Rapper and designer (?) Kanye West has definitely been a polarizing figure in pop culture over the years. During a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina during George W. Bush’s presidency, West declared on national television (and to everyone’s surprise) that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” In 2009, he stole Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech time at the VMAs to declare that Beyonce should have won the award. Clearly, West has no problem speaking his mind. That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing, but it’s probably best for Kanye to take a few etiquette classes if he’s going to continue to be in the public eye.
Speaking of the public eye, Kanye is definitely here to stay (at least for now), since he’s married to Kim Kardashian, one of the most famous women in the world. Aside from Kim’s obsession with selfies and many business ventures, she and Kanye have a little girl named North, and are expecting a son soon. Those are just more reasons why the public is still so interested in Kanye and what he may say or do next. There was once a time when the rapper and producer from Chicago was just a kid with a backpack and a dream. Now, he’s…well, he’s Kanye. He also thinks he reminds the public of other great people. Here are 12 celebrities Kanye West has compared himself to.
12 Miles Davis
Kanye West apparently has no problems comparing himself to jazz great Miles Davis, in the sense that he “likes nice things” in the same way that the late musician did. Davis was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was called one of the “key figures in the history of jazz.” Perhaps Kanye also feels that he has the type of influence in the music industry that Miles Davis did. In the same quote about liking nice things, West also said that he is “in the lineage of Gil Scott-Heron, great activist-type artists.” Yes, Kanye has spoken about the ills of society before. We just wish he’d find a better way to convey his thoughts.
11 Dave Chappelle
West has been quoted as saying he’s the “rap version of Dave Chappelle” during a Rolling Stone interview in 2004. Maybe he means that he’s not going to be manipulated by fame, can’t stand the paparazzi and has a sense of humor that is steeped in realism. However, Kanye did follow up his comment with a bit of humility, stating that “I’m not sayin’ I’m nearly as talented as Chappelle when it comes to political and social commentary.” West made it clear that he can relate to Dave Chappelle in the aspect that they both laugh to keep from crying. Looks like Kanye’s really got a deep side, after all.
10 Pablo Picasso
West made it clear that he respects the work of late artist Pablo Picasso with quotes like “no matter how they try to control you, or the mother**ker next to you tries to peer pressure you, you can do what you motherf**king want. I am Picasso.” However, that’s about all he made clear in this quote. It started out being an encouraging word for his fans, but it ended with Kanye pretty much praising…Kanye. Maybe West hasn’t yet mastered the art of complimenting and motivating someone else without making the conversation about him. With a second baby on the way, West had better start learning how to share.
9 Jimi Hendrix
Obviously, Kanye West, who is a rapper and tries to be a singer from time to time, believes with all his heart that he’s actually a rock star. He has compared himself to the greats like Jimi Hendrix, and even gave rocker Axl Rose an honorable mention in his rant about how great he is. West has said “…nobody can tell me where I can and can’t go. Man, I’m the No. 1 living and breathing rock star. I am Axl Rose…I am Jimi Hendrix.” Kanye then went on to say that people can’t claim to be music lovers and then not allow him to come to a show they’re promoting. He ended his rant by saying that anyone who even thinks they can tell him where to go and where not to go is being blasphemous toward rock ‘n’ roll and music in general.
8 Michael Jordan
Even though he retired years ago, Michael Jordan is still regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Jordan also has a reputation for being arrogant and entitled, so it’s no wonder that Kanye has taken some of his cues from the star athlete. Of course, West has also taken the liberty to compare himself to Jordan. He has referred to himself at the Michael Jordan of music. Yeah, you read that right. West also said: “anytime I’ve had a big thing that’s ever pierced and cut across the Internet, it was a fight for justice. Justice. And when you say justice, it doesn’t have to be a war. It could just be clearing a path for people to dream properly…a path to make it fair within that arena that I play.”
7 Steve Jobs
Kanye West also thinks that he should remind people of late tech genius Steve Jobs, and doesn’t understand why some people just don’t see it. West states that in the future, people are going to associate his name with something great and groundbreaking. He says, “I think what Kanye West is going to mean something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am, undoubtedly you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump.” West also said that Jobs’ passing feels like when rapper Notorious B.I.G. died and Jay-Z was allowed to rise in prominence as a rapper. Basically, West is saying that he’s extremely important to pop culture.
6 Michael Jackson
There are times when Michael Jackson gives respect to the people he admires. Reportedly, he was humbled and excited to meet the late king of pop. He has stated that “I would not be Kanye West if it wasn’t for Michael Jackson.” OK, he’s doing good so far, but in true Kanye fashion, things are about to get pretty arrogant. He continues, “But I was able to ascend to massive heights. And 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.”
5 Kobe Bryant
Kanye once said that he would bring his fans “the best he has to offer, with the same dedication Kobe has on the court.” Kobe Bryant is a very accomplished basketball player, so fans are likely looking for some top-notch creative work from West. Then again, Kanye could also be comparing himself to Kobe to indicate that he’s the greatest at rapping and designing clothing, in the same way that Bryant is one of the best basketball players, and Lakers, of all time. It’s hard to tell whether Kanye calls himself the best as a form of self-encouragement, or if he actually believes that he’s a better person that some individuals.
4 Martin Luther King, Jr.
During his time in Tampa in 2013, West stated that he “had a dream that he was Martin Luther King.” He also said that he wasn’t afraid to dream out loud. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being inspired by the speeches and accomplishments of King, it’s probably not a good idea to compare oneself to him. It’s also a great thing to “dream out loud.” However, it’s likely best that these dreams are original. After all, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life to the Civil Rights movement, and it literally cost him everything. There’s a reason why no one, not even fellow Civil Rights leaders, have compared themselves to King.
3 President Obama
Apparently, Kanye West has gotten pretty good at putting his foot in his mouth—and keeping it there. In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, West had the gall to compare himself to President Obama. He stated that no one is paying attention to what the president is wearing (in contrast to the attention West is getting for his clothing). He also stated that First Lady Michelle Obama would never be able to post racy pics like the ones Kim Kardashian posts on Instagram. Kanye, we’re pretty sure the First Lady and the leader of the free world don’t want any social media or fashion advice from you. Comments like this are the reason people think West is arrogant and impossible to reason with.
2 Adolf Hitler
Apparently, Kanye West also thinks that he can relate to Adolf Hitler, in the sense that some people really hate his guts. At the Big Chill Music Festival in 2011, West stated that when he walked through the hotel where he was staying, people would stare at him with extreme disdain, as though he were Hitler. He also admitted that people think he’s “f**king insane,” but that “one day the light will shine through and one day people will understand everything I ever did.” That’s a pretty big promise, and many of Kanye’s fans are hoping that it’s true, since the rapper seems to be getting stranger by the minute.
That’s right. Kanye West actually compared himself to God. Maybe he means that he’s a god in the sense that he’s in control of his creative destiny to a certain extent. Perhaps he means that he intends to save the music industry. Or, maybe West is just trying to say that he’s confident. Whatever the case, saying that you’re God is taking things way too far, and even made West’s fans raise an eyebrow. During a 2013 interview Zane Lowe of BBC’s Radio 1, Kanye said, “when someone comes along and says something like, ‘I am a God,’ and everybody says, ‘Who does he think he is?’ I just told you who I thought I was. A God. I just told you. That’s who I think I am.” Whoa.