Kanye West seems to be taking the “If you don’t have anything nice to say …” stance by not coming right out and refuting the rumor from a few weeks ago that he had died in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles.
As he promised following his VMAs bum rush on Taylor Swift, ’Ye has been toning it down lately, staying out of the spotlight and the camera’s glare and seemingly taking the high road by posting a series of thoughtful quotes from the legendary three-time Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali on his blog.
Kanye being Kanye, the so-far six-part cycle kicked off last week with a boast about how hard it is to be the greatest. But read in reverse order, the homage to Ali is a kind of guidebook to the perils and promise of growing up in public.
The latest quote went up Wednesday morning and it reads as follows: “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.” It accompanies a black-and-white image of the notoriously brash Ali bowing his head in a humble gesture.
The previous day’s quote was a bit more spirited: “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” That statement is paired with an image of the once-dominant champ staring down at a fallen opponent.
On Monday, he offered a shot of Ali in a boxing stance underwater with the Zen-like mantra, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out: it’s the pebble in your shoe.” Sunday’s quote was perhaps aimed at the rapper’s inner circle, intoning, “Friendship … is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
Earlier on in the series, the second quote drew a clear line between Ali’s notorious trash-talking poetry and Kanye’s equally legendary self-confidence. “At home I am a nice guy. But I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.” And, way back last week, it all started with a comment that might have made doubters wonder whether Kanye wasn’t that serious about toning things down: “When you are as great as I am it is hard to be humble.”