Rapper/self-awareness wormhole Kanye West gave an interview to Jon Caramanica in yesterday’s New York Times, a dialogue on West’s new album that devolved into the artist detailing his increasingly insane (or polymathic) credentials as a “creative professional.” The conversation, which took place at the legendary Shangri-la Studio — originally built under the auspices of Bob Dylan and the Band — was marked by increasingly bizarre digressions firmly belonging to the canon of eminently quotable Westian aphorisms.
The interview begins inauspiciously, with West pardoning Caramanica for the “cliché,” noting that “great art comes from pain … Great art comes from great artists.” Deceptively bland, he continues: “I didn’t realize I was new wave until this project. Thus my connection with [the graphic designer] Peter Saville, with Raf Simons, with high-end fashion, with minor chords.”
Sure, interviews may not be Kanye’s forte. But the series of quotables that go down in the exchanges that follow will surely work their way into meme hall of fame, or at the very least provide fodder for a reprisal of the concept initiated by the dormant though brilliant and widely-hyped Tumblr blog Kanye Wes Anderson. There is perhaps no fate more suitable for the words of the man who just declared himself “undoubtedly, you know, Steve [Jobs] of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period.”
Thus, inspired in part by that project and by West’s announcement here that he is “a new wave artist,” we propose, below, a handful of choice quotes from the rest of the interview overlaid on stills from landmark works of French New Wave cinema. In truth, Kanye might have his sights set more on the Nouvelle Vogue than Nouvelle Vague (the French term for New Wave) — given his apparent obsession with Vogue editor Anna Wintour — but who cares. Feel free to take it from here. Let the internet be the naked island to Kanye’s wave.