US rapper, who has likened himself to Picasso, Shakespeare and Disney, sets sights on Renaissance polymaths ahead of Glastonbury headline slot
Not many contemporary artists would risk measuring themselves up against Renaissance polymaths, yet Kanye West has compared himself to Leonardo da Vinci as he prepares for his headline set at Glastonbury.
The 38-year-old US rapper, nicknamed Yeezy, who has in the past likened himself to Pablo Picasso, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Andy Warhol, Shakespeare and even Jesus, said he defies convention and, in the past 12 years, has fought, bought and spat his way out of being boxed in to a certain genre.
Like Renaissance thinkers such as Michelangelo, Galileo and da Vinci, West said, he resists strict categorisation.
The Gold Digger star told the Sunday Times Culture magazine: “Imagine if da Vinci or Michelangelo or Galileo were asked not to think of anything except for the one thing they first became famous for.
“So da Vinci could only have one idea. For all haters, I’m not saying I’m da Vinci, but I feel it’s right for any human being to compare themselves to anything.”
He said critics get uptight about the comparisons he makes of himself, adding: “I’m an extreme speaker, and I speak through comparisons.”
A producer-entrepreneur worth $30m, West has branched out of music to become a fashion designer and is one of America’s most divisive stars. More than 130,000 people have signed a petition calling for him to be dropped from the bill at Glastonbury, which he is due to headline on Saturday, branding his music an “injustice”.
The Yeezus producer is to follow in the footsteps of his close friend and long-time collaborator Jay Z, and the latter’s wife, Beyoncé, in topping the festival playlist.
Kanye’s seventh album, originally titled So Help Me God and later changed to SWISH, is to be released this autumn.
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