There are a few things Kanye West knows he's good at: music, fashion, art and, well, kind of everything. In a wide-ranging one-hour interview with BBC Radio 1 host Zane Lowe, the always humble West served up a kind of greatest hits of Ye-isms, including the bold statement that he's the "#1 rock star on the planet."
Looking relaxed and smiling, Yeezy also dropped what could be his ultimate motto at the top of the chat: "Live like you're gonna die tomorrow."
Here are a five best modest moments from the first part of the sit-down:
Emperor of Pop?
Sure, Michael Jackson dubbed himself the King of Pop and is widely considered to be one of the most successful solo acts of all time. But Kanye is pretty confident that he's got MJ beat. "I was able to ascend to massive levels, heights and never stop because of the foundation that my mother and my father and my grandfather laid through civil rights. What Michael Jackson did with music videos ... there would be no Kanye West without Michael Jackson."
And then 'Ye explained why he goes on his rants and gives impassioned speeches about his awesomeness during his shows. "I've reached a point in my life where my 'Truman Show' boat has reached the painting," he said of the 1998 Jim Carrey movie about a man who discovers that his life is part of a reality show. "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. I look around and I say, 'Wait a minute. There's no one around here in this space that looks like me. And if they are, they're quiet as f--k.' So that means, wait a second — now we're seriously like, in a civil rights movement."
"I'm not trying to regurgitate myself," he said. "I showed people that I understand how to make perfect. [My Beautiful] Dark [Twisted] Fantasy could be considered to be perfect. I know how to make perfect, but that's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to crack the pavement and make new grounds sonically... and culturally."
In talking about how he's been able to re-define what hip-hop sounds like and what can be played on the radio with the off-kilter Yeezus, West said his musical output is like a civil rights movement for these times. "Everyone is bound to, no pun intended,16 bars and eight bars ... and the normal radio thing. I was talking to Frank Ocean about this, you know my mom got arrested for the [civil rights] sit-ins and we're more like the sit-outs, like sit-off of radio. And say, 'Hey radio come to us.' "
Remember R2D2? That's all me
He's already compared himself to Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, a God, Picasso and Steve Jobs, but R2D2? "My voice is only compressed to express myself artistically through music. It's the only place where I actually have a deal," he said. "So I'm going to take music and I'm gonna try to make it three dimensional. Like on 'Star Wars' in the hologram that pop up out of R2D2. I'm gonna try to make something that jumps up and affects you in a good or bad way!"
Leather jogging pants, totally his idea
In explaining the barriers he's faced in exercising his creativity, West gave an example of how he's so ahead-of-the-curve it's ridiculous. "Brought the leather jogging pants six years ago to Fendi and they said no!" he said. "How many motherf---ers you done seen with a leather jogging pant? ... We culture. Rap the new rock and roll! We the rock stars! ... We the real rock stars and I'm the biggest of all of them!"