by Zach Johnson | Mon., Jul. 21, 2014 8:00 AM
The 37-year-old rapper covers GQ's August 2014 issue, where he discusses his public persona and clears up rumors about his romance with Kardashian. Asked about his temper, West told the magazine, "I'm not a shark. I'm a blowfish...People have me pinned as a shark or a predator in some way, and in no way am I that. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone. I want to defend people. I want to help people."
One of the things West wants to help people understand is how he and his wife are shaping celebrity culture. "I am a black American male from Chicago who had my rehearsal dinner at Versailles and then got married in Florence with a view of the entire city," he proudly says, referring to his May 24 wedding.
Speaking of his big day, West wants to clear up a report that ran in The New York Post's Page Six. According to the newspaper article's author, "Kanye returned one hour before the wedding and didn't like the all-white bar that was in front of the Gold Toilet Tower. He took a saw and started sawing it in half himself. Two men held the bar stable as he sawed, and sawed, into the bar, defacing the entire front, screaming at everyone around him. He said it looked like a bar from Texas. Then he ordered two pieces of raw wood to be nailed onto the front of the bar. Once the wood was in place, 'Now,' he said, 'it's art.' The Italian construction teams looked at this guy and couldn't believe what they were seeing."
What really happened?
"For the person that wrote that, were they involved with anything last year that was as culturally significant as the Yeezus tour or that album? They didn't even talk there about the photographs, or the dress, or Andrea Bocelli singing, or the marble tables. They're like: 'It's a gold toilet.' No," West says. "The bathrooms—that usually would be a porta-potty—were wrapped in a fabric that was neutral to match the fort. The bar was terrible, and the wedding planner didn't approve it with me. I was having issues with this wedding planner the entire time on approvals, and I get there and they threw some weird plastic bar there. So the same materials that were used to cover the bathroom, we said, 'Let's just use that, because this is all we have to make the bar look better.' Which it did, in the end. And anyone knows that you cannot pick up tools yourself, because of—what are those rules about the workers?"
Unions? "Yeah, unions. You can't do that. It's illegal," he explains. "That's false."
In his 45-minute wedding toast, West said he discussed "the idea of celebrity, and celebrities being treated like blacks were in the '60s, having no rights, and the fact that people can slander your name."
"I had to say this in a position where I, from the art world, am marrying Kim," he says. "And how we're going to fight to raise the respect level for celebrities so that my daughter can live a more normal life. She didn't choose to be a celebrity. But she is. So I'm going to fight to make sure she has a better life."
In his speech, West also talked about how he and Kardashian have broken down barriers in the celebrity world. "There was a time for two or three years where fashion designers wouldn't give Kim dresses. There was a time they wouldn't even let me be at shows. Now the idea that Kim is in a Givenchy Couture dress is raising the communication. Because people would be more apt to be like, 'Celebrities don't really have style. Celebrities can't dress. Celebrities are less educated.' But they haven't had the chance to be able to break through and have Carine Roitfeld sitting right there. Carine Roitfeld is the Walt Disney of what Tumblr is today. She is the Kanye West of what Tumblr is today. She's the single most important person to what street style is today. And she was at the wedding seven seats down from Kim, who is one of the number one fashion plates of today. So I said, 'Wow, Carine is seven seats down from Kim. Farnaz [Farjam], the producer of the Kardashians and the producer of The Real World, is four seats down from [director] Steve McQueen. And four seats, because in between them is Hosain [Rahman] from Jawbone.' This is what I talked about. That was not a 45-minute speech to myself," he explains. "Do you realize what that means for those people to be in that close of a proximity to each other?"
West doesn't directly address reports that Beyoncé and Jay-Zchose not to attend his wedding due to their alleged distaste for Kardashian's fame as a reality TV star. "It doesn't even matter to me whatsoever, who would show up. Because the most important person to show up there, to me, was Kim. And that's all that matters to me," the "New Slaves" rapper says. "I had to fight for that for seven years. But the fact that these other people showed up that are from such different worlds but have done such dynamic things—they're all, in a way, equal to what Kim has done in TV or what I had done in music. I was so moved that I just wanted people to stop and think they weren't sitting at a table full of fashion people, they weren't sitting at a table full of celebrities, they weren't sitting at a table full of movie directors. It really was a representation of the way we receive information today, post-internet."
"Page Six can't overshadow the main point: Carine Roitfeld was sitting next to Kim Kardashian. That alone to me is like the same moment when I brought Mos Def to the studio with Jay Z. It's about the people, and the fact that they're from different walks of life, and that they're working together and not discriminating against each other," West adds. "There was a class system, and now there's a creative class system, and I think that's what you were talking about a bit—the class system of creativity."
Skeptics would argue that those people attended the wedding for West, though he argues, "My point is, they were all at her wedding...When an Instagram photo gets 2.3 million likes...That's because of who?"
"It's because of Kim," the fashion designer says in his 33-year-old wife's defense. "Meaning there's no photo that I would have put up by myself, or next to one of my smarty friends, that would have got that amount of likes. So now you take this photo that has that amount of likes, and it has a flower wall from the same guy who does the Lanvin shows, and it has a couture Givenchy dress and Givenchy tuxedo in it. That's the point. Now the thing that is the most popular is also communicating the highest level of creativity. The concept of Kimye has more cultural significance than what Page Six could write."
Why did West decide to get married in the first place?
"Like they said in Step Brothers: Never lose your dinosaur," he explains. "This is the ultimate example of a person never losing his dinosaur. Meaning that even as I grew in cultural awareness and respect and was put higher in the class system in some way for being this musician, I never lost my dinosaur."
"Kim is this girl who f--king turns me on. I love her. This is who I want to be next to and be around. And then people would try to say, 'Well, you know, if you're a musician, you should be with a musician, and if you want to design, you need to be with a girl from the design world.' I don't give a f--k about people's opinions," West tells GQ. "Because when a kid falls in love with an airplane or a bike or a dinosaur—especially if you're an only child and it's not because of the book that the sibling was reading—it's like, f--k, you mean to tell me that the dinosaurs walked the earth and stuff like that?! That's amazing! You mean to tell me that these giant multi-ton crafts can fly that fast and that loud, and they can flip, and there's danger, the possibility of them exploding? That's f--king cool! You mean to tell me that this girl with this f--king body and this face is also into style, and she's a nice person, and she has her own money and is family-oriented? That's just as cool as a f--king fighter jet or dinosaur! And just as rarely seen."
"I feel like you're stronger as a team," he adds. "Because when you know you have a team player, it's not one on the world anymore. At least it's two on the world."
Perhaps because Kardashian is officially on his team, West is no longer bothered if people question their love. "When people try to spoof or talk s--t, it's like: But you're mad because basically Kim is the type of girl that, her entire life, if you were in school with her, most people would be studying and up late nights, but for some reason she would have the skill set to go and grab the one book, turn to the exact page, and just magically say, 'That's the exact answer.' Or she could wink at the person who had done all the work and get it done anyway," he says. "And the point of life is getting s--t done and being happy."
West used to have more of a social media presence, but once he became one-half of Kimye, he altered his strategy. "It's interesting, as I'm delving into being married: Like, what is my verbal creative communication? That's another thing I really like about clothing and film—you could still communicate with a film, because it's not you," he says. "But when you're a reality star or a rapper, you are the film."
What has Kardashian taught West about communication? "One of the reasons why I think that me and Kim are very powerful together isn't just the concept of celebrity or this mega rap star and this mega-beautiful pop star. It's something I explain to my girl: She is who she is. I am who I am. We have advisers and friends and everything, but those people are who they are and we are who we are," he tells GQ. "And what I had to learn from Kim is how to take more of her advice and less of other people's advice. There's a lot of Kim K skills that were added. In order to win at life, you need some Kim K skills, period."
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