Introducing Dr. Kanye West: 'I Need to Not Be Nervous'

Taryn Ryder
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Kanye West receives honorary degree (Getty Images)
Kanye West receives honorary degree (Getty Images)

Paging Dr. West...

Kanye is technically a college dropout no more. The 37-year-old rapper just received an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he was recognized for his "transformative, genre-defying work."

And at the graduation ceremony on Monday, we saw a very different side of the Chicago-raised musician: He seemed nervous.

Before addressing the sea of students, West — whose late mother Dr. Dondra West was a Professor of English at Clark Atlanta University — took two trips across the stage to remove the water bottles that were stacked on the shelf of the clear podium on the Auditorium Theatre's stage.

"I'm sorry," he said according to local reports, "that was just my opinion."

As Yeezy went on to deliver his speech, the crowd seemed to eat up his words.

"I am a pop artist," he began. "So my medium is public opinion and the world is my canvas. 'I’m sorry' is something that you can use a lot, it gives you the opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it, and give you opinion again. [laughs] People say, 'You should not be sorry for your opinions!'"

"George Bush…" West then teased — before pausing as the audience laughed and clapped — "has some very cool self-portraits. I didn't know he was an artist." (In case you didn't get that joke, West criticized the former president during a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005, saying Bush didn't care about black people.)

Related: Kanye West Is Only Happy When You're Not Looking

Kanye continued, "I felt my nerves a bit and I don’t feel that feeling a lot. The nerves of humility and modesty when being honored. A humanization, a reality of being recognized, and all I thought as I sit here — kinda shaking a little bit — is I need to get rid of that feeling! I need to not be nervous," West confessed.

He concluded by saying, "This honor is gonna make your lives easier. Two reasons: You don’t have to defend me as much [laughs] and, I’m gonna 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. Where there's the co-sign of Paul McCartney grabbing me, and saying, ‘It’s OK, 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. 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 that I had a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago."

At that, Kanye got a big round of applause before telling the crowd "thank you." His wife, Kim Kardashian, shared her excitement from afar (she was busy promoting her book Selfish in Brazil):

 

Wonder if Dr. West will be the name of Kanye's next album. College Dropout certainly worked out well for him.

You can listen to the part about Kanye's nerves at the 2:55 mark: