Over the weekend, as a guest at the South By Southwest festival (SXSW), Elon Musk participated in a Q&A session with an audience. During the discussion, he was faced with the question, “everyone in the room is inspired by you, who are you inspired by?” Musk made certain pretty quickly that it was “Kanye West, obviously.” Followed by laughs from the crowd, on the outside it looked as if it was a joke, but this isn’t the first time Elon Musk has credited Kanye West.
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) March 11, 2018
Back in 2015, during Time’s 100 Influential People issue, for each person on the list, a public figure had to write why that individual deserved to be on the list. Here, Musk expressed his interest in Kanye’s creative belief and self-confidence.
He said, “Kanye West would be the first person to tell you he belongs on this list, the dude doesn’t believe in false modesty, and he shouldn’t. Kanye’s belief in himself and his incredible tenacity — he performed his first single with his jaw wired shut (‘Thru the Wire’) — got him to where he is today.”
Musk continued on saying “he fought for his place in the cultural pantheon with a purpose. In his debut album, over a decade ago, Kanye issued what amounted to a social critique and a call to arms (with a beat): “We rappers is role models: we rap, we don’t think.” But Kanye does think. Constantly. About everything. And he wants everybody else to do the same: to engage, question, push boundaries. Now that he’s a pop-culture juggernaut, he has the platform to achieve just that. He’s not afraid of being judged or ridiculed in the process. Kanye’s been playing the long game all along, and we’re only just beginning to see why.”