Last Wednesday Kanye West made an appearance on the Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel to address the feud between the artist and talk show host that rose from a skit with children impersonating West’s replies to questions in a BBC interview with Zane Lowe.
The interaction was farm from what most fans who followed the back and forth between the pair would have expected, especially after West’s personal-attack laden Twitter rant in which he repeatedly questioned Kimmel’s ability to pull good looking women. Instead, the two had an interesting talk about the status of being a celebrity in today’s 24-hour news cycle, shedding light further not only on how West views himself, but also on what it’s like being among the biggest stars in the country and just wanting some privacy.
In the interview, West likened being a celebrity in America to being an “animal in a zoo,” fodder for people to stop, point and stare and then move on to the next exhibit. It’s certainly true that the pedestal on which many celebrities are placed on have a string attached, the expectation to entertain at all times. To be sure, West, arguably the biggest music artist in the world, lives his life squarely in the public eye. Marrying Kim Kardashian and popping up on episodes of her family’s disdainful reality series isn’t exactly subtle or private. Regardless, it shouldn’t be a chore or an event for these stars to be able to live their lives.
The conversation soon segued to Kanye’s personality, with Kimmel and West reminiscing on a recent wedding for a friend of Kimmel’s that both attended. Eventually, Kanye was Kanye and announced that he was, in fact, a genius, explaining his reasoning behind the world and somewhat chastising the public for reacting in a negative way to his declaration of artistic prowess. Not the most surprising thing from an artist who released an album named *Yeezus* with a song named “I Am a God”, it makes sense that if he truly believes himself as such, and is seemingly told it is true regularly, that he should be allowed to express that sentiment. Kimmel, for his part, credited Kanye as someone he sees as being a genuinely good person, but also conceded that West may bring it on himself a bit. This is true. There have been few stars bigger than West who have spoken with such a loud and seemingly honest voice in the pop culture lexicon.
One weird point of the interview was West describing his love of “cool things” on the heels of a statement about making people’s lives easier. Mentioning that he spent his first two telemarketing checks on a pair of Gucci slippers, West alluded to helping the world by making these cool things more readily available. The Internet seems to be doing a good job of that, not to mention the fact that the city West is from, Chicago, faces myriad problems that could use some fixing.
Kanye West is a lot of things, but one thing he will always be good for is a little bit of controversy. With no one to stir the pot, there is little chance of forward movement. Kanye is the wood spoon, occasionally swooping in to mix things up, add a wrinkle to what’s happening, in turn keeping things fresh as he continues to push what exactly that is. During their talk, ‘Ye said himself, “I’m not running for office, I’m here to make good music and make people feel good when they hear my music.” This is true. West shouldn’t necessarily be held to a higher standard because of what he does, or his positioning in society. At the end of the day he is simply an honest, multi-layered human being with a larger-than-life stage from which to spout his thoughts. West wrapped the talk perfectly, saying “You’re gonna love me, or you’re gonna hate me, but I’m going to be me.” Indeed Kanye, indeed.