What “American Dream” Means To Kanye West According To His Paper Magazine Cover

And by “American Dream” he means “World Dream.”

April 20, 2015

Kanye has claimed the cover of this month's Paper magazine, his second of the week. While his wife went full monty in order to break the internet when she was on the cover last fall, Kanye's 'net crashing style is a little different; as he's explained, "Every time that I say something that's extremely truthful out loud, it literally breaks the Internet." And so he's taken his turn to espouse truths about the so-called "American Dream"—which in his case, he says, "is a world dream"—with a first person essay on the subject. Here's what it looks like to live the "world dream" according to Kanye.

Think positive thoughts:

The first thing I told my team on New Year's Day was, "You know, people say bad news travels fast, but this year let's make good news travel faster." You get back what you put out, and the more positive energy you put out, the more positive energy you'll get back.

Give into the internet:

It can be a scary thing for people to think universally, to think in terms of the world. It's not traditional. There's a lot of people who want to make sure things don't become a hybrid, but the Internet has opened up every conversation, literally and metaphorically. It starts as homogenizing, but this hybrid-ing, this interbreeding of ideas, is necessary for us as a race to evolve. (Thank God for Steve Jobs.)

Be the Gap (or something):

It's funny that I worked at the Gap in high school, because in my past 15 years it seems like that's the place I stood in my creative path -- to be the gap, the bridge.

Don't be afraid to pay your dues:

You have paid your dues to be an insider. I paid my dues when I had to wear a kilt in Chicago, and friends would say, "What's your boy got on?" But there are warriors that have killed people in kilts in the past. Who gets to decide what's hard and what's not hard? When I saw this kilt, I liked it. I was into it. It looked fresh to me. I felt creative; I didn't feel limited by some perception.

Don't wait for a thumbs up:

My goal is to be as close to a five-year-old, or a four-year-old, or a three-year-old, as possible. If a three-year-old says, "I like the color orange," he's not giving an explanation to an entire world that can give him a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down on whether or not he should like the color orange.

Focus on innovation rather than invention:

I care about innovating. I don't care about capitalizing off of something that we've seen or heard a thousand times. I'm not a capitalist in that way. I'm an innovator. That's my job. I like two things: I like innovating and I like making things better. It's not that I always have to invent things that are new. Sometimes I can take something that's there and attempt to make a better version and that's what gets me off. Bottom line.

Don't be oppressed by perception:

I also love people being inspired to follow their dreams, because I think people are oppressed by smoke and mirrors, by perception. There isn't an example of a living celebrity that has more words formed against him, but just a little self-belief can go a long way. I think the scariest thing about me is the fact that I just believe. I believe awesome is possible and I believe that beauty is important.

Beauty and money are important:

I think beauty is important and it's undermined by our current corporate culture. When you think about the corporate office, you don't see the importance of beauty. I think all colors are beautiful and in a corporate world only one color is. But another thing is that I believe money is important. I think that artists have been brainwashed to look at money as a bad thing, and it's not. I think they're equally important in our current civilization.

Give without getting back:

One time I was at the dentist's office and I was given nitrous gas and I was vibing out—I guess that's my version of Steve Jobs and his LSD trip—when I had this first thought: What is the meaning of life? And then I thought, To give. What's the key to happiness? Happiness. What do you want in life? When you give someone something, should they give you something in return? No. We don't have to expect to be compensated by the person we give to. Just give.

Lead image: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

What “American Dream” Means To Kanye West According To His Paper Magazine Cover