Kanye West is ready to answer every question you’ve had since his return to Twitter in April. On Tuesday (May 1), West released his highly anticipated interview with Power 105.1’s Charlamagne Tha God, in which he addresses his “breakdown,” feud with JAY-Z, thoughts on Obama and, of course, his support of Donald Trump.
Here are nine things we learned from Kanye’s sit-down with Charlamagne:
Kanye felt like his mental “breakthrough” was a result of constantly searching for validation and the 2009 Taylor Swift moment.
Kanye was hospitalized in November 2016 due to stress and sleep deprivation following a string of rants where he called out JAY-Z and Beyoncé and endorsed then-president-elect Donald Trump during his Saint Pablo Tour. In his new interview with Charlamagne, Ye said he’d rather refer to his mental “breakdown” as a “breakthrough” and felt like the breakthrough was caused by “fear, stress, being controlled, manipulation, being a pawn in a chess piece of life.”
Very few are as confident as Kanye is, but he revealed that he began to look for approval from people because he was always pitted against his peers in music and his Life of Pablo album wasn’t getting the recognition he felt it deserved.
“We’re doing Saint Pablo and the cultural impact is incredible, but I’m looking for other forms of validation when there’s other frequencies and currencies,” he said. “So just because it isn’t playing on the radio — of course, we had ‘Father Stretch [My Hands Pt. 1]’ in the club and on the radio a bit, it went to No. 1 [on Billboard‘s Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay chart] — but to put that same amount, if not more work, into a piece of 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 just has never been the same, the connection with radio. Whatever powers that be, it was much harder after that.”
The fashion industry “Lebron’d” him following calamitous Yeezy Season 4 fashion presentation.
The 2016 Yeezy Season 4 fashion show quickly captured headlines after news broke that West’s guests were waiting for over an hour in the sweltering heat to view his collection. Kanye felt like the fashion industry wasn’t very forgiving and instead, they “LeBron’d” him, referencing the chaos that ensued when LeBron James traded in his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey for a Miami Heat one in 2010.
“I felt it was the fashion community getting the right to say ‘n—-r’ without saying it,” he said. “To be like, ‘Yo, we know you come through stepping on necks and all that and your approach to things, 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. It’s like all these things were almost set up to put me on meds, to break me down.”
He was “frustrated” with JAY-Z calling him out on 4:44’s “Kill Jay-Z” and not attending his wedding.
There have been many stories circulating about why JAY-Z and Kanye have grown apart over the years, from Beyoncé’s dislike of the Kardashians to the Carters failing to check up on Ye after Kim’s Paris robbery. Speaking with Charlamagne, Kanye said his issue with JAY-Z is more about “information.”
“I need information more than I need validation, more than I need finance. If I learn how to fish, then I can feed my family forever,” he said, before Charlamagne brought up JAY-Z’s “Kill Jay-Z” line, “You gave him 20 million without blinkin‘/ He gave you 20 minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin‘?” Ye said he was “frustrated” after hearing that line because the money didn’t directly come from Hov. In fact, it came from Live Nation, who offered Ye a touring deal.
“That made me feel like I owed more than just the money itself, the fact that it came from it; it just put me under a bit more of a controlled situation and 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.”
Ye admitted that he was “hurt” by Jay and Bey missing his wedding in 2014. “I understand they was going through some things. But if it’s family, you’re not gonna miss a wedding,” he told Charlamagne, even though he has yet to ask them why they never showed up.
…But they’re cool now.
“We good. We’re texting each other, it’s positive energy,” he said of the status of his relationship with Jay. While the pair has yet to come face-to-face, Kanye said with a sly grin, “I haven’t seen him but I can feel him.”
He lost confidence in himself after leaving the hospital in 2016.
After his temporary stay in the hospital to treat a few health issues, Kanye came to a shocking realization. “I had lost my confidence,” he said. “And you could see it — that’s why they were saying ‘sunken place’ and all that stuff. I never had the empathy for people who lacked confidence, I had so much of it [that] I didn’t know what it was like to be without it.”
At that point, he felt like losing his confidence made him vulnerable and could easily be “molded and controlled.” He said that his Yeezy Season 5 show received good reviews because he wasn’t as confident as he used to be and felt like he gave the fashion industry the Kanye they wanted.
Cutting ties with Nike was “heartbreaking.”
Before Ye’s famous Yeezy sneakers called Adidas home, the popular streetwear foot brand was owned by Nike. The “Ultralight Beam” rapper said he “couldn’t get royalties” for his sneakers and wanted to expand the Yeezy brand into something bigger, but Nike wasn’t on the same page as him. He continued: “I can call the CEO of Adidas directly, I have his cell phone [number] — Mark Parker [ceo of Nike] wouldn’t get on the phone with me.”
Obama once considered Kanye his “favorite” artist before calling him a “jackass” publicly.
Elsewhere in the video, Kanye reminisced about Barack Obama approaching him and his mother, Donda West, for support ahead of his presidential campaign. However, the Taylor Swift debacle at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards caused Obama to think differently about his “favorite” artist and ended up calling Ye a “jackass” in a leaked video.
“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, yo, you know what it is. I’m in the room and it was just a joke,'” he said, adding that Obama “couldn’t deal with a wildcard like me.”
“I’m your favorite artist. You play ‘Touch the Sky’ at your inauguration, and now, all of a sudden, Kendrick [Lamar] 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,” he said. “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 fighting hard enough.”
He doesn’t regret meeting with Trump and would do it again.
Kanye shocked fans when he visited Trump at the Trump Towers in New York City weeks after leaving the hospital. Earlier in the interview, Kanye said he lost his confidence around the time he was hospitalized but insisted he knew exactly what he was doing when we met with Trump that December.
Charlamagne asked, “What Ye was that?” Kanye responded: “This was the Ye that wanted to do something, to change something, and I would meet with him today and I would talk about Chicago.” During a walk with Charlamagne at the end of the video, Charlamagne asked Ye, “You got a guy like him who’s clearly trying to marginalize and oppress people, people that look like you. [He] dont wanna see people like you come up. Can you still love a person like that?” But Ye maintained his support for Trump and explained why he likes Trump.
“When he was running, it’s like I felt something. The fact that he won, it proves something. It proves that anything is possible in America. Donald Trump can be president of America. I’m not talking about what he’s done since he’s in office. But the fact that he was able to do it — remember when I said I was gonna run for president? I had people that was close to me, friends of mine, like making jokes, making memes, talking shit. Now it’s like, oh, that was proven that that could have happened. I felt the nonconventional.”
Kanye is taking medication to “calm” him down.
Kanye revealed that since leaving the hospital in 2016, he’s still on medication. What kind? He refused to tell Charlamagne the names of any medication he’s taking but said: “It’s an imperfect solution to calm me down.”