Kanye West a.k.a. Yeezy a.k.a Ye released a lengthy interview with iHeart radio host Charlamagne Tha God on Tuesday, where he opened up about everything from his mental health to his relationship with his wife Kim Kardashian-West and former president Barack Obama.
It’s still debatable whether West is a “genius,” but after listening to his nearly two-hour interview, it’s safe to take him at his word when he calls himself a “free thinker.” Here are 21 of the most fascinating moments and soundbites from the sit-down interview with the rapper, fashion designer, and entrepreneur.
- Addressing his 2016 hospitalization, West said he didn’t have a “breakdown”—he had a “breakthrough.” Although he said he’s “happy it happened,” West described a “traumatizing” moment when hospital staffers tried to separate him from his friends. “When you’re in the hospital bed and you’re next to your friend and you tell them, ‘Don’t let this person leave my side’ and they put you inside an elevator and take all your friends away from you, that was the scariest moment of my life,” he said.
- He’s on medication but won’t say what. “It’s an imperfect solution to just calm me down.”
- The Paris robbery of his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, at gunpoint took a toll on him, and may have been one of the many contributing factors that led to his “breakthrough.” (More on those factors later.) “I went to Paris on that trip to protect her—not to protect her physically, but to go and help her with her look because she’s in Paris. One of the things that she heard was they were coming to rob her, but they had to wait until I had left,” he said. West described feeling “helpless” after learning about what happened, but said it was part of a “bigger plan” to tell him to slow down. Ever since the robbery, West said he and Kim no longer keep expensive jewelry, fine art, and other valuables at their home “where our kids stay.”
- Responding to a question about whether his in-laws, who created the brand “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” can be trusted with his story, Kanye said with caution, “I like the way my wife communicates and documents things.”
- On family, he said, “Family is your most important currency…that’s one of the reasons Kim won’t end up in a hospital, she’s got a family close.”
- On feelings, West said, “When you want to express yourself, sometimes words can get in the way.”
- Since his mom passed away in 2007 due to complications from plastic surgery, West said his wife, Kim, feels responsible to take care of this “superhero.” (Yes, Kanye being the “superhero.”)
- West said he was “hurt” when Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé chose not attend his 2014 wedding to Kim, but understands “they were going through some things.” However, if he and Jay-Z were truly family, Kanye said, “then you know, you’re not going to miss a wedding.”
- West predicted his company, Yeezy, a brand partnership with Adidas, is going to hit a billion dollars this year and that’s “what it’s supposed to be.” But West clarified that he’s worth even more than that. If he had a percentage related to his overall influence, he’d be a “multi-trillionaire,” he said.
- In 5 to 10 years, the Yeezy brand will be “the biggest service provider of apparel,” West said, including being a source of relief during natural disasters.
- He’s also entering the housing market, and said he just bought 300 acres of land where he plans on developing five properties.
- Artists are “HSP”—highly sensitive people.
- West still holds a grudge against Obama for calling him a “jack-ss” after West cut off Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. He suggested Obama should apologize, adding, “Sometimes a conversation can help show respect for a situation.” On what he’d like to hear from Obama, West said, “I’m the leader of the free world, Ye, I’m sorry for calling you a jack-ss. I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate your Gemini, your Tupacness.”
- Kanye thinks Obama didn’t have him to the White House because he’s a “wildcard” and “not safe,” compared to other rappers and artists that Obama did invite. But West also said the fact that he’s a “wildcard” and “not safe” is precisely why Obama “loves” him. More on what he’d like to hear from Obama: “Just tell me you love me, and tell the world you love me. Don’t tell the world I’m a jack-ss.”
- His views on Obama are complex. He criticizes the former president for not doing more in places like Chicago, but also said he understands the reality of not being able to accomplish everything. “To Obama, I would say I understand bro…but I have my feelings also.”
- #Kanye2020 or #Kanye2024 is still a thing. “I might be president one day,” he said of the prospect.
- When he is president, West said, “I might be in that situation where it’s harder for me to explain to the masses why something isn’t happening that they feel the concept of a president should be able to fix.”
- West disagreed that his mother, who passed away in 2007 due to complications of plastic surgery, wouldn’t like President Trump.
- West likes the way President Trump ran his campaign: “I don’t have all the answers that a celebrity is supposed to have, but I could tell you that when he was running, I felt something. It’s like, the fact that he won, it proves something. It proves that anything can happen in America. That Donald Trump could be president of America,” he said. When West would make comments to his friends about running for president, he said they would “talk sh-t” and make jokes. But now because of Trump, “it’s proven that that could’ve happened.” (And still could.)
- But the policy agenda behind a President Kanye West would look nothing like that of President Trump. “The Ye version would be the Trump campaign and maybe the Bernie Sanders principles. That would be my mix of stuff. But I think both are needed.”
- On being himself, West said, “As a servant to the world, I have to be me.”
Ye want more? Watch the entire interview here.