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Kanye West to PAPER Magazine: 'I'm an innovator. That's my job'

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Kanye West’s had a pretty solid five days. He graced the cover of TIME (and was called one of the world’s 100 most influential people in the process), made a surprise appearance at Coachella’s second weekend during The Weeknd’s set and, on Monday, found himself featured on the front of PAPER Magazine.

Inside the PAPER pages and on the mag’s website, West can be found riffing on how sees the world. (His cover, however, is not likely to break the internet, unlike when West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, was showcased by PAPER last year.) But as with any of West’s press outings, sound bites will be called rants, leaving some strong points ignored. Too bad, since the lengthy essay, as told to one the PAPER writers, covers the grand ideas West has harped on for much of the past decade and a half. Here are the five best bits:

  • “I think it’s so important for me, as an artist, to give Drake as much information as I can, A$AP, Kendrick, Taylor Swift, any of these younger artists as much information as I can to make better music in the future. We should all be trying to make something that’s better. It’s funny that I worked at the Gap in high school, because in my past 15 years it seems like that’s the place I stood in my creative path—to be the gap, the bridge.”
  • “And when you sit down with Riccardo Tisci at the Louvre and he pitches the idea of you wearing a leather kilt, which could be considered by all of your gangbanging friends as some sort of a dress or skirt, at that point you are now a part of the fashion world. … I paid my dues when I had to wear a kilt in Chicago, and friends would say, ‘What’s your boy got on?’ But there are warriors that have killed people in kilts in the past. Who gets to decide what’s hard and what’s not hard? When I saw this kilt, I liked it. I was into it. It looked fresh to me. I felt creative; I didn’t feel limited by some perception.”
  • “There’s no easy way out. Just choose what you want to focus on. Right now, over 70 percent of my focus is on apparel. I haven’t even given my College Dropout of clothing yet. We’re still on mixtapes.”
  • “I don’t care about capitalizing off of something that we’ve seen or heard a thousand times. I’m not a capitalist in that way. I’m an innovator. That’s my job. I like two things: I like innovating and I like making things better. It’s not that I always have to invent things that are new. Sometimes I can take something that’s there and attempt to make a better version and that’s what gets me off. Bottom line.”
  • “The reward is in the deed itself. The times that I’ve looked like a crazy person—when I was screaming at an interviewer or screaming from the stage—all I was screaming was, ‘Help me to help more! I’ve given all I’ve got. I’ve gone into f—ing debt. It’s all I’ve got to give. But if I had a little bit more opportunity, I could give so much more.’ That’s what I was screaming for. Help me to help more.”

Read PAPER‘s complete article here.

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