Kanye West delivered a guest lecture to 350 students at Oxford University on Monday afternoon, speaking candidly about his music, his close relationship with President Obama, and his ego.
West spoke at the University’s Museum of Natural History, receiving a standing ovation as he entered the room, according to the Telegraph.
He began his speech by warning attendees not to talk, or even whisper, as it would throw off his “stream of consciousness, and when I get my stream of consciousness going, that’s when I give the best, illest quotes.”
Tickets for the event were apparently hard to come by; 5,000 students entered into a drawing for tickets. Oxford student newspaper The Tab live-tweeted the entire event for those not able to get in.
— Aled Jones (@AledR) March 2, 2015
“My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater,” West reportedly said early on, expressing his regret that he chose to attend the American Academy of Art instead of the Art Institute. “That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone in the past that has done so much, and in your life you’re not even allowed to think that you can do as much. That’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.”
West pivoted between topics early and often.
“So it doesn’t get taken out of context, I’m going to use the word ‘like,'” West said, relating something he recently told Steve McQueen on a video shoot. “What I said was, The Matrix is like the Bible of the post-information age.”
“I compared it like, when the hundred guys come at Neo, those are opinions, that’s perception, that’s tradition,” West explained. “Attacking people from every which angle possible. If you have a wide focus and master senseis like Laurence Fishburne and you have a squad behind you, you literally can put the world in slow motion.”
Pivoting again, West discussed his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, calling it “the best album of the last 25 years” and praising Nicki Minaj for her contribution.
“You know, Chris Rock called my album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy… well, Chris Rock and everyone else at every single media publication called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy the best album of the last 25 years. This only came through collaboration.”
“One of the most memorable things about MBDTF was Nicki Minaj, and the fact that she kicked my ass, on my own song, on one of the best albums… the best album – I’m just saying what the critics said – of the last 25 years. The best album of the past 25 years that I spent a year and a half making out there. I was exiled from my country. It was a personal exile, but exile. To come back and deliver my magnum opus of a work, and to be outshined — to be beat by a girl, basically.”
West was candid in his remarks, at one point saying his “Achilles’ heel” is his ego.
“And if I, Kanye West, the very person, can remove my ego, I think there’s hope for everyone.”
Still, he couldn’t help but offer this bit toward the end of his lecture:
“People say I have a bad reputation. I think I’ve got the best reputation in the building.”
Twenty-three-year-old law student Sam Rabinowitz told the Telegraph that West’s lecture was “funny, endearing, and self-aware.”
Check out the complete transcript of West’s remarks, courtesy of The Tab, here.