By Maurice Bobb
During last week’s “Technology, Culture, and Consumer Adoption: Learning to Read the Cultural Landscape” seminar, Yeezy took everyone from Annie Leibovitz to Samsung to Blackberry to task for their proliferation in culture at large and lack thereof.
The moderator of the panel, which also featured Steve Stoute and Ben Horowitz, pointed out that while ‘Ye has more than 10 million followers on Twitter, he only follows one person, his wife Kim Kardashian.
“I do think it’s really noisy,” Kanye said about the social networking site, while prefacing that he’s not trying to force his opinions on anyone. “People are just bracing to get the next product out, get the next song on the radio. Things don’t have the time to incubate and develop and become something that people will fully understand and grows within itself so I think it’s way too fast.”
“Why is fashion so important? Because it’s trained thinkers of taste,” he said. “The reason why I’ve been trying to build relationships in that world is to bring it over because people think celebrity, which is the highest form of communication like walking networks, TV shows and brands ourselves. I believe bad taste is vulgar. It’s like cursing. And I do think the world can be saved through design because what is the most distasteful thing a person can do? Kill someone. So good taste is the opposite of that.”
Fashion aside, Kanye is just all about trying to be, well, cooler than you.
“I used to be known as the Louis Vuitton Don and I would name-drop all these people by association like how I name-dropped Spike Jonze earlier to make myself look cooler, like that’s my friend,” he said. “It’s all this by association thing that people gain their own confidence.”
Kanye’s definitely aware of the racism that’s come to the forefront of late, but he believes the real problem is classism.
“Before there was racism, there was classism and it’s something that technology completely broke that because you look crazy, no knock to the Vertu company if they’re still around, I don’t know, but you look crazy trying to outclass somebody with a $6k phone. It’s like you’re out-assing somebody really,” he said.
On Beats By Dre
Not surprisingly, the Steve Jobs acolyte was definitely impressed by the Beats By Dre deal made by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.
“One thing I wanted to point out with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre is they are geniuses,” he said. “Both of them are cultural geniuses. What they had done for so many years and they connected with the right company by the way. It’s all about the legacy of Steve. They’ll be tech guys that come to me and be like Apple doesn’t have the biggest market share here but they have the right principles. If we start with the right principles, we go from there.”
He later added, “The best thing about the fall of Blackberry and the rise of Apple is the win for creativity and companies that are based off the idea and not just based off of the amount of product that they can put out. There would have been no Beats deal without the Samsung deal because it showed companies the importance of connecting with culture. Culture and creativity is worth something.”
“The reason I said I didn’t like Samsung particularly is because throughout my entire life, because of the way my parents raised me, I have to work with the #1,” he said. “I can’t work with anyone but Jay Z, because he’s the No. 1 blah, blah, blah. I can’t be with any girl but Kim, because that’s the girl I look at her pictures the most and get turned on by and she’s a nice person. I’m not going to represent any company but Louis Vuitton, because that’s #1. Samsung is not quite Apple, but it showed that Jimmy and Dre would be able to connect with the #1 influencers.”