In typical Kanye West style, the rapper decided to make a last minute appearance at the Cannes Lions Festival yesterday afternoon and rock-the-boat a little bit by likening himself to Steve Jobs and indirectly giving Jay Z credit for the Beats and Apple deal.
West flew in to speak at a seminar titled “Technology, Culture and Consumer Adoption: Learning to Read the Cultural Landscape”. West was candid about his admiration for Apple, and in particular, Steve Jobs, who he believed was obsessive about perfect design. A characteristic that he also claims to possess.
“Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, was my biggest influence. Just seeing the way he fought to make things easier for people. After he passed, I made it my life’s mission to do what he did inside of that company”. West said.
He continued. ”I dream to help raise the palette and raise the taste level of a generation and also be involved with the production and distribution and advertising of that thing everyone’s begging for.”
West argued that since Jobs’ death in 2011, Apple has lost touch with culture and the $3 billion Beats acquisition will help in some way to regain some of that. But, most interestingly, West explained that the Beats deal may never have come about had Samsung not partnered up with Jay Z last year in a $5 million album exclusivity deal.
West explained: “There would have been no Beats deal without the Samsung deal. It showed the No. 1 company the importance of connecting with culture.”
“The reason I said I didn’t like Samsung particularly is because throughout my entire life, because of how my parents raised me, I have to work with the No. 1. I can’t work with anyone but Jay Z, because he’s No. 1. I can’t be with any girl but Kim, because that’s the girl whose pictures I look at the most and get turned on by. I’m not going to represent any company but Louis Vuitton, because that’s No. 1.
“Samsung is not quite Apple, but it showed that Jimmy [Iovine] and Dre would be able to connect with the No. 1 influencers.”
At heart, West is a creative and wants to be respected as a designer. He has partnered with Nike and Louis Vuitton to make footwear and he attends conferences like these to speak his mind about branding and fashion. He’s gone on record several times about his frustration at not being taken seriously as a “real designer”, and last year he told BBC Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe that he is a “product person”.
So much so, that West even took aim at Instagram and suggested that it could with a “redo”, which he apparently told Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom: “Why don’t you let us redo Instagram? Now, you know, Instagram is nice. It’s nice looking – I’m not knocking it. But in general, everyone spends all of their time looking at their screens or their phones. And just as a simple task, we could clean that up.”