In his recent controversial Twitter storm, Kanye West showed support for Donald Trump, criticized Barack Obama, donned a signed MAGA hat, and revealed that he recently participated in an interview with Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” host Charlamagne tha God. He said they talked about “Jay Virgil Obama Trump and Mental Health.” Now, that interview has surfaced. Watch it below.
Charlamagne opens the interview by asking Kanye, “Mentally, where are you?” Ye responds, “I think I’m in a stronger place than I ever was. After the breakdown—or I like to say, the breakthrough.” When asked about what he believes caused the breakdown, Kanye says, “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.”
At one point, Kanye reminisces about meeting President Obama and being called a “jackass” by the president. “You know, he never called me to apologize. The same person that sat down with me and my mom, I think should’ve communicated to me directly and been like, ‘Yo, Ye, you, you know what it is. I’m in the room and it was just a joke.’” He adds, “I just think that we were in a period where he had so much stuff to deal with, he couldn’t deal with a wildcard like me,” he says. “I think that’s too unpredictable. Someone that wasn’t being controlled by strategy and thoughts, but someone who’s acting on feelings.” Kanye also says:
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.
From the Obama conversation, Kanye segues into a discussion of his infamous interruption at the 2009 VMAs:
It’s not that I’m particularly fighting for Beyoncé’s video. It’s every time award show has ever done that. Just fuckin’ with artists. We are H.S.P., highly sensitive people. Artists! That’s what you love about us. So you gon’ line up a whole bunch of artists and put us in some bum-ass suits and shit—idea from, like, 200 years ago. We dressed like we 200 years ago, lined up trying to wait for a gold statue. And you gon’ make us feel like shit? There’s five of us, and four of us gotta go to our restaurant with our friends and be like, “Man, we ain’t win nothin’.” Fuck that. Man, fuck that.
At another point, Charlamagne asks Kanye, “Do you think [Donald Trump] cares about black people?” Kanye does not answer directly. He later says, however, “The fact that he won, it proves something. It proves that anything is possible in America. That Donald Trump can be President of America.” In addition, Ye says of Trump, “When I see an outsider infiltrate, I connect with that.” He also compares politics and music: “I like to take ‘Otis,’ chop it up. So what’s the Ye version? The Ye version would be the Trump campaign and maybe the the Bernie Sanders principles. That would be my mix and stuff. But I think both are needed.”
Other topics covered during interview include Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Twitter, and more. Charlamagne brings up JAY’s 4:44 lyrics about giving Ye “20 million without blinkin’.” Kanye replies:
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.
In addition, Kanye says, “So JAY did something that was positive, but the fact that I didn’t receive the information in the right way.” Later, Kanye talks about currency (“When I saw Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, that’s when I wanted to use Bitcoin. It’s like all the slave movies. Why you gotta keep reminding us about slavery? Why don’t you put Michael Jordan on the $20 bill?”), apologizes to Nike, and says he’s building a 300-acre community.
Near the end of the interview, Kanye discusses his work with Paul McCartney. “You’re not in control of your life anymore. At that point, you can be easily manipulated,” he says. “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 has also launched a website, “WeGotLove.com.” It features the interview, as well as GIFs of moments from throughout the video.
Chance the Rapper, Janelle Monáe, Stephen Colbert, and many others have spoken up against or in defense of Kanye’s recent behavior. “Black people don’t have to be democrats,” Chance tweeted.
Kanye recently released a new single featuring T.I. called “Ye vs. the People,” in which he discusses Obama, Trump, and the concept of “Make America Great Again” among other political topics. He also dropped a short, nonsensical track called “Lift Yourself” on his website. His new seven-track solo record is due June 1. Speaking with Charlamagne, Kanye says, “I wanna create music that’s therapeutic. I feel ‘Real Friends’ is in the territory of what we’re creating.”
Kanye said that the album artwork will be a photo of surgeon Jan Adams—he was the doctor who performed cosmetic surgery on Kanye’s late mother, Donda West, before she died (possibly from postoperative factors). Adams subsequently responded with an open letter. “I don’t want to seem ungrateful… I just think that if in fact this conversion to love is genuine on your part… then it’s inappropriate to drag the negativity of the past with it,” Adams wrote.