September 24th, 2013
04:25 PM ET
Kanye West: I'm the No. 1 rock star - on the planet
Lately, Kanye West has been frustrated.
As he told BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe in a wide-ranging, hour-long interview this week, "I've reached a point in my life where my 'Truman Show' boat has hit the painting ... I've reached the glass ceiling as a creative person, as a celebrity."
In his view, Kanye West isn't just a rapper but a producer of product - and "not just clothing," he clarified, "but water bottle design, architecture, everything you could think about."
The source of his frustration, though, is that with him being a celebrity and a rap artist, the presumption is that he's limited in his abilities to stretch out into other arenas.
"I showed people that I understand how to make perfect - '(My Beautiful) Dark (Twisted) Fantasy' could be considered to be perfect. I know how to make perfect, but that's not what I'm here to do," he said. "I'm here to crack the pavement and make new grounds sonically and in society, culturally. ... I shouldn't be limited to only one place of creativity. ... I want to be the anchor of the first trillion dollar company."
Upon hearing that, listeners will inevitably surmise that's the old sizable West ego rearing its head again, the kind of response that seems to have left the 36-year-old artist genuinely confused.
Referring to his song "I Am A God" on "Yeezus," he wondered why "everybody says, 'Who does he think he is?' I just told you who I thought I was: a god!" West exclaimed in exasperation. "Would it have been better if I had a song that said, 'I am a n****r?' Or if I had a song that says 'I'm a gangster,' or, 'I am a pimp?' All those colors and patinas fit better on a person like me, right? But to say you are a god ... especially when you got shipped over to the country that you're in, and your last name is a slave owner's ... how could you have that mentality?"
And yet, despite his irritation at the limitations he's found, West hasn't lost perspective. Nor does he doubt that he'll accomplish his mission.
"For me, in my life and creativity, it's been challenging, but I was able to ascend to massive levels and never stop because of the foundation that my mother and my father and my grandfather laid through civil rights," he told Lowe. "What Michael Jackson did with music videos, and the ground he broke, there would be no Kanye West without Michael Jackson."
Now, rappers are "the rock stars," West said, "and I'm the biggest of all of them. I'm the No. 1 rock star on the planet."
If he's successful, the next ten years will also include big paydays for his daughter with Kim Kardashian, North. The artist, who's by now also famous for his tussles with paparazzi, envisions a time when his daughter will get paid for all of the pictures photographers will undoubtedly angle to take.
"I'm going to tell my daughter, ... 'Me and your mother were in a completely different situation than you're in ... all these checks you're getting at age six because people are taking your picture ... I made that happen, Nori.'"
His family, West noted, is where he finds space to be himself.
"Family time, it's what Kim gave me," he said. "She gave me everything. She gave me a family, she gave me a support system. She was in a powerful enough situation where she could love me without asking me for money - which is really hard for me to find."
So for those aching for the "Watch the Throne" or "Bound 2" Kanye, rather than the "Yeezus" that was introduced this summer, rest assured that version of the artist hasn't disappeared. He's just aiming higher.
"I always felt like I could do anything. That's the main thing people are controlled by - their perception of themselves. They're slowed down by their perception of themselves," he said. "Go listen to all my music, it's the codes of self-esteem. If you're a Kanye West fan, you're not a fan of me, you're a fan of yourself. You will believe in yourself - I'm just the espresso. I'm just the shot in the morning to get you going, to make you believe that you can overcome that situation that you're dealing with all the time."
West, you see, was taught that he can "do everything," as the rapper told Lowe. "And I'm Kanye West at age 36. So just watch the next 10 years."
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