One of the most notorious college dropouts is now a doctor (well, sort of). On Monday, Kanye West received an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for his “transformative, genre-defying work."
The rapper/fashion designer, who abandoned his studies at Chicago State University to pursue a career in music, was uncharacteristically humble — and even anxious. “I felt my nerves a bit. I don’t feel that feeling a lot. The nerves of humility and modesty when being honored, a humanization of a reality of being recognized. All I thought as I sat (in the audience), kind of shaking a little bit, is I need to get rid of that feeling, I need to not be nervous.”
While some students took issue with West being given the degree, more than 1,500 signed a petition asserting there were more deserving hip hop artists, he persevered and even justified the distinction. "I am a pop artist. So my medium is public opinion and the world is my canvas.” He continued, “This honor is gonna make your lives easier. Two reasons: You don’t have to defend me as much and I’m going to make all of our lives easier. And it’s these Floyd Mayweather belts that are needed to prove what I’ve been saying my entire life,” he said, never one to miss an opportunity to boast about his multitudinous accomplishments. “Whether it’s the cosign of Paul McCartney grabbing me and saying, ‘It’s okay he doesn’t bite white people.’ Or The New York Times cover. Or the Time 'Most Influential’ cover. And now, a doctorate at the Art Institute of Chicago.”
SAIC’s particularly important to the College Dropout artist because the city’s his hometown, mentioned in many lyrics, and for unknown reasons but he did give it a shoutout during a speech at another higher-ed institution recently. “When I was giving a lecture at Oxford, I brought up this school because when I went on that mission to create in other spaces — apparel, film, performance — it would have been easier if I could have said I had a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago.”
His wife, Kim Kardashian West, and their daughter, North West, both weren’t in the audience. But the social media maven made sure to acknowledge the accomplishment with amessage on Instagram alongside a photo of him in his cap and gown. “Dr. Kanye West!!!!!!! I’m so proud of you baby & I know your mom would be so proud too!!!! ”