Most musicians, and this is only when they’re feeling particularly confident, are content with comparing themselves to other musicians – either as a little nod of thanks to their heroes, or a guilty admission to being totally ripping off matey from Royal Blood.
Kanye West, however, has conveyed a slightly more, shall we say, grandiose self-image, often comparing himself to philosophers, great artists, world leaders and, famously, a certain well known carpenter from the middle east. Here’s a list of West’s most preposterous claims.
God Kanye was adamant about his deity status during his notorious R1 interview with Zane Lowe. "When someone comes along and says something like ‘I am a God,’ everybody says ‘Who does he think he is?’ I just told you who I thought I was. A God. I just told you. That’s who I think I am."
Beethoven "I am flawed as a human being,” ‘Ye told an interviewer in 2012, “but my music is perfect... You could go back to Beethoven and shit, but as far as this lifetime, though, this is all you got."
Michael Jackson "I would not be Kanye West if it wasn't for Michael Jackson,” Kanye declared. “But I was able to ascend to massive heights. And I've got to a point that Michael Jackson did not break down. I have reached the glass ceiling, as a creative person, as a celebrity, and I've been at it for 10 years.”
Steve Jobs "I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means,” Kanye has claimed. “I am undoubtedly, you know, 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.”
Shakespeare "I am Warhol!” West exclaimed on US radio show Sway In The Morning. “I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh. Walt Disney, Nike, Google."
Pablo Picasso No matter how they try to control you, or the motherfucker next to you tries to peer pressure you, you can do what you motherfucking want,” he said, inspirationally, to an audience in Paris in 2013. Then he continued, bizarrely, “I am Picasso.”
Vanellope von Schweetz "Have y'all ever seen Wreck-It Ralph?” Kanye once asked. “You remember how that girl in there — the people that was racing? She was the glitch. You're telling me they don't look at me like the motherfucking glitch? You're telling me people don't look at Kanye West like the glitch right now? She was on the side of the video game, the whole time!”
Walt Disney, Da Vinci, Howard Hughes & Jesus "When I compare myself to Steve Jobs, or Walt Disney… Howard Hughes, David Stern, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Jesus,” he said in Rolling Stone last year, “I’m saying these are my heroes."
Christopher Columbus “I’m Christopher Columbus,” Kanye informed us on ‘Swagga Like Us’, “y’all just the Pilgrims.”
Buddy from Elf “A lot of times I feel like Will Ferrell in the movie Elf,” he said about his involvement in the fashion industry. “You know, this big guy that wants to [join in] and his hands are a little bit too big ...”
Hitler “I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street and people look at me like I’m fucking insane, like I’m Hitler,” Kanye said at the Big Chill Festival in 2011. “One day the light will shine through and one day people will understand everything I ever did.”
Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela & Thomas Edison ‘Nelson Mandela?’ you might tell Kayne, ‘in your dreams!’ Well yes. "I had a dream that I was Mandela,” he told a crowd in Tampa in 2013, and he was obviously on the heavy cheese that night. “I had a dream that I was Thomas Edison… I had a dream that I was Martin Luther King.”
Socrates “I’m Socrates, but my skin more chocolatey,” he rapped, philosophically, in ‘See Me Now’
Donald Trump “Balding, Donald Trump taking dollars from y’all,” went the lyrics to ‘So Appalled’, and he can now add a Presidential run to the similarity too.
Malcolm X “I’m fly like the Malcolm X,” he told us in ‘Good Morning’, perhaps missing the point of Malcom X’s political slogan when he continued, “buy any jeans necessary.”
Will Smith “We were sort of like Will Smith and his son, in the movie,” he wrote on ‘Champion’, “I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout the rich ones.”
Michael Jordan Whenever he was shooting his mouth off at award ceremonies or on Hurricane Katrina telethons, he explained, he's just getting his Jordan on. "Anytime I’ve had a big thing that’s ever pierced and cut across the Internet, it was a fight for justice. If Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can say, 'This is wrong.’”
Ghandi "'Everything I’m not made me everything I am’,” Kanye said, quoting himself to Rolling Stone in 2007. “In my humble opinion that’s a prophetic statement. Gandhi would have said something like that."
Jimi Hendrix and Axl Rose “Nobody can tell me where I can and can’t go,” he said in response to being denied tickets for a fashion show. “Man, I’m the Number One living and breathing rock star. I am Axl Rose ... I am Jimi Hendrix. It’s blasphemous—to rock ’n’ roll, and to music.”
Miles Davis “I am in the lineage of Gil Scott-Heron, great activist-type artists,” Kanye declared, exposing his softer jazz leanings. “But I’m also in the lineage of a Miles Davis — you know, that liked nice things also.”