Kanye West has responded to ‘fake’ quotes that suggested he likened himself to Nelson Mandela.
Blasting the reports on Twitter, the rapper posted: “Despite recent media reports, I've never said anything to dishonor or trivialize the life or transition of one of the most inspiring leaders.[sic]”
He added: “At a young age my mother taught me the importance of his work. Mandela sacrificed his life for the betterment of mankind.”
The news, first published on satirical website the Daily Current, indicated that the rapper had likened himself to the late South African president during an interview with WGCI radio in Chicago.
"I am the next Nelson Mandela," the Daily Current quoted West as saying. "I'm only 36 years old, and when I look at everything I've accomplished, it's the only comparison that makes any sense. By the time I'm 95, I'm going to be a bigger hero than he ever was.
"Nelson Mandela did a lot of good work, don't get me wrong. But I think I'm on track to do something even bigger. I liberate minds with my music. That's more important than liberating a few people from apartheid or whatever.
"Not to say Mandela wasn't for real. I have mad respect. I just think we need to keep things in perspective here. Anyone can be replaced. And I think I'm well on my way towards being the next great black leader. I'm already worshiped around the world. And there's more to come."
The spoof remarks – which initially seemed plausible, given that West had likened himself to God, Picasso and Steve Jobs in the past – quickly sparked outrage on Twitter.
"Kanye West said he’s gonna be the next Nelson Mandela. Let’s start him off with 27 years in jail," one follower wrote.
"Jusy wanna say f*** you for saying you better than Nelson Mandela[sic]," another added.
Two South African websites also misinterpreted the story as real, and reported on it.
Further confusion emerged connected to comments Kanye West allegedly made on stage in Tampa, Florida at the start of last week. According to the Tampa Tribune, the rapper compared himself to Mandela shortly before storming off stage mid-performance.
But fans were angered upon discovering that West had not appeared on the radio station in question, and that the Daily Current's story had been entirely fabricated.
However, Kanye didn’t go an entire weekend without saying anything headline-worthy. Not unlike Lady Gaga, the 36-year-old star claimed that his entire career thus far had been a "giant art project".
"My original creative background was fine art," he told Rolling Stone magazine.
"By the time I was 14, I was in national competitions for art, and I actually went to school for art. Sometimes I actually forget that.
"Except for when I tour and I look back at the stage and say, 'Wait a second, I forgot this was the whole trick I pulled on everyone to make them think I was a rapper, a musician or celebrity when the entire time it's all been a giant art project.'"
He went on to state that he turned to music as a greater and more convincing form of self-expression and
”I thought my opinion wasn't strong enough with what I was painting,“ he said.
”When I would see my own work, I never thought I would visually be able to become one of the masters - I thought I had a stronger opinion when I worked on music. I got a stronger response.“
West’s salesman-like approach to his own self-promotion seems to be rubbing off on his peers, too. R Kelly hit the headlines for comparing troubled R’n’B singer Chris Brown to Martin Luther King and Jesus during a recent interview.