He’s saying to design at a Raf Simons or Versace level, he needs the best and to pay for the best he needs money and access. According to him, the gatekeepers aren’t giving him the access, thus no power.
Tommy Hillfiger isn’t even on a Versace level. I just read Mark Ecko’s book, where he says Tommy Hillfiger told him he’d never be a Ralph Lauren and Mark Ecko told him, ‘But you’re not even a Ralph.’ It’s like, who cares? You’ve got to build your chessboard. You can’t compare your level of success to other people’s level of success. I just don’t think he has a plan. When somebody asks what do you want to be in 10 years and you say Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Michael Angelo, you don’t know what you want to do. You can’t talk to the universe like that. You have to be specific with the universe. 10 years ago he said he wanted to be the greatest rapper, an icon. He was specific about it and became that. But guess what? He wants to be Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Michael Angelo; my brother, you ain’t even conquer the world of hip-hop yet. Let’s be clear! Kanye ain’t Jay-Z. Kanye hasn’t accomplished what Diddy has accomplished, what Baby has accomplished. He’s on his way, but he’s 36. Those guys are in their forties. It didn’t happen overnight for Jay. Jay put himself in position for these things to happen. That’s what Kanye has to keep doing, but now he’s putting himself out of position. What corporation is going to put you in position when you’re barking at them?
Why do you feel Kanye isn’t Jay-Z right now?
Hmm. Why is he not Jay-Z? That’s a good question. My personal opinion is it’s his attitude. Not only is Jay the best rapper on the planet, Jay’s a nice guy. Not only is Jay a nice guy, he tells you exactly where he is in his life on every album. Kanye has yet to tell any stories? Do we really know how he feels about his mother’s passing? Do we really know how he feels about North West? The difference is Jay-Z show and proves with actions and deeds and Kanye show and proves with words and lip service.
You’re tough. Getting back to the interview, Kanye walks in and…
He gives me a pound. That was the last time he looked me in the eye until the interview was over.
Ha! I saw that. Wasn’t that planned?
After the interview, I said we should stare at each other. He’s like ‘Yeah, like me and 50 Cent [on the Rolling Stone cover] Then he says, ‘You know the whole time my plan was not to look at you.’ There’s a picture I posted on Instagram of us laughing. That’s what we’re laughing at.
Do you feel ‘Ye’s obsession is only money or the evening out of wealth and its power?
Bonsu, check this out: Black people were oppressed for 400 years. We’re not going to catch up to people who are 200 years ahead of us. We need to realize that here in America we’re first and second generation millionaires. 15-20 years from now, there’s going to be more generational wealth amongst African-Americans. We just got our first black president; we’re just beginning to own NBA teams. We’re just starting to put ourselves in position, but like I said, you can’t compare your success to others.
OK, but you can’t deny that blacks, at every level, are still being treated, somewhat, as slaves. For a designer to tell a black rapper that he can’t attend anyone else’s show––when he wouldn’t demand the same of any equal in fashion––or Puma to say we’re trying to find a way to control you screams white entitlement and plantation psychology.
I don’t think it has anything to do with racism. I’ve been doing radio for 16 years. I’ve had program directors say ‘We need to control you,’ or ‘We need to make sure you’re not out of control.’ That’s not a black thing. That is Charlamagne has a reputation of slandering these artists or barking on the police. They have to protect their license. They don’t want to be fined by the FCC. So if Kanye goes on stage and curses out all these corporations, he’s messing up business. If we’re in business together, you’re not going on stage to mess up my business.
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