During his trip to the U.K. to promote his upcoming album So Help Me God, Kanye West visited Oxford University Museum of Natural History on Monday (via Miss Info). The hip-hop mogul delivered a guest lecture to the 350 students. Over the course of 20 minutes, he spoke about everything from his admiration for Steve Jobs to getting calls from President Obama at home to getting outshined by Nicki Minaj on his own album.
He also revealed that he has shot a video for “All Day” with 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. “It’s completely different to the BRIT Awards,” he said.
Read 10 highlights from ‘Ye’s lecture below and visit The Tab for the full transcription.
1. He aspires to be as great as Picasso. “My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater.”
2. He loves Steve Jobs, but… “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 [Musk’s] like, ‘Yeah, take these ideas.’ Maybe there are companies outside of Apple that could work on them and push humanity forward. Maybe the stockbrokers won’t like that, the stockholders wouldn’t like that idea, but ideas are free and you can’t be selfish with them.”
3. Drake gets all the glory. “I think that progression of mind with the advent of a human being named Drake, you know, this idea of holding onto a No. 1 spot. And then you get this guy that comes and blows out the water every No. 1 of any band ever. Be it me, or Paul McCartney.”
4. President Obama calls his home phone. “I understand that I’m a servant. And with my voice, with my ability to build relationships with amazing people, speak to amazing people. Call Elon Musk out of the blue, or call Obama out of the blue…he calls the home phone, by the way.”
5. His daughter deserves the best. “I’d see toys that some people would buy for my daughter and I’d say this toy isn’t quality. I don’t want my daughter playing with this. There’s not enough love put into this, this is just manufactured with the will to sell, and not the will of inspiration.”
6. He views classism as a bigger problem than racism. “This is a generation that is far less racist— yes, small remnants remain of even thinking of calling something of a racial slur. White people that listen to rap say ‘ni**er’…in the privacy of their own home. That idea [racism], has passed. We’ve had ‘The Cosby Show,’ Obama’s president, Beyoncé’s great…that’s passed. But there’s still something you’re taught every day, especially in the U.K., and that’s division by class.”
7. Nicki Minaj outshined him on 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…the best album—I’m just saying what the critics said—of the last 25 years. To come back and deliver my magnum opus of a work, and to be outshined…to be beat by a girl, basically.”
8. His Achilles’ heel is his ego. “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.”
9. Call him crazy. “People say I have a bad reputation. I think I’ve got the best reputation in the building. They want you to have a reputation of tucking your black nail polish into your pockets and sitting in the corner of the class, and not fighting for your ideas out of fear of being ridiculed. That’s one of my favorite ones…to be called crazy.”
10. Kanye fights for the people. “People say to me, ‘You’re successful, what are you crying about?’ I’m crying about the people. I’m crying about their daughters. Our daughters, as one family. What good is it? What good is anything that everyone can’t have. Every ism. They think we’re done with racism. What about elitism, what about separatism, what about classism? That’s all.”