Kanye West can add doctor to his résumé. The hip-hop mogul received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from The Art Institute of Chicago on Monday. Dressed in a black cap and gown, the 37-year-old Chicago native accepted the honor by first removing the water bottles from the podium.
“I’m sorry, that was just my opinion,” he told the professors and students in the auditorium.
“I am a pop artist so my medium is public opinion and the world is my canvas,” he continued.
“George Bush…” he trailed off before the crowd erupted in laughter. “Has some very cool self-portraits. I didn’t know he was an artist.”
The outspoken rapper, who has won numerous accolades and sold out arenas worldwide, admitted to being nervous. “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.”
He made a promise to the crowd. “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. Whether it’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.”
He also acknowledged his struggles in the fashion industry and how a degree would have come in handy. “When I went on that mission to create in other spaces—apparel, film, performance. It would have been easier if I could have said I had a degree at The Art Institute of Chicago.”
A proud Kim Kardashian took to Instagram to congratulate her husband. “Dr. Kanye West!!!!!!! I’m so proud of you baby & I know your mom would be so proud too!!!!” she said of the late Dr. Donda West, who was Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University.