Kanye West is Arrogant, but is that Really So Bad?

by Rachel Simon

A New York Times interview with Kanye West appeared in the paper's Arts section today, and the chat with the rapper and soon-to-be father is just as arrogant, delusional, and ridiculous an interview as you'd expect. It's a lengthy piece, excerpted from a many-houred, three-day-long phone call between West and the reporter, but it's worth reading — trust us. Here are a few choice quotes:

"You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, “This is wrong.”

"I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things."

On Swiftgate: "It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is."

And my personal favorite:

"I’m like, the anti-celebrity."

Says the guy who impregnated a Kardashian.

In the time since the article's publication, the media has pounced on West and his endlessly quotable lines, less with outrage, more with amusement. Vulture compiled a list of the most entertaining soundbites; Rolling Stone compared West to other possible contenders for the title of "the next Steve Jobs" (yes, the rapper really said that); Mashable gathered some of Twitter's best reactions to the article's release. All over the Web, people are reading and reacting to the latest of West's high-profile antics, and they all seem to be coming to one consensus: Nothing West can do or say can surprise us any more. We're immune to his arrogance.

I stopped being shocked by West when he wore this onstage, but while West's attitude and rampant narcissism are amusing, they're also refreshingly honest.

It's rare for a celebrity (sorry, Kanye, you are one) to be so unabashedly sincere. Most hide their arrogance behind publicists and press tours, pretending their rudeness is the result of "personal matters" or "a rough day." As celebrities, they have images to maintain, and bad write-ups in the tabloids can have negative effects on their careers. Yet West doesn't abide by these rules. He less reveals his arrogance than throws it in our faces, reminding us time and again that Kanye West is a rich, powerful superstar, and damn if he doesn't know it. He has his haters, of course, but he also has his fans — millions and millions of them — and unlike most stars, he seems to feel that that's all the support he needs. So he revels in his success, giving interviews like the New York Times', and refusing to cater towards publicists and managers that'd probably love nothing more for him than to shut up and sing. It's a bold and impressive move.

I don't particularly like West (the only rap on my iTunes is this), but I do respect him. He doesn't give in to the pressure from labels and media to be a certain image, and the insane amount of confidence he has in himself is actually pretty inspiring. Sure, he's narcissistic and arrogant, but so what? I'd rather him be the most famous obnoxious guy in the world than just another slapped-on-the-wrist celebrity forced to issue apologies left and right.

So, Kanye West, keep on being your loud, crazy, ridiculously arrogant self. We appreciate the honesty.

Image: Getty Images