Some may say that Kanye’s stunt at the Grammys during Beck’s acceptance speech for Album of the Year (and his subsequent rant about how Beck should “respect artistry” and should have given his award to Beyoncé) was “just Kanye being Kanye.”
Well, as simplistic and un-insightful as that sounds, it’s true. Just like a sociopath is a sociopath because that’s his nature. But that doesn’t make it acceptable.
Even Kanye’s comments the following morning, when TMZ asked him to clarify his stance, and he had an opportunity to redeem himself, were so typical: “C’mon man, I love Beck, but he didn’t have the Album of the Year!”
Given this isn’t the first time ‘Ye acts out, the theory that he may very well suffer from some sort of pathological narcissism and delusional disorder is looking more and more likely. A not-so-beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy, indeed.
Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson put it ever so succinctly in her open letter to Kanye: “You are making yourself look like a complete twat.”
Indeed, as Manson points out, it is Kanye “who is so busy disrespecting artistry.”
Beck, for his part, took the high road when asked about the incident. “I was just so excited he was coming up,” he said post-Grammys. “[West] deserves to be onstage as much as anybody. How many great records has he put out in the last five years, right? I thought she [Beyoncé] was going to win. Come on, she’s Beyonce! . . . You can’t please everybody, man. I still love [West] and think he’s genius. I aspire to do what he does.”
Like Beck, or Taylor Swift before him, it’s easy to give Kanye a pass because he is so undeniably talented. But Mr. West may have also reached his quota for saying ignorant, self-aggrandizing and downright delusional things.
Here are 15 other instances in which Kanye gave his critics plenty of ammunition, disappointing his more discerning fans along the way.
If you still feel compelled to defend him after reading this, then your heart is bigger than most. And that’s something Jesus — and Yeezus, for that matter — would be proud of.
“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. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z…I will be the leader of a company worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.” – New York Times, 2013
“The worst thing about me comparing myself to Steve Jobs is that it’s too realistic of an idea. What I need to say is I’m more like Willy Wonka.” – WPGC radio, 2013
“I. Am. Warhol. I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation, in the flesh. I am Shakespeare, Walt Disney. Nike. Google. Now who’s gonna be the Medici Family and stand up and let me create more?” – Shade 45 Sirius XM, 2013
“They said something about they’re not gonna put my girl on the Walk of Fame because she’s a reality star. It’s like, people are so, so dated and not modern. It’s like, there’s no way a Kim Kardashian shouldn’t have a star on the Walk of Fame. It’s ridiculous.” – Jimmy Kimmel, 2013
“I am the number one human being in music. That means any person that’s living or breathing is number two.” Wendy Williams Show, 2007
“I’m doing pretty good as far as geniuses go … I’m like a machine. I’m a robot. You cannot offend a robot … I’m going down as a legend, whether or not you like me or not. I am the new Jim Morrison. I am the new Kurt Cobain … The Bible had 20, 30, 40, 50 characters in it. You don’t think that I would be one of the characters of today’s modern Bible?” – radio interview with Tim Westwood, 2008
“I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street and people look at me like I’m f–king insane, like I’m Hitler. One day the light will shine through, and one day people will understand everything I ever did.” – Big Chill Festival, 2011
“I am God’s vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.” — VH1 Storytellers, 2009
“I’m a pop enigma. I live and breathe every element in life. I rock a bespoke suit and I go to Harold’s for fried chicken. It’s all these things at once, because, as a tastemaker, I find the best of everything. There’s certain things that black people are the best at and certain things that white people are the best at. Whatever we as black people are the best at, I’m a go get that. Like, on Christmas I don’t want any food that tastes white. And when I go to purchase a house, I don’t want my credit to look black.” — Spin, 2007
“Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books.” – Reuters, 2009
“There’s nothing more to be said about music. I’m the f–king end-all, be-all of music. I know what I’m doing. I did 808s in three weeks. I got it. It’s on cruise control.” – Details, February 2009
“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” – 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
“You may be talented, but you’re not Kanye West.” – Twitter
“When I think of competition it’s like I try to create against the past. I think about Michelangelo and Picasso, you know, the pyramids.” – Slate, 2010
“In America, they want you to accomplish these great feats, to pull off these David Copperfield-type stunts. But let someone ask you about what you’re doing, and if you turn around and say, ‘It’s great,’ then people are tike, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ You want me to be great, but you don’t ever want me to say I’m great?” – Rolling Stone, 2006