Kanye West stopped by the prestigious Oxford University in England on Monday, where he gave a 20-minute where he mused on beauty, human nature and his own ambition and ego.

Kanye West On Collaboration

West made clear at the top of his talk that what followed would be completely unscripted, and opened his discussion talking about his own collegiate experience. While speaking about his regret at not attending the Art Institute over the American Academy of Art, West gave his first dynamite quote of the day, comparing himself to great artists of the past:

“My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater. 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 criticized the way society rejects deviations from the norm, alluding to cultural and social norms that might hinder creativity: “We were taught to hide our black fingernail polish and put our head down in the back of the class and not notice out of fear that someone might laugh at one of our ideas – that our idea could become a mockery or a failure in some way.”

A few minutes later, West again touched on his reputation as a big-headed rapper, saying, “People say I have a bad reputation. I think I’ve got the best reputation in the building.”

West elaborated on artistic collaboration, something that has become a bit of a mission for the rapper and designer, and stressed it’s importance, telling students, “This humanity that I talk about, this civilization that I talk about, this future utopia I talk about…it can only happen through collaboration.”

When he wasn’t waxing poetic on the nature of art, collaboration and his theory that the Matrix is like the Bible, West dropped names, referencing his friendship with Elon Musk and President Obama, saying of the President, “He calls the home phone, by the way.”

Kanye West: Classism Is The New Racism

Despite West’s love of luxury items and desire to create material objects, such as clothes, shoes and albums, West spent a good portion of his lecture speaking of the dangers of materialism and how things are sold to the public.

“We’ve been sold a concept of joy through advertising, through car advertising, through fashion branding. It’s not the concept of time, time with your family, time with your friends, the little time that we do have on earth and what we do with that. It was somehow sold to us through a Gucci bag or something,” West said.

West then launched into an explanation of why “racism has passed,” and instead is being replaced by classism. “We’ve had The Cosby Show, Obama’s president, Beyoncé’s great… that’s passed. But there’s still something you’re taught ever day, especially in the UK, and that’s division by class,” West theorized.

West concluded his talk with a rousing call to fight against elitism, saying, “People say to me, ‘You’re successful, what are you crying about?’ I’m crying about the people. I’m crying about their daughters. Our daughers as one family. What good is it? What good is anything that everyone can’t have? Every –ism. They think we’re done with racism. What about elitism, what about separatism, what about classism? That’s all.”

Top 4 Kanye-isms From His Oxford Visit

You can read a transcript of West’s entire speech here, and below are a few choice quotes.

“We have the resources as a civilization to make a utopia, but we’re led by the most greedy and the least noble.”

“Beauty has been stolen from the people and is being sold back to them as luxury.”

“One of my biggest Achilles heels has been my ego. And if I, Kanye West, can remove my ego, I think there’s hope for everyone.”

“They need to do award shows for Nobel Peace Prize, but I guess that doesn’t sell as many MasterCard ads.”

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