The 17 Most Kanye Quotes From Kanye West’s Oxford Guild Lecture

Justin Caffier
(Photo: Getty)

“They said I could speak for about 20 minutes or so. I might go longer.” This is how Kanye West began his improvisational speech to The Oxford Guild, Europe’s oldest professional society. The audience laughed, knowing full well he would indeed go long. But who gives Kanye West the light? Love him or hate him, when he speaks, sound bites just fall out of his mouth.

Over the course of his lecture to the group, West pontificated on the progression of his aesthetic. His stream-of-consciousness speech went all over the place, but the audience seemed rapt with the rapper and exploded in applause at the conclusion. Here are some of the choice quotes from the just-released March 2, 2015 speech. Check the full video below to watch Yeezus in all his glory.


1. “My goal, if I was gonna do art—fine art—would have been to have become Picasso. Or greater.”

2. “We have the resources, as a civilization, to find utopia, but we’re lead by the most greedy, the least noble.”

3. “I think one of the most important things to my ability to create so much in the past 12, 13 years is my desire to play sports. And I approach creativity like a sport where, if I have a drawing, I will react just like a jock. ‘LOOK AT THAT F*CKING DRAWING RIGHT THERE! YEAA!!’”

4. “Particularly for the aesthetic-driven creatives, we were taught to hide our black fingernail polish, and put our head down in the back of the class, and not be noticed, out of fear that someone might laugh at one of our ideas.”

5. “I’m probably batting 2,000. I know that’s incorrect also.”

6. “I love Steve Jobs. That’s one of my favorite persons. But one thing disappointed me. It was that, when Steve passed, they didn’t give the ideas up. That was kinda selfish. And you know that Elon [Musk] was like ‘Yo. Take these ideas.’”

7. “I would see toys that people would buy my daughter and I’d say, ‘This toy isn’t quality. I don’t want my daughter playing with this.’ And it seems somehow elitist or something, but it’s ‘No. There’s not enough love put into this. This is just manufactured with the will to sell and not the will to give inspiration.’”

8. "In America, people really do wear $3,000 shirts. For REAL. Out here and in Stockholm they’re like ‘C’mon, dude. That’s a $3,000 shirt.’ I’m assuming I have a $2,000 shirt on but I got it for free because I designed it.”

9. “People ask me how my daughter’s doing. She’s only doing good if your daughter’s doing good. We’re all one family.”

10. “We have the ability to approach our race like ants, or we have the ability to approach our race like crabs.”

11. "They need to do award shows for the Nobel Peace Prize but I guess that doesn’t sell as many MasterCard commercials.”

12. “One of the most memorable things about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was Nicki Minaj. And the fact that she kicked my ass. On my song. On one of the best albums—THE best album, I’m just saying what the critics say—of the past 25 years.”


13. “On of my biggest problems, my Achilles heel, has been my ego. And if I, Kanye West—third person—can remove my ego, I think there’s hope for everyone.”

14. “My momma taught me if I was at a grocery store, in an aisle by myself, and a stranger grabbed my hand, ‘Scream at the top of your f*cking lungs.’ So when I’m at an award show and a stranger grabs my hands and says ‘Ok, um, so we’re gonna use these moving lights,’ or ‘We’re gonna go play the music now before we define the look,’ or ‘We’re gonna just keep the cameras cutting in a traditional TV way,’ I’ll scream at the top of my f*cking lungs.”

15. “It’s not illegal to not listen to music. It’s illegal to not wear clothes. And also possibly extremely cold.”

16. “There should never be a $5,000 sweater. You know what should cost $5,000? A car should cost $5,000.”

17. “Every ‘ism.’ They think we’re done with racism. What about elitism? What about separatism? What about classism?”


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