Kanye West dismissed his legacy and embraced selflessness and giving back to the world in a wide-ranging interview with Time as part of the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
“I don’t care about having a legacy, I don’t care about being remembered,” West said. “The most important thing to me is while I’m here, while we’re having fun, while we’re going to sleep and breathing oxygen, and living life, and falling in love, and having pain, and having joy, is like, ‘What can I do with my voice, what can we do for each other to make life easier, make life doper for our kids as they grow up?’ You know, they were born into a broken world and we’re like the clean-up crew.”
While music remains West’s primary outlet for communicating with the world, he’s working to achieve similar goals with his forays into fashion. The fashion world, however, wasn’t quick to offer the musician a warm welcome, and West recalled a show early on when only two or three editors stayed to speak with him about his collection. Still, he told his fashion publicist at the time, “‘This is great. Remember this moment, because it won’t always be like this. Embrace this moment where no one came to see the collection.’ I take things that people look at as a negative as an inspiration to do something better.”
West has made significant inroads in fashion since then, most notably designing a collection for Adidas Originals, which debuted at New York Fashion Week in February. While the collection was initially slapped with a high price tag, West has been adamant in interviews about making high-end clothes that are affordable, à la fast-fashion stores like Zara and H&M.
“People used to look down on the mass and say the mass didn’t have good taste,” West said. “And H&M and Zara raised their hands and said, ‘I think they do. I just don’t think they have opportunities.'”
With his clothing designs now public, West said there’s an added responsibility — especially if he’s to reach his lofty goal of being “the Robin Hood of fashion” — but plenty of excitement as well. “It’s something about when you grab the fabrics now,” he said, “that feels like the energy of your first day of college, that first year in college, versus the energy of that last year in high school.”
West also touched on his roots, specifically his earliest memories of making music on the Amiga computer his mother bought because he was interested in making video games. “I was really making music to make video games,” West said, noting how his parents “let me dream, they supported me, they pushed me. They didn’t set me up to be inside of a box.”
Though his ambitions are undeniably grand, West stated, “I’m not in a competition with anyone,” humbling himself and calling humanity a “blip” in the grand scheme. With this in mind, West again spoke about striving to create something that benefits the world as a whole, not a small subset of people, and especially not just himself.
“All these walls that keep us from loving each other as one family or one race–racism, religion, where we grew up, whatever, class, socioeconomics — what makes us be so selfish and prideful, what makes not want to help the next man, what makes us be so focused on a personal legacy as opposed to an entire legacy of a race?” West says. “The dinosaurs aren’t remembered for much more than their bones. When humanity’s gone, what do we give to this little planet that we’re on, and what could we do collectively, removing the pride?”