Kanye West, the recently self-proclaimed nucleus of culture, gave an epic interview to the NYTimes' Jon Caramanica, which was published yesterday. The product of several hours' worth of conversation, West touches upon his new record Yeezus, being music's Michael Jordan, and how he feels visionary people like Steve Jobs, Rick Owens, and yes, himself, have probably compromised at one point in their career or another.
The conversation touches upon vanity and the fashion world. Kanye claims his passion for clothing stems from his passion for humanity.
The passion is for people. The passion is for the 18-year-old version of myself. The passion is for the kids at my shows. I need to do more. I need to be able to give people more of what they want that currently is behind a glass. I don’t believe that it’s luxury to go into a store and not be able to afford something. I believe luxury is to be able to go into a store and be able to afford something.
In one exchange, West admits he pretty much needed Jay-Z on stage during the Watch The Throne tour so he'd feel okay jumping around in a crazy kilt.
On “Throne,” who’s in a darker mood on that record, you or Jay-Z?
I’m always the one that’s in a darker mood. And then also there was still a thing where I didn’t feel comfortable, you know, going out on tour, the this, the that — all that by myself, yet. Like, I needed—
A buffer, kind of.
I needed to connect with Jay.
Part of it was you wanting to have someone standing next to you and say, “He’s cool. Ye’s cool.”
Yeah, even with the kilt on.
What becomes evident through the course of the interview is that Kanye fashions himself as a visionary in the line of legends such as Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, to more niche icons like former Balenciaga creative director Nicolas Ghesquière. He wants to set trends not just in music and style, but push his agenda of "beauty, truth, awesomeness" through as many platforms as possible. The three words are familiar to West's more than 9 million Twitter followers, because they appeared on his feed earlier this year.
He also swears he dresses "so super straight" these days, perhaps alluding to the punk-inspired studded leather jacket he wore on SNL, or the convertible self-designed field jacket he wore at his recent Governor's Ball performance in New York, which he paired with bright red Yeezy IIs and loose-fitting, drapey garments. Kanye's style has changed a lot over the years, but it's safe to say his current looks aren't meant to move numbers for a brand, but rather reflect the "aspiration minimalism" his sound is also pursuing.
Does it take you less time to get dressed now than it did five years ago?
You look at your outfits from five or seven years ago, and it’s like —
Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.
With that in mind, we sifted through Kanye's outfits from 2008 and 2006 (five or seven years ago, for the math-impaired) and well, he shouldn't be so hard on himself. Even though he's embarassed by it now, he was still setting trends and pushing the boundaries of hip-hop style—like the pink polos and backpack-prep aesthetic he claims allowed him to get places rappers like Dead Prez couldn't.
The truth is, any guy can look at how he dressed before he really found his style and uncover some pretty incriminating photos. All the well-dressed icons we look up to now had an off day or experimented with a trend that really didn't suit them, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Meet the cringe-worthy skeletons hiding in the depths of the controversial rapper's closet. Our advice to Yeezy? Acknowledge these looks are just a part of his sartorial journey and embrace them in stride. Read on to see 30 Kanye West Outfits That Will Make Him Want to "Kill Self."