Kanye West, America's tantrum-throwing beat-dropping id, gave an interview to the Times this week so overflowing with self-aggrandizing proclamations practically begging to be ironically cross stitched onto a $30 Etsy throw pillow that it made Muhammad Ali sound like Mahatma Gandhi. But when you strip away the ostentatious comparisons Yeezy makes between himself and every visionary in recent history from Anna Wintour to Steve Jobs, Kanye's latest isn't entirely eyeroll-inducing. In fact, West's life philosophy reads a little like Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, but on zoo animal steroids. So in that spirit, here are the LEAN IN-iest nuggets of wisdom Kanye dropped, and how you can use them to make your own Non-ye life approach terminal excellence.
1. On parenthood:
Like, this is my baby. This isn't America's Baby.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: Your parenthood decisions aren't anyone's business. Not the overly curious lady at the pharmacy around the corner who asks you, when you're buying pregnancy tests, if you hope it's positive (HOLLA ,WICKER PARK CVS CIRCA 2009!), not the stranger at the bus stop who touches your pregnant stomach without asking like if she rubs it you'll grant her a wish, not your friend who had a baby and suddenly became a breastfeeding expert who is creepily concerned with your areolas' fortitude. And the next time your hippie neighbor waxes poetic about the virtues of raising your kid on only organic soy, just yell THIS ISN'T AMERICA'S BABY!
2. On independence:
Why do you want to control me? Like, I want the world to be better! All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness! Why would you want to control that?
Kanye to Non-ye translation: In a world of grasping capitalist artifice, dopeness is the last pure thing we have. And if all you — YOU PERSONALLY, probable woman reading this — are in the pursuit of dopeness, don't let anyone tell you what to do. Not your boss. Not your roommate. Not that guy you went out on two OK Cupid dates with. Like Shakespeare said, if dopeness be your pursuit, fuck all the haters, forsooth.
3. On vision:
Yeah, respect my trendsetting abilities. Once that happens, everyone wins. The world wins; fresh kids win; creatives win; the company wins.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: Have faith in your idea of what the world of tomorrow can bring and don't back down when you know you've got a good idea. Don't do it for you — do it for the fresh kids.
4. On culture:
I understand culture. I am the nucleus.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: I guess this one doesn't have much crossover relevance to Normals like you or I, but I'll take a shot: declare yourself the nucleus of something slightly more specific than culture. Your couch, maybe. Then nucleus the fuck out of that couch.
5. On standing up for what's right:
You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, “This is wrong.”
Kanye to Non-ye translation: You might not be the Michael Jordan of anything, and I hope for your wallet's sake that you're not the Michael Jordan of gambling. But don't be afraid to stand up to an authority figure when they make a bad call. You might get thrown out of the game, but hey.
6. On awesomeness:
It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: This one's not only self-explanatory and uplifting, it would also make a great tramp stamp.
7. On not being the best:
I’m forever the 35-year-old 5-year-old. I’m forever the 5-year-old of something.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: It's okay to try new things, because being bad at new things is part of avoiding the stagnant slow death by mundanity that awaits most of Middle America.
8. On having a bitchface:
Maybe 90 percent of the time it looks like I’m not having a good time.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: So your resting face is bitchy? So the fuck what! Own your stern facial neutrality. Don't cave to social pressure to smile. Be an Olympic level sourpuss. You don't have time to smile. You're the nucleus of something. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That's all there is.
9. On vanity:
The idea of Kanye and vanity are like, synonymous.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: This has no application to you. This is between Kanye and vanity.
10. On being the change you wish to see in the world:
I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: Look in the mirror every morning and repeat this to yourself 50 times. Then go ahead get really close to the mirror and squeeze your nose pores.
11. On setting expectations:
If anyone’s reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: If you're going to act like an asshole, don't be a surprise asshole. Always RSVP before you asshole up the joint. It's courtesy.
12. On past sartorial missteps:
Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: Um. One day you will be embarrassed by the clothes you're wearing, but everything will be okay because you're blasting off in a rocket ship to resplendent amazingness.
13. On insulting President Bush:
When you think about it, I was wearing like, a Juicy Couture men’s polo shirt.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: Always remember what you were wearing when you drop a truth bomb on the leader of the free world so that the next time you do it you're wearing something different. You don't want him to think you're poor or something.
14. On being the Steve of everything:
I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.
Kanye to Non-ye translation: ????
Well, there you have it. For more LEAN WAY THE FUCK IN life lessons from Kanye West and at least 10 minutes of laffs, I highly recommend reading the whole thing. Unless you want to be the Michael Jordan of sucking.
Image by Jim Cooke, photos via Getty and Shutterstock.