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What we learned from the Kanye West e-book

Yeezy can talk fast and loose, but there’s definitely things to take home from ‘The World According To Kanye’

Kanye is nothing if not a controversial figure. He’s inspired hatred and love in almost equal measures by doing shit like comparing himself to Leonardo Da Vinci, and along the way it's caused him a bit of grief, not limited to an unfunny and lacklustre stage invasion.

He also talks a lot. To interview him must be an experience; he finds ways to answer seemingly banal questions in a weighty and philosophical way, talking endlessly with no filter. It’s no surprise then that some graphic designers – in conjunction with a foundation that educates on behalf of his dead mum – have clubbed together to create a slick and stylish coffee-table style e-book, with a collection of his best quotes. It's called The World According to Kanye.

Although Ye does say some very weird shit, he walks the line of inspirational and maybe he’s less egotistical than you think. Here’s what we learned going through The World According To Kanye.

HE’S SELF-AWARE ABOUT USING THE WRONG WORDS

Kanye knows that sometimes his messages get lost in the way he phrases them. When he calls himself a God to make a point, it pisses people off.  “God’s little practical joke on me — as an intellect who doesn’t like to read a lot — is like, I’ll say some superphilosophical shit, but I’ll say it the wrong way. I’ll use the wrong word, so it goes from being really special to completely retarded.” Point kind of proved.

HE’S MAKING HISTORY AND HE KNOWS IT

“We will follow in the footsteps of Maya Angelou, Gil Scott-Heron and Nina Simone. Their work improved with time. They documented what was happening in culture. That is our responsibility as the modern day artists and poets, to accurately represent what is happening now, so when the powers that be try to rewrite history you can always look at our works and find truth and sincerity in a world of processed information.”

People sometimes forget that he is an artist and perceive him merely as celebrity. The haters and headlines mean that Kanye will no doubt be remembered as part of our history and what he’s doing will be remembered in years to come. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing I guess is up to you.

HE DOES GENUINELY SOMETIMES SAY THE STUPIDEST SHIT

“There’s nothing more to be said about music. I’m the fucking 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.” If some of the random shit we said to our friends when we were feeling hyped up about something cool we’d done at work was broadcast on television (and we were really famous), we’d probably get backlash.

However, some stuff Kanye says is hard to defend and this quote about him being the be-all and end-all of music is one of those indefensible statements. He’s good, but even the most die-hard fan would not enjoy just listening to Kanye for the rest of their life.

HE’S A LUCID SEMIOTICIAN

“Thanks for the award but I kinda hate the word urban but I also hate the word hate and I just used it so I guess I can’t be mad at them for using urban.” Researching this I learnt the word "semiotician". A lot of what Kanye says is just to get to excited, to get you thinking. He means here that we live among the fractured ruins of words, we express things all the time using words we don’t mean and words we don’t like.

YOUNG CREATIVES CAN REALLY LEARN FROM HIM

“Art, love, truth and God, are like four things that are extremely close to each other. We have to be protective of love. We have to be protective of the art sometimes, or else the art is gon’ keep getting worse, and worse, and worse. Most people are so protective of who they are. If anything, I sacrifice my perception in order to get the truth across. I sacrifice somebody liking me in order to protect the art.” Here he’s instructing people to continue being rebellious and not care what people think of them when they’re making art. The book is littered with quotes relevant to any young creative.

HE’S ALWAYS BEEN INTO CLOTHES, AND HE’S ALWAYS BEEN INTO HIMSELF

“I’ve always been into clothes and I’ve always been into myself. And none of that’s changed since I’ve become a celebrity.” No shit, we knew this one already.