Kanye West Is Writing A Philosophy Book (Updated)

Rapper Kanye West has revealed that he is writing a philosophy book.

This information came to light in an interview that West, one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, was conducting with his interior designer Axel Vervoordt.

West asks Vervoordt, “If you had to live in another time period, what would you pick?” Veervoordt replies, “I don’t know, I never even thought about it because I live now, as in now, the past, the future is present. Why should I want to live in another time period?” Then West says: “Yeah. … Really big, be here now, now be here. I go to an extreme. I’ve got this new concept that I’ve been diggin’ into. I’m writing a philosophy book right now called Break the Simulation.”

George Condo, “Kanye West”

What’s the book about? West elaborates a bit:

And I’ve got this philosophy—or let’s say it’s just a concept because sometimes philosophy sounds too heavy-handed. I’ve got a concept about photographs, and I’m on the fence about photographs—about human beings being obsessed with photographs—because it takes you out of the now and transports you into the past or transports you into the future. It can be used to document, but a lot of times it overtakes [people]. People dwell too much in the memories. People always wanna hear the history of something, which is important, but I think it there’s too much of an importance put on history. 

This isn’t West’s first engagement with philosophy. In 2012 he was sued by another musician, Vincent Peters, who accused him of stealing his lyrics for the song “Stronger.” West’s defense: the words were borrowed not from Peters but from Nietzsche. He won.

We don’t know much about the content of Kanye’s book, but perhaps we could nonetheless offer him some advice. Whose work should he read? With which philosophers should he consult? At which conferences should he present his ideas?

I should of course mention, Kanye, in case you’re reading this, that I’d be open to considering a guest post from you about the ideas in your book—doing so would put you in a position to receive helpful feedback from thousands of philosophers from around the world. Just have your people contact my people my person me.

And of course, this is an opportunity for the philosophical community. Philosophy is being mentioned in venues that typically ignore it. Philosophers may want to take advantage of the publicity.

UPDATE 1: As Joshua Blanchard (UNC) reminded me, this book by Kim Kierkegaardashian is in the works, too.

UPDATE 2: West has been tweeting “philosophically” since announcing his book project. Philosopher Lauren Ware (Kent) tries to figure out what he’s saying.


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