by Larry Gallagher
Moments after West takes his final bow at the Skylight Modern studio, a dedicated throng of of adolescents steadily gather in front of Kanye West’s Soho New York apartment building.
Call them fanboys. Call them stalkers. Call them followers. They’re shirking school, work, and other responsibilities in hopes of just touching the hem of Yeezus’ garment.
You can often find excited groups of teens just like them outside of Kanye’s home any day of the week, as they hope for autographs, sneakers, and just some one-on-one time with one of the most polarizing celebrities out there. We wanted to know what made these kids wait hours for the chance at running into their idol. Here’s what they had to say:
What are you guys hoping to get out of being out here today?
Delana, 19: I’m not gonna lie. I’m actually out here trying to get noticed.I want to take a picture too, everybody’s gonna hate me because of that.
Ashley, 16: I’ve never actually got to meet him in person and I really like him. I think seeing him in person will, like, fulfill my dream, you know? Not my dream but like my thought of him. People always try to portray him as a mean person but I just want to see if he’s really chill and everything.
Harry,19: Same as Ashley. I’m just out here and I want to finally meet Kanye. I got to see him in concert, but it’s not enough. I need to see him in person to know who he is genuinely as a person.
Corey, 17: I want a picture with him. Like for me, when I first met him I was so nervous and choked up that I didn't know what to do and I didn't know what to say. I’m hoping now, with no paparazzi or anything around, that I can just talk to him and have a real conversation and not be so nervous.
Joshua,18: I’ve met him before too and he’s a really cool person. Like the first time I got to take a picture with him but that was really it. This time I feel like I could have a real conversation. Last time it was just like. “Thanks for the Yeezys. I love you. When are you dropping your next album?” But this time, I think it will be a more real conversation.
You all just got here to the building a few minutes ago, but have you lined up outside of here before?
Delana: Yes. Three days ago I was out here for about an hour and a half.
Corey: The longest I’ve waited was like eight hours. Maybe eight or nine hours. Just waiting for an autograph and everything to just talk with him.
Joshua: All day ni**a [laughter]. Last night we were out here but he never came out. Today we went to the Yeezy Season 2 screening in Union Square and then just headed over here.
Ashley: This is like my first time out here trying to stalk him.
How often do you all come out here?
Corey: This is my fourth time.
Joshua: Everyday. Honestly, I work down the block so every time I finish work I just pass by and see who is here and if there’s any paparazzi. If there is, I’ll stick around.
Harry: Whenever I’m in SoHo I try to pass by.
What type of responsibilities have you guys blown off to be out here?
Joshua: School. I’m missing accounting class right now, and that’s the hardest class on my schedule. We’ve all missed school and we’ve all missed classes; we’re always late to work for this.
Delana: My mother was asking me why I was leaving out the house so early because I left at like 6 A.M.
Corey: Yeah I left at like five in the morning to be at that screening today.
Harry: I left from an upstate New York college to be at the Yeezy Season 2 show screening.
Corey: Yeah there were people who came from Long Island and Staten Island to see the show.
If you could get Kanye to autograph anything what would it be?
Corey: I already got him to sign my Yeezys, so I’m good. Actually, that TIME magazine that he was on. I’d want him to sign that so bad.
Joshua: My Yeezys.
Harry: My Yeezys.
Ashley: A piece of paper, anything.
If you could get a pair signed, would you keep them or sell them?
Delana: If I’m spending mad money on some sneakers and then he signs them, I’m gonna keep it. Maybe if I needed the money.
Corey: I’m currently debating that right now. If I really needed the money I would sell them. But only if I really, really needed the money.
Joshua: I’m keeping whatever pair I get. If I was not as much of a fan as I am, I would sell it.
What type of stories have you heard about Kanye autographing sneakers before you came out here?
Corey: There’s two of them I know of. There was one in Paris where some guy brought him fake Yeezys but he still signed them, so that shows he’s still a good guy and a nice person. Then there was another one where he stopped his whole concert and started signing Yeezys in the crowd. Just couple of days ago I heard he still signed the Nike Yeezys too and I was shocked to hear that he still signs those too.
Joshua: I can tell you a story that happened with me and Kanye. I was out here and I met him and took a picture with him. I was kind of starstruck, but this woman came up and started rapping for him and was like “Take my CD. Sign me Kanye, Sign me.” And he said, “I can't promise I can sign you but I can listen to this.” He had his security guy take the CD because he doesn't have a CD player in his house but has one in the car. I mean we all know he probably ain’t listening to that CD for real, but it was nice of him to take it and listen to her rap for a good 2-3 minutes.
If Kanye is reading this what would you want him to know?
Harry: Thank you for all the music.
Corey: Thank you for everything. The sneakers, the music, just everything.
Joshua: Kanye, you owe me some free stuff, cuz. I'm out here waiting too long for you to not get something. I was outside that screening for hours hoping I would get that camo shirt and nothing. When I found out there was no shirt…Man, you better have my shirt!
Ashley: I know a lot of what he does is to motivate the youth and a lot of what I do is because he’s motivated me and I just want him to know that it’s not for waste. That I’m doing things because of him and I’m making my own music because of him.
Ed. note: The five teenagers we interviewed did not get to run into Kanye on this particular day.