Kanye West just dropped his new album T.L.O.P., once again showing he’s an exceptional rapper.
He has redefined hip-hop, but also has an incredible eye for fashion, design, and video direction. And who knows, he might even run for president in 2020. West recently gave a talk at Oxford University about creativity, which you can watch here. Here are seven Kanye-endorsed strategies for killing it — no matter your field.
“We’re all born artists,” he says. “Some people are artists of business, some people are artists of composition.”
Share ideas without fear
Many artists don’t create art because they’re too afraid to share their ideas. West says we shouldn’t worry about failure.
“We’re taught to hide our black fingernail polish and put our head down in the back of the class and not notice out of fear that someone might laugh at one of our ideas,” he says.
Embrace your weirdness
Your creative spunk is what makes you you. Fight for your ideas, and don’t conform, West says.
“They want you to have a reputation of sitting in the corner of the class…out of fear of being ridiculed, someone not liking your thoughts, being embarrassed, being talked about the next day, not being accepted, being an outsider, being crazy,” he says.
Bounce back from rejection
West attributes his success to his perseverance. While he’s successful now, a number of record labels rejected him in the beginning — even after he played them “Jesus Walks.”
He doesn’t let the haters get him down.
“No weapon formed against me shall prosper,” Kanye says, quoting the Bible.
Be willing to collaborate
West says he respects Elon Musk for collaborating with other companies and freely sharing his bold ideas about the future of technology. Meanwhile, he calls out Steve Jobs for not doing the same before he died.
“Maybe there are companies outside of Apple that could work on them and push humanity forward,” he says. “Ideas are free, and you can’t be selfish with them.”
When you put the best minds together, the work will improve ten-fold, he adds.
Approach creative work like it’s a sport
Competition can be great for creativity, West says.
“If I have a drawing, I react just like a jock: Look at that fucking drawing right there, yeah!” he shouts.
Ditch your ego
In the talk, West admits what everyone already knows: he has a huge ego. It’s the biggest thing that stifles his creative work.
But he’s working on it.
“If I, Kanye West, the very person, can remove my ego, I think there’s hope for everyone,” he says.
West started studying fine art at age 5. If he had continued painting, West says he would’ve tried to do it better than Picasso.
“That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone in the past that has done so much. In your life you’re not allowed to even think that you can do as much,” he says. “That’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.”