Kanye Is the Opposite of ‘Anti-Celebrity’

The irascible hip-hop star has only created a different form of celebrity rooted in being the bad guy.

Kanye West at a Heat vs. Lakers basketball game in 2010 (Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

“I don’t have one regret,” said Kanye.

“Do you believe in the concept of regret?”

“If anyone’s reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now,” said Kanye in a breaking-the-fourth-wall moment that again speaks to the rapper’s incessant awareness of the audience.

Sure, it’s a funny wink and nod to speak directly into the microphone, or past the paper, and into the crowd. It’s so Kanye, so anti, so other. But the acknowledgment of the farce — punching home the fact that we aren’t eavesdropping on an intimate conversation between friends — is part of “the Kanye West formula.” A formula that makes this indisputably talented musical artist just as talented at creating his own persona.

Because if Kanye really is “the nucleus,” as he decrees at the end of the Times interview, then he is the center of his own universe, responsible for the conscious creation of an image that is as tied to his fame as it is to his genius.

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.