This year has seen some bizarre and disappointing additions to the Kanye West quotes calatog—not too unlike his musical catalog (yeah, I said it). If you haven’t already scrubbed it from your memory, you might remember when he went on TMZ and said that, to him, 400 years of slavery sounds like “a choice.”
If you're looking for less problematic musings from Mr. West, then look no further than this old VICE interview, unearthed by YouTuber Daedpaul, that transports us to a simpler, more innocent time in the life of Kanye West—back when he rocked a BAPE x KAWS camo hat, not a MAGA cap.
The year is 2007, Kanye is on the verge of releasing his chart-topping, culture-shifting third album Graduation, and filmmaker Spike Jonze (who, coincidentally, worked on Kanye and Lil Pump's hilarious new "I Love It" video) is shadowing Mr. West as he puts the finishing touches to his “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” music video with famed director Hype Williams.
The 25-minute video finds Ye in rare form, rattling off incredible quote after incredible quote about everything from success and creativity to etiquette and race. Most of what comes out of his mouth is either hilarious, motivational or slightly cringe-worthy (Kanye in a nutshell), while some statements ring loud and true 11 years later.
“I have these social things and little things that happen with me, but that just comes out of me. It’s not something I focus on,” he said. “I’m not into politics. I don’t know who’s in the White House, I couldn’t tell you anything. I could never go on Bill Maher. But I’m into art.”
Please enjoy these classic Kanye quotes from 2007, if only as a reminder of why we all admired and adored Kanye West once upon a time.
On having great taste, including in himself:
“I’m a fan of really great stuff. So by default, I’m a fan of myself.”
On the stereotype of him being arrogant:
"People be feeling like I’m cocky because of the shit that I say; if you could imagine the shit that I think."
“White people and black people have different advantages. Like, a white guy, their jeans could be tighter and it’s cool and shit. But a white guy can’t wear a chain ’cause it’s super guido. I don’t know if that’s wrong for me to say but I just love using that word right now. Guido.”
"I always think I’ma do way better than I really do. So any type of success that you saw me have, it’s way under than what I was expecting."
On music and money:
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“I’m probably not as rich as people think I am. I don’t have fuck you-type money, so I’m still at the mercy of the fans…But the fact that I’m not in a situation where it’s like, ‘I got so much money, fuck whatever,’ I think I give people better art. It’s really like, ‘Yo, my life depends on how good this does.’”
On never getting comfortable:
“At the point when you’re satisfied, you’re dead.”
On becoming an American icon:
“I feel like I’m in competition with the hula hoop. What the hula hoop was to America, I want my songs, my pieces of art, to be that.”
On realizing most people don't dress like they do in rap videos:
“Coming from Chicago, we used to see [rap] videos, right? And if you wanted to get on your fresh shit, you would dress like a video. Then I came to New York and I saw mad people not really dressing fresh, like how it looks in the video. And that’s when I realized like, ‘Oh, people are only dressing like this for videos!’ But at that point, I’m fucked up. Now I dress like it’s a video every day.”
On Terence Trent D’Arby:
"I was talking to Lenny [Santiago] about Terence Trent D’Arby like, ‘Yo man, one time people thought he was hotter than [Jay-Z]!’ He said, ‘Well, you know, he was mad arrogant and used to talk all this shit.’ And I’m looking at myself like, ‘Oh…that can fuck you up?’”
On his emotional outbursts:
“A lot of times, keeping it real isn’t the smartest thing. I think I could be a way better businessman but I’m too much of an artist, I’m too emotional.”
On stating the obvious:
“For me to say a statement like, ‘This has never been done before in a rap video.’ What does that mean? It’s way beyond that. Everything I do has never been done before in rap video, duh.”
“I definitely get scared sometimes…scared of failure, scared of not creating something that is absolutely—hmmm, I guess I’m not scared of not creating something great. I know I’m gonna do that.”
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