Producer-turned-rapper-turned-fashion mogul Kanye West lashed out at fashion industry critics who “misunderstand” his work in an interview, explaining that he believes that “no one” is “on [his] side” and that people will not appreciate his work until he’s gone.
In a cover-story interview for the October issue of W magazine, the 39-year-old rapper — whose Yeezy Season 4 fashion show earlier this month was eviscerated by critics, with at least one model fainting due to heat during the outdoor show — teed off on critics who “write [him] off” as just a rich kid pursuing fashion as a hobby.
“How could you even dare to think that, that you’re on the same level of this, blah, blah, blah? And the entire time, no one, um – very few people even knew that I have a f*cking Ph.D. in art, you know?” West told the magazine.
“And not that that would even make the difference, but me saying that makes the difference to the exact people I’m talking to it’s, like, shut the f*ck up. I will f*cking laser you with alien f*cking eyes and explode your f*cking head,” he added. “Shut the f*ck up – try to write a rap. Okay then. I made this f*cking T-shirt, now shut up. And it cost me everything I had and I gave everything I had.”
West also compared his foray into the fashion world to several recent movies, including The Pursuit of Happyness, Despicable Me and Elf.
I’m the elf that’s Will Ferrell, that’s too big for his hands to make the toys,” West said. “But he wants to make the toys. Why? Not just so he could play with them, but he wants to bring joy to the world. I am a creator and it’s my responsibility.”
As he did during a speech at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this summer, West listed some of the people who most influence him: Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren.
“What is your definition of success? For me, money is not my definition of success,” West told W. “Inspiring people is a definition of success. Doing things to the maximum….You know what’s my definition of success? Being able to be 39 years old, a black male, and articulate myself in this way and back it up. My definition of success is dropping a Charlie Sheen-level tweet and being like, ‘I am in debt and fuck you.’ Now what?”
Read West’s full interview with W magazine here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum