Kanye West doesn’t appear to be the biggest Elvis Presley fan after yelling at a photographer who asked him to “pose” like the rock ‘n roll icon.
Unseen footage emerged this week from Ye’s 2018 photoshoot in Los Angeles with Korean-German photographer Heji Shin, during which he had an angry outburst at the request.
“I don’t want nothing that look like Elvis — he stole!” he barked, referencing the allegations that Presley borrowed heavily from Black music. “I’m talking to fake Elvis’s right now. Give me an African pose. Fuck I’ma do? I’m Ye posing like fucking Elvis?”
It appeared to be just a brief moment of frustration for Ye, who was smiling by the end of the clip and joked: “I get that exact feeling from that phone call in the photos.”
"Elvis Stole!" Kanye West snaps at a photographer for requesting he pose like Elvis. pic.twitter.com/cJRHDHj8ZP
— The Art Of Dialogue (@ArtOfDialogue_) September 26, 2023
Heji Shin reflected on the tense exchange in a 2019 conversation with Interview magazine, where she mentioned Kanye West growing “uncomfortable” during the shoot.
“This was exactly the challenge Kanye and I had,” she explained when asked about the difficulty of putting a subject in a “submissive” yet asking them perform “dominance.” “He’s very aware of this dynamic between making images and being made into an image, and he felt uncomfortable being directed.
“I could identify with him. For instance, he told me he wouldn’t do poses. He would only look straight ahead into the camera.”
Ironically, Kanye spoke highly of Elvis a decade earlier, admitting at the 2008 American Music Awards that he wanted to “be Elvis.”
“We will be the new Beatles, the new Hendrix,” he proclaimed while accepting the award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for Graduation. “They say in any other industry you’re supposed to do better than the past.
“Like, computers should get smaller and faster. But when you say you wanna be Elvis they say, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ Well, I want to be Elvis.”
Yeezy actually passed the “Jailhouse Rock” hitmaker in August 2021 when he notched his 110th Billboard Hot 100 entry, meaning he leapfrogged Elvis Presley on the all-time list. He’s currently sixth all-time with 141 entries.