Elon Musk is one of the most admired and influential business minds and engineering geniuses of the 21st Century. The guy just launched his own Tesla Roadster — a car made possible by his own investments — into space using one of the most advanced rockets in history, designed by his own company, SpaceX. So who does a guy that impressive, that influential, look up to? Well, Yeezus of course.
On Sunday, Musk made a semi-surprise appearance at South by Southwest for a Q&A session. During the talk, he revealed SpaceX would be ready to launch spaceships designed to go to Mars by the first half of 2019. But perhaps even more surprisingly, when he was asked who he was inspired by, he had a simple and direct answer: “Well, Kanye West, obviously.”
This is not the first time Musk has expressed his admiration for Kanye. In a 2015 blurb for Time, accompanying West’s inclusion on the magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People, Musk wrote the following:
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—got him to where he is today. And 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.
There’s no doubt that Kanye is a creative and musical genius in his own right, but somehow we don’t imagine him engineering a spaceship. Then again, can you imagine a mixtape from MC Musk?