Kanye speaks at Oxford University

Kanye West has been telling Oxford University students that US President Barack Obama calls his home phone - in a long and frequently bizarre speech.


The US rapper visited the city's Museum of Natural History at invitation of a student society.

He was greeted by a standing ovation, but according to the independent student newspaper Versa, he looked unimpressed.

Its editor, Ruth McLean, 21, was one of around 300 students packing out the lecture hall.

"It was surprising how he barely talked about music at all. The talk mostly flipped between art, philosophy and politics and I think he sees no separation between those worlds.

"Some of the stuff he said about how only the rich having access to beauty in the form of luxury suggested a pretty explosive political agenda - which suggests to me some projects beyond music to come in the future.

"I'm interested to see where he takes these ideas."

To give you a flavour of the star's speech, here are Ruth's top five highlights:

  • My goal, if I was gonna do fine art, I would have become Picasso. When you think about someone who's done that much, in your life you're not allowed to think you could do that much. That idea suppresses humanity.

  • Now I understand that I'm just serving, and with my voice and my ability to build relationships, and call Elon Musk or Obama out of the blue - Obama calls the home phone, by the way - with that I have a responsibility to serve.

  • They need to do an awards show for the Nobel Peace Prize. I guess that wouldn't be so good for MasterCard. But you know, at the Brits, that MasterCard logo - it was a big logo.

  • One of my biggest problems has been my ego. And if I, Kanye West, can remove my ego, I think there's hope for everyone.

  • When you've lost the ideal of holding on to that concept [of being number one], you can leave the mountaintop finally, and walk down and readjust and see what your position on earth can be.

Aled Jones, a 22-year-old law student at the university, described the talk as "totally surreal and brilliant".

"It was basically a 45-minute long stream of consciousness, a speech about aestheticism, society and inequality. He couldn't be stopped. Not even when someone's phone went off and OneRepublic started playing," he said.

Other students said he was "odd", "more humble than I expected", and "a bit wishy-washy".