Kanye West sat down with Charlamagne Tha God for a nearly two-hour interview on a range of topics from his 2016 breakdown to his beef with JAY-Z.
Here are 10 takeaways from the interview:
He blames stress for his mental breakdown. “I think I’m in a stronger place than I ever was. After the breakdown—or I like to say, the breakthrough,” he told The Breakfast Club host. According to Ye, the stresses in his life contributed to the meltdown that forced the rapper to be hospitalized. “Fear, stress, control, being controlled, manipulation, like being a pawn in a chess piece of life. Stressing things that create, like, validation that I didn’t need to worry about as much.”
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Obama hurt his feelings. Yeezy admits he was hurt when President Obama called him a “jackass” and insists he’s one of the former POTUS’ favorite artists. “I’m your favorite artist. You play “Touch the Sky” at your inauguration, and now, all a sudden, Kendrick and JAY and all the people you invite to the White House, like, now these your favorite rappers. I ain’t got no problem with these rappers, but you know I’m your favorite but I’m not safe. But that’s why you love me! So just tell me you love me. And tell the world you love me! Don’t tell the world I’m a jackass. I’m fightin’ hard enough. Something about me going on stage was similar to what you was doing. ’Cause I’m fighting to break the simulation, break the setup. That didn’t make no sense,” he said.
His on-stage rant about Jay-Z was about money. “That concept that you gave me, that he gave me the money, that’s what frustrated me because, actually, the money was, he got from Live Nation. He, Roc Nation was managing me at the time. That’s something normal that someone gives someone a touring deal. It was a touring deal! But the fact that it was worded that it came from him, I’m a very loyal, emotional, like, artist person. You know, that made me feel like I owed more than just the money itself, the fact that it came from him. You know, it just put me under a bit more of a kind of controlled situation. It’s like—and I don’t—I’m only acting out of love. I don’t need to be controlled. I just need to be inspired and informed. And I can be the best Ye in that way,” he explained.
“That said, I think there was some love in that on Jay’s part because he did have to co-sign for it when the Live Nations and these different companies wouldn’t co-sign for me and I was in debt, Jay did have to go and say, ‘I’ma co-sign for ‘Ye.’ Have you ever did something for someone that was positive, but something about the way you did it blue the whole thing up? Jay did something that was positive, but the fact that I didn’t receive the information in the right way … I always feel like, I’m out here in Hollywood, my mom has passed, I don’t know who I can trust. I can’t trust nobody.”
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He was jealous of Drake and DJ Khaled. Kanye West believes his public attack on Taylor Swift cost him radio spins and admits he was threatened by the success of artists like DJ Khaled and Drake.
“Khaled got this song, Drake got this song that radio’s playing to death, but ‘Saint Pablo’ ain’t playing,” he said. “We’re doing [the] Saint Pablo [tour]and the cultural impact is incredible, but I’m looking for other forms of validation. Just because it’s not playing on the radio – ‘Father Stretch [My Hands]’ is in the club, on the radio a bit – but to put that same amount if not more work and you’re used to it coming out like Graduation, where everything is everywhere, it’s frustrating. Really ever since the Taylor Swift moment, it had never been the same, the connection with radio. Whatever powers that be, it was much harder after that … If you’re an artist and you’re signed to a major label, you want to be on the radio, especially if you’re popular, if you’re one of the most famous people on the planet and people love your music.”
He believes he’s in a good place with Hov. “We’re good [now]. We’re texting each other. It’s positive energy. I haven’t seen him, but I can feel him. … I was hurt about [him and Beyoncé] not coming to the wedding. I understand I was going through some things, but if it’s family, you’re not going to miss a wedding. I’m not using this interview to put out any negative things, but I gotta state my truth. … I’m past it, but at the time I was hurt,” he said. “I actually think that the rants came from a place of bravery, and I had enough of the politics. That’s the world that we’re in right now. People are speaking their truth, people are expressing themselves. I’ve been waiting for this.”
He blames himself for Kim Kardashian’s robbery. “I went to Paris on that trip to protect her. Not protect her physically, but to go and just help her with her looks ‘cause she’s in Paris,” he explained. “One of the things that she said that she heard was that they were coming to rob her and they had to wait till I had left. The people had been strategizing and scheming on that for a long time. So when she finally got to Paris by herself, they were like, ‘OK, this is our chance.’ … If she wasn’t here, I would never forgive myself.”
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He feels manipulated. “You’re not in control of your life anymore. At that point, you can be easily manipulated,” he says of his work with iconic rock star, Paul McCartney. “A whole album with Paul McCartney could end up becoming a single for Rihanna, because you’re trapped in this box of the idea of your perception, music industry, this and that.”
Kanye felt betrayed by the fashion world. “I was 45 minutes late [to a fashion show], and they LeBron-ed me, bro,” he explained. “Remember when LeBron went to Miami and they killed him and burned his jersey and all that? I had just done MSG – Young Thug on stage, plug in the iPhone, 16,000 people, streaming live, a breakthrough. Soon as I was 45 minutes late, I felt it was the fashion community getting the right to say ‘n*gger’ without saying it. It was like, we know you come through stepping on necks and all that … but if you get out of line, boy, we gon’ roast you. It affected me because I’m an artist. And it affected me emotionally.”
He thinks we’re his shrink. Although Kanye West admitted to taking “several medications” he insists on using the public as his therapists. “I use the world as my therapist. Anyone I talk to is my therapist. I will pull them into the conversation of what I’m feeling at that point and get their perspective…I like just talking to acquaintances, friends, family, and I keep them on the phone for 45 minutes at a time, talking through things. It’s kind of narcissistic,” he admitted.
“The thoughts that I’m getting out on Twitter now … I’m not doing it as a form of personal therapy. It’s just an innate feeling. I want to express. I decided to use this platform to express some breakthroughs that I’ve had since going to the hospital. … I felt the need to speak at this point. When you look at five years from now, or 10 years from now, I’ll have even more experience. I’ll be in a better place than I am today. … I’m not trying to say the right thing; I’m just saying exactly what I feel out of love.”
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He’s inspired by Donald Trump. West has been vocal about his love for the president lately and he explained the root of his admiration for the worst leader in the history of ever. “I don’t have the all the answers that a celebrity’s supposed to have, but I can tell you that when [Trump] was running, it’s like, I felt something. The fact that he won, it proves something – it proved that anything is possible,” he said. “That Donald Trump can be president of America. I’m not talking about what he’s done in office … I felt the nonconventional … When I see an outsider infiltrate, I connect with that … I liked that it shows you that anything is possible.”
Check out the full interview if you have the patience: