“My mama told me go to school, get your doctorate.” So raps Kanye West in “Hey Mama,” and the line has now acquired a prophetic tint: On Monday, West accepted an honorary Ph.D from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he gave a short, pithy speech to this year’s graduates.
The degree is a fitting honor for West, who, besides being a famous college dropout, grew up in Chicago and can still come off as an ambitious art-school student who just happens to be a superstar musician. His commencement speech was a light, joke-filled affair, with the rapper riffing on subjects like his own nervousness and the self-portraiture of George W. Bush.
More somber, but also more interesting, was the Q&A-style lecture West gave at the school Sunday night. In that event, West took a deep dive into his recent collaborations in the fashion world, and touched on broader subjects like the commercialization of music and the social ills plaguing Chicago’s South Side and the nation at large. A full transcript of the conversation is up over at Complex.