Whether he’s on social media, on a live broadcast or on wax (especially on wax), Yeezy is liable to say any-damn-thing at any moment. Take these head-scratching Twitter quotes for example:
“I hate when I’m on a flight and I wake up with a water bottle next to me like oh great now I gotta be responsible for this water bottle.”
“Have you ever thought you were in love with someone but then realized you were just staring in the mirror for 20 minutes?”
But ‘Ye isn’t all randomness and egotism. Sometimes he offers some motivational gems like, “I want people to feel like it’s okay to create. It’s okay to not be boxed in. I want people to feel like awesome is possible,” or “living well eliminates the need for revenge.”
Kanye is totally a mixed bag and comes off anywhere between Socrates and Screech Powers at any given moment. What is clear as day, however, is that people hang onto Yeezy’s every word no matter if they make sense or not. And sometimes those statements gain so much traction they’ve been burned into the hip-hop lexicon. Over the years, the outspoken and polarizing rapper has been good for an annual catchphrase that goes viral and ends up being used for years to come, as both meme fodder and in general conversation.
XXL compiles a list of unforgettable quotes Kanye West has helped add to the hip-hop glossary over the years.
“I’ma Let You Finish…”
The year was 2009. The place: the MTV Video Music Awards. The vibe: Yeezy was on one. As Taylor Swift took the stage to accept her award for Best Female Video, Kanye stepped onstage, grabbed the mic from the confused pop star and made the infamous decree: "Yo, Taylor. I'm really happy for you and I'ma let you finish but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time."
In the 10 years since the incident, “I'ma let you finish” has been used in pop culture, viral videos and everything in between as a hilarious way to cut someone off during conversation.
Kanye West is a very…passionate person. In 2013, he went on the Sway in the Morning Show with a lot to get off his chest. You see, Yeezy was frustrated. Mainly about the powers that be refusing to see his Walt Disney-like genius and fund his visions accordingly. When asked by host Sway Calloway why he doesn’t pay for his own passion projects, Yeezus snapped:
“How, Sway?! You ain’t got the answers, man!” he yelled, which would turn into the go-to quip for anyone intensely confused by a situation.
"George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People"
In 2005, Kanye West took a stand on national TV. During a live showing of a relief telethon for victims of Hurricane Katrina, ‘Ye said bump the script and went off on a rant that clearly had his on-screen partner, actor Mike Myers, confused and uncomfortable.
Kanye got a chance to speak his rambling peace once, but when his second mini monologue ended with “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” the cameras quickly cut to a confused Chris Tucker. The phrase has become a staple ever since, much to the dismay of Bush, who called the moment the worst in his presidency.
“Let Me Be Great!”
Remember when the Kanye rant used to be a thing? In 2009, when Yeezy was still blogging, he went off about his e-mail and Myspace page getting hacked and fake quotes that were going around, and dropped the memorable plea: “Yoooo why won’t you let me be great!!! I had the two greatest days of my life and when I get back from the Louie show I read some shit claiming I’m down to do porn and bisexual porn….Please. I beg you, give me a break!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeeease!!!!!!! Let me be great!!!!!”
“Let me be great” quickly became the favored reaction for anyone feeling held down and hated on.
“Dat Shit Cray”
Shortening the word "crazy" to "cray" had been a thing before the Watch the Throne track “Niggas in Paris” came out in 2011, but Kanye officially stamped the phrase “dat shit cray” into the hip-hop glossary on the Grammy Award-winning banger.
“Yeezy Taught Me”
Kanye didn’t directly say these words. That distinction goes to his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose, who repeated the phrase on the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy track “Blame Game.” Yet Yeezy is the center and more than likely penman behind the repeated response.
The phrase has inspired T-shirts, long-form essays and Etsy art, and even holds a spot in the Urban Dictionary.
"Can't Tell Me Nothing"
Kanye West has always been the defiant type. In 2007, he linked up with Jeezy on the rebellious Graduation single "Can't Tell Me Nothing." Yeezy's contrarian statement has lived on as the slogan of nonconformity.
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