 10 years. You can pinpoint it."

6. On his legacy in the fashion industry and whether people will remember him:

"Of course. I'm Michelangelo. Of course. There was a time when there were people sculpting better than him. But he made David. So as far as that question goes, is there a time when he can go on the Internet and find a shoe people want more than my shoes? Well, go f— yourself then if it isn't, and don't ask me stupid shit like that again."

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