Now everything I'm not, made me everything I am

from Kanye West – Everything I Am Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

What Kanye isn’t: modest, shy, apathetic, poor, gangster. But what does not describe you often influences your personality to fit who you want to be.

All of these characteristics have combined to form who Kanye is now: arrogant, unfiltered, rich, stylish.

This line also speaks to how Kanye feels different than everyone else. He’s saying he really feels like an individual, and maybe an outcast at times. His choice not to conform to other people’s expectations is what defines him as a person, and gives him a sense of self.

The song is similar in theme to Touch the Sky, speaking about his faults and wrongs and how they created the man who is Yeezy today.

The song acts as a fulcrum of Kanye’s ego, a point of divergence, a song that sits right in the middle of Graduation, an album that in itself drew half towards the solipsistic, avant-garde Kanye so dominant today and half towards his warmer, more earthen roots. The soul-searching of this song, which tends once or twice towards self-obsession as opposed to mere introspection, is emblematic of that divergence, as Kanye becomes aware of his evolution.

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