“I don’t need your pussy, bitch, I’m on my own dick.”
~Kanye West, “Power”
Okay, let’s unpack this lyric, because it’s dense, and I’ve had it on my mind for a while now so if I don’t write about it someone is finally going to hear me singing it out loud. I’ve already had too many close calls, and I’m not sure defending myself with “sorry, it’s just a Kanye lyric I’ve been thinking about a lot” will win me any favors.
So, first of all, this is clearly metaphorical because in “Hell of a Life” Kanye tells us “pussy and religion is all I need,” so we know he needs pussy (also, interestingly enough, this line fits pretty comfortably into his theological framework, but more on that later). Second, there’s no way he’s found an adequate position to physically accommodate that second clause. What he’s communicating is a brazen level of confidence so foreign to me that I can’t help but be a little envious.
I mean, I grew up Christian, and Christianity detests all levels of hubris. My hubris was basically bludgeoned out of me before I had any say in the matter. From a young age, we’re essentially taught that the only good any of us can do is through God. Without Him, we’re just sinners. Not only would we go to hell without him, but we’d deserve it! Even after we’re saved, we’d deserve it. The only hubris we’re allowed to express, really, is that we know more than non-believers do, since those idiots are going to hell and we sure as hell aren’t.
Kanye gets around this quandary rather elegantly with the complex theological construct of “Yeezus,” which Kanye renamed himself, sort of like how Jesus renamed Saul “Paul.” Yeezus is simultaneously a man of God and God himself. Yeezus knows God loves him because Yeezus is God, and Yeezus loves Yeezus. Think about Yeezus like the fourth member of the trinity. In essence, it’s really the same thing many Christians believe, it just cuts out the whole “discerning God’s will” thing by admitting that a lot of God’s will was ours to begin with. So if you can’t love God too much, and God can’t love you too much, then how is hubris even possible? If a Christian’s only way of loving their self is by loving someone else who loves them, Kanye’s just cutting out the middleman.
Add to this—I cannot overstate the following—that God’s love is unfathomable. Imagine if YOU were God, and you loved yourself unfathomably. Kanye does. Presumably it would mean you’d want to be on your own dick (metaphorically). God is certainly mysterious.
It’s not like having sex with yourself is a new idea. It’s an age-old concept, but it’s typically asked like this: if you met a clone of yourself, would you inevitably have sex with it? I’ve always been bewildered by this question. Sex? With myself? Ew. I’ve seen far too much. I’d be grossed out before his first awkward attempt at a come on. Kanye, on the other hand, faced with the same situation, for all we know, would leave Kim. Again, theologically sound. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” and all that.
Kanye’s love of Kanye is damn near absurd, but don’t tell me a part of you doesn’t want a slice of it, too. In an interview with The Guardian, Justin Vernon, one of Kanye’s frequent collaborators and leading man of Bon Iver, speaks glowingly of Kanye’s infamous confidence:
“Kanye speaks of how you have to love yourself. And believe in yourself. I heard him say something recently: ‘I love myself so other people can love themselves.’ So they get up in the morning and put on a song and be like ‘FUCK YEAH.’”
Anyways, to sum it all up, I took some of Kanye’s advice and wrote all this, which still probably doesn’t excuse all the times I’ve accidentally sung that lyric out loud.
Will Montei (’13) graduated with a major in writing and a minor in philosophy. He currently lives in Seattle, taking full advantage of the abundant local coffee and surrounding mountain hikes. He is an avid daydreamer, an old soul, and a creative potty mouth.