“[I hate YouTube because] the player is so ugly, and it’s presented in such a terrible manner. I want everything I do to be presented in an art context, as this is a form of sonic art. I was an artist originally, I have been in art school since I was 5 years old. I got scholarships to three art schools, Art Institute of Chicago, Saint Xavier, and the American Academy of Art, where I ended up going—and I dropped out because I had an assignment where I was supposed to do an ink painting or something, and I would take two weeks to do it, and when I looked at my work, I just felt that I would never be one of the great visual artists of the world. I just felt like I would end up like—and this is no knock to anybody that does this—but I felt like I would end up working at an ad agency or something like that. I wanted to make something of impact. I found that when I would drop samples, my friends would react to it more. I felt that I had a real talent in chopping and appropriating music.
“What I want people to understand about sampling and producing is that it’s really similar to—and I know this is obvious what I’m going to say, because I’m a black guy so I’m gonna name the ‘most obvious artist in the world’—Warhol, but it’s very similar to the way Warhol would appropriate a Campbell’s Soup can is the way I would sonically appropriate a Ray Charles sample or a Michael Jackson sample.
“Right now it’s a fight against the separation and constant dumbing down of culture, and I’m standing in the middle of it. So if you know what people say are my lowest moments, those moments where I sat and saw them try to dumb down culture, and I would not allow it to happen on my clock. [Applause]
“So when I used to go to fashion shows with my boys and we’d be eight deep, it was almost like a civil rights, like a sit-in. They wouldn’t even let us in. They had no idea what rap would mean to this world, what rap would mean to the art world. Before the Kendrick Lamars and the A$AP Rockys, it was Kanye West in a hotel room at the Le Maurice getting a ‘no, no, no, no’ to every single fashion show.
“But I thought it was so important to get close to the artists who worked so hard on making a usable form of art—like this furniture right here, like everything that is in all these rooms that inspire us so much—and I fight in my position of being a very commercial celebrity boyfriend, I fight to push culture forward every chance I get. And I only frown because paparazzi ask me dumbass shit all the time, and I think about changing the world, and I think about what I can do to make things better. And, without further ado, I want to play you guys my new album. It’s called Yeezus.”
They will want to know who you are, where you come from, what your family was like.
They will look through your photographs and read all of your poems. They will come over for dinner and speak to your mother about how their curiosity has taught them things of use to her. They will ask you to rant when you’re angry and cry when you’re hurt.
They will ask what that raised eyebrow meant. They will want to know your favorite food, your favorite color, your favorite person. They will ask why.
They will buy that camera you liked, pay attention to that band you love in case there’s a show near by, they will get you the sweater you smiled at once. They’ll learn to cook your favorite meals.
The curious people don’t settle for your shell, they want the insides.
They want what makes you heavy, what makes you uneasy, what makes you scream
for joy, and anger, and heartbreak.
Their skin will turn into pages
that you learn to pour out your entire being in.
Don’t fall in love with the curious one.
They won’t let a sigh go unexplained.
They will want to know what they did
Exactly what they did to make you love them.
Year, month, week, day.
“What time was it? What did I say? What did I do?
How did you feel?”
Don’t fall in love with a curious one because I’ve been there.
They will unbutton your shirt
and read every scar
They will dissect your every limb, every organ, every thought, every being
then walk back home and eat their dinner and never return your calls.
You will never be their lifelong expedition. The heart is a mystery only for so long.
There is no ache like loving a curious one
who chases every falling star and never catching one.
Who comes and sees and conquers
I’ve fallen in love with a curious one.
Maybe one day he will take the train back home
and be curious enough to read one last message from me
carved on a seat.
as effortlessly as you’ve moved me for years.