During this year's graduation ceremonies at Chicago's School of the Art Institute, the students couldn't help but notice that Kanye West was in the house. And no, it wasn't because he jumped onstage during the valedictorian's acceptance speech and insisted it should have gone to Beyoncé.
Flanked on one side by Nick Cave (the performance artist, not the pop star) and on the other by the school's dean of faculty, Kanye waited patiently, in black cap and gown, for his turn at the mic. He picked up his honorary degree, from a college he'd only briefly attended, and also delivered a five-minute commencement speech.
The hip-hop icon has always been obsessed with college, as demonstrated by his debut album College Dropout, and its successors Late Registration and Graduation. Dropout's opening skit, in fact, consists of an excited school administrator (DeRay Davis, doing his best Bernie Mac impersonation) begging Kanye to do "something beautiful" for the kids who are graduating, something that'll make them "start jumpin' up and down, and sharing candy, and stuff."
That tongue-in-cheek humor resurfaces throughout the album: "You know what college does for you? It makes you really smart, man. All you kids wanted to talk in the back of the class? Not me, I listened, OK? I was a hall monitor. This was meant to be!"
Last Saturday, Kanye once again proved his point, during his closing set at L.A.'s massive FYF festival, which included a surprise sing-along with Rihanna. Meanwhile, over in the U.K., loyal fans camped out on sidewalks in hopes of buying limited-edition "Black Yeezy" Adidas.
In other words, even if the rest of us have no idea what Kanye's doing, he obviously does. So if you're navigating your way through academia, or merely searching for the meaning of life, why not let hip-hop's best-known dropout be your inspirational guide? Here are just a few confidence-building affirmations to help you along your way:
On the importance of ambition: "I haven't begun to scratch the surface of what I can create for the world. And I need more opportunity, more structure, more resources to be able to make moments of magic for mankind." (2015 Q Magazine interview)
On the power of appearance: "I'm like the fly Malcolm X / Buy any jeans necessary" ("Good Morning," from the 2007 album Graduation)
On finding your place in this world: "I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, the Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it's like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z." (2013 New York Times interview)
On seizing the moment: "In the French-ass restaurant / Hurry up with my damn croissants!" ("I Am a God," from the 2013 album Yeezus)
On following your dreams: "I dreamed, since I was a little kid, of having my own store where I could curate every shoe, sweatshirt and color. I have sketches of it. I cried over the idea of having my own store." (2015, New York Times Style Magazine)
On letting go of the past: "I feel like I'm too busy writing history to read it." (2015, Twitter post)
On the promise of the future: "This honor is going to make your lives easier, for two reasons: You don't have to defend me so much. And I'm going to make all our lives easier." (2015, commencement speech)
And when Kanye says all our lives, he's not limiting himself to this one lifetime. Cryonics company Alcor Life Extension Foundation, which has kept baseball star Ted Williams on ice since 2002, was reportedly contacted by Kanye's people about keeping his, Kim's and their kids' bodies frozen.
The story broke last month in The Daily Mirror, a publication that can be found on virtually every checkout counter in the U.K., so you know it must be true.
"He insists he is doing it for the sake of mankind," a source told the tabloid. "His view is that his creative genius is so rare that it is important he stay around on Earth forever."
All of which may explain the recent TMZ photo of Kanye peacefully sleeping during a Disneyland performance of Frozen. Yeezy's just practicing.
This is awesome! Excited about the new music and adventures for his year!
Thanks so much!!!
Hah! Similarly, one, if famous, should not die in December, as all those who passed…