Kanye West is almost as well-known for his larger-than-life persona than he is for his music. To celebrate the release of Kanye's sixth album Yeezus, we've put together a list of our five favourite examples of Kanye's unchecked ego running wild.
Kanye vs The New York Times
West's recent in-depth interview with Jon Carimanica for the New York Times was as interesting and revealing a portrait of a musician at the absolute height of fame as we've ever seen, as he unleashed a series of assertions about his undeniable talent and place in the rock n' roll pantheon. Some examples:
Speaking out about not being nominated for Album of the Year: "You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, 'This is wrong.'"
On his pre-fame days: "I knew when I wrote the line 'light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson' [from the song 'Slow Jamz'] I was going to be a big star. At the time, they used to have the Virgin music [stores], and I would go there and just go up the escalator and say to myself, 'I'm soaking in these last moments of anonymity.'"
On his cultural significance: "I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump."
Suuuuure you are, Kanye.
Kanye vs George W. Bush
In the aftermath of the devastation that resulted when Hurricane Katrina made landfall over the southeast coast of the United States, Kanye was booked alongside the very mild-mannered Mike Myers to do a live televised appeal for funds. All was going according to plan and running without a hitch until Kanye started working off his own script, declaring that George Bush "doesn't care about black people."
Mike Myers, bless his heart, doesn't quite know how to react. Incidentally, George W. Bush recently said that this was the lowest moment of his presidency, implying the clout that Kanye really has and also that Bush seems to have forgotten about 9/11.
Kanye vs Taylor Swift
For many, this was the moment that Kanye West became a household name. The scene was the 2009 VMA's and Taylor Swift has just won the award for Best Female Video, a conclusion that Kanye didn't agree with. What does he do? Without a care in the world he invades the stage, grabs the mic and utters the now well-known phrase of " I'm really happy for you, and I'ma let you finish", before stating that Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' should have won.
Kanye vs Simian & J.U.S.T.I.C.E.
You may not be aware of this but Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift's award acceptance speech wasn't his first rodeo: he did the exact same thing a couple of years before when English electronic act Simian (feat. J.U.S.T.I.C.E.) pipped him to an award for Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Copenhagen. Furious at this slight, West took to the stage incredulously explaining that his video cost a million dollars to make and that if he doesn't win "the award show loses credibility" and that it's "nothing against [the winner], I've never seen your video but…hell no!"
Kanye West vs Kanye West
What's this? Kanye being humble? Well, sort of. Reacting to a South Park episode which royally took the mickey out of him (The 'Gay Fish/Fish Dicks' episode) Kanye released a statement on his blog saying that, yes, South Park got him and got him good in the most honest declaration of his humanity that we've seen so far and since. ("I just wanna be a doper person which starts with me not always telling people how dope I think I am")
His reaction in full: "South Park murdered me last night and it's pretty funny. It hurts my feelings but what can you expect from South Park! I actually have been working on my ego though. Having the crazy ego is played out at this point in my life and career. I use to use it to build up my esteem when nobody believed in me. Now that people do believe and support my music and products the best response is thank you instead of 'I told you so!!!'. It's cool to talk shit when you're rapping but not in real life. When you meet Lil' Wayne in person he's the nicest guy, for example. I just wanna be a doper person which starts with me not always telling people how dope I think I am. I need to just get past myself. Drop the bravado and just make dope product. Everything is not that serious. As long as people think I act like a bitch this type of shit will happen to me. I got a long road ahead of me to make people believe I'm not actually a huge douche but I'm up for the challenge. I'm sure the writers at South Park are really nice people in real life. Thanks for taking the time to draw my crew. That was pretty funny also!! I'm sure there's grammatical errors in this…That's how you know it's me!"