He’s the next Steve Jobs. He creates masterpieces, like Picasso. Seventh wonders, like the pyramids. He invented the leather trouser. He is a God. But he is not, as he confirmed yesterday, anything like Nelson Mandela.
Over the past few weeks, Kanye West’s somewhat delusional statements of grandeur have reached such dizzying, disproportionate heights, many news editors believed an entirely fictitious story, which claims the rapper distastefully compared himself to the late South African president.
“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,” he was alleged, in an ‘Ima let you finish…’ style spiel, to have continued.
“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.”
The apartheid or whatever? Surely even Mr West, the man who once claimed that visiting his mind was “like visiting the Hermès factory. S**t is real” couldn’t lack that much tact just days after current South African President Jacob Zuma announced the sad news of Mandela’s passing?
As it turns out, the answer was a big, guffawing, motor-bike-bouncing ‘hella no’. He didn’t. The entire interview was faked. And he took to Twitter to tell the world so. Just before, of course, yet another Kanye-related headline surfaced on Google, this time in connection with an interview he gave with the entirely credible Rolling Stone magazine.
In it, he claimed that his career thus far had been part of “a giant art project”. “I forgot this was the whole trick I pulled on everyone to make them think I was a rapper, a musician or celebrity,” he told them.
And then another headline. A third. In one weekend.
“This is like being a police officer or something ... Or like war or something,” he told Saturday Night Online. Referring to the fact he believes he is “risking his life” on a daily basis to bring the world rap music. "You're literally going out to do your job every day knowing that something could happen to you."
Which brings us to question: is he entirely detached from reality? A sort of severed, floating quote machine, spewing out the sublimely ridiculous as he hovers above ground level, held mid-air between the sheer force of his enormous ego and his slowly escaping sanity?
Or is he fully aware of the lucrative nature of his own parody? Certainly, his Athena poster tribute – sorry, music video – for “ Bound 2” would suggest he isn’t beyond sending himself up on occasion to make a quick buck. He’s been incredibly vocal in the past about his wishes, for example, to control any sort of sex tape leak that could possibly befall him (“For the most part, I’d rather people have one of those home videos than some of the paparazzi photos that get published - at least I recorded the shit myself,” he told W Magazine). And the accompanying, YouTube topping visuals – featuring his reality TV star wife-to-be Kardashian topless – are about as close to one of those as we’re ever likely to see.
Perhaps his life really is a big, money-spinning, Gaga-esque performance project. Maybe there’s a whole team working on the Haus of Kanye, masterminding every line well ahead of his next interview. He certainly knew that telling The New York Times, ”I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things,” would catapult him straight into the headlines.
He knew that the sheer arrogance of stating, “I am God's vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live,” taken from his VH1 Storytellers show, would notch up column inches well after the channel stopped looping his episode. He fully intended every word from his highly publicised interview with Zane Lowe on Radio One to edge its way into the broadsheets. Including our personal favourite comment on his life status: “I have driven my Truman Show boat into the painting.”
Headlines do, after all, equal more interviews. More interviews? More chances to plug whatever it is he’s advertising. And free advertising mostly equates to sale. Except in Kansas, apparently.
“You should only believe about 90 percent of what I say,” he told W. “As a matter of fact, don’t even believe anything that I’m saying at all. I could be completely f**king with you, and the world, the entire time.”
Probably good advice, all of the above considering. But what we do believe is that the man is far from stupid.
Kanye West is one of the industry’s greatest salesmen, and we’re all totally buying him.
Video: Kanye West compares his job to working in the military
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