Earlier today Kanye West shared a previously teased interview with Charlamagne tha God. Spanning nearly two hours, 'Ye dished on everything from his time spent in the hospital and mental health, to the infamous Taylor Swift incident, his relationships with JAY-Z and Barack Obama, Donald Trump, leaving Nike for adidas, YEEZY, Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton, and much more.
As to be expected, there is a lot to digest from the 1-hour-and-45-minute conversation, so we've compiled the best quotes below. After taking a look, be sure to leave us your thoughts on the interview in the comment section.
On what caused his breakdown:
“Fear, stress, being controlled, manipulation….Like being a pawn in a chess piece of life. The concept of competition, and being in competition with so many elements at one time….To put that same amount of work into a piece of work [The Life of Pablo] and you’re expecting it to come out like Graduation where really everything is playing on the radio, it’s frustrating. And really since the Taylor Swift moment, it’s never been the same, that connection with radio. Whatever powers that be, it was much harder after that….the radio element was just one of the factors. There’s like, the situation with my wife in Paris and all the elements of like, you’re feeling helpless.”
On his form of therapy:
“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. Sometimes they’ll be like, ‘damn I’m talking to Ye, I’m not expecting to talk about this.’ You know, I’ll talk through things, and I put that as advice to people: use people around you as your therapist, cause they probably know more about you. Like a therapist does a crash course in Ye and then comes and is like, ‘I wanna give you some advice,’ and I’m not saying that therapists are bad, I’m just saying that I like just talking to acquaintances, friends, family, and you know, I keep them on the phone for 45 minutes at a time talking through things, so it’s kind narcissistic, talking about my problems, using their energy, even like, them being a sounding board, and talking through it.”
On losing his confidence after being hospitalized:
“I never had the empathy for people who lacked confidence. I had so much of it, I didn’t know what it was like to be without it….It just wasn’t Black Panther, Superman level confidence. It was just, placed into the simulation….I wouldn’t speak up…Maybe a doctor could give an explanation.”
On Kim's Paris 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. … 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.”
On the lack of radio play following The Life of Pablo:
"Khaled got this song, Drake got this song that radio's playing to death. But 'Saint Pablo' ain't playing. 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."
On the fashion world turning on him:
"I was 45 minutes late [to a fashion show], and they LeBron-ed me, bro. Remember when LeBron went to Miami and they killed him and burned his jersey and all that? I had just done [Madison Square Garden] – 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 'nigger' 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."
On returning to Twitter:
“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.”
On leaving Nike for adidas:
“It was heartbreaking for me to have to leave Nike, but they refused to allow me to get royalty on my shoe. And I knew I had the hottest shoe in the world. I knew Yeezy was the hottest brand in the world.”
On Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton:
"Some people have to do things just to prove that they can be done, whether they become the billionaire on the other side of it. Obama went into that office as a public servant in a service position. It didn't matter the amount of money or ownership. The world needed to see that this is a possibility. For Virgil, it's like, the world just needs to see things."
"OFF-WHITE has five, 10 stores. Louis Vuitton has 2,000 stores. It's like taking the job as the president. Trump, you see Trump's name on all types of buildings, but he still took the job as president."
On his issues with JAY-Z:
“My issues with Jay just came down to information. I’m super hungry for information. I need information more than validation, more than finance…..Actually, the money [referenced in “KILL JAY-Z”] he got from Live Nation. It was a touring deal. But the fact that it was worded that it came from him. I’m a very loyal, emotional, artist person. That made me feel that I owed more than just the money itself, that it came from him.”
On his issues with Obama:
“Obama came to me before he ran for office, to me and my mother, to let me know he was going to run for office, because I am his favorite artist, because I am the greatest artist of all time….so Obama is like, Ye, you’re my favorite artist, I want your support, I’m running for office. Then, I went on stage. And it would have been good if this video didn’t get out, but you saw the video [where Obama called him a jackass for rushing Taylor Swift on stage at the MTV Movie Awards]. The same person that sat down with me and my mom I think should have communicated with me directly."
"I felt a little way about Obama like, 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 now. 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...Something about me going on stage is similar to what you was doing. ’Cause I’m fighting to break the simulation, break the setup....And then I also like had a problem that Obama’s from Chicago and Chicago’s the murder capital of the world.”
On Donald Trump:
"I don’t have all the answers that a celebrity is supposed to have, but I can tell you that when he was running it was like I felt something. The fact that he won, its like it proves something. It proves that anything is possible in America...that Donald Trump is the president of America. I’m not talking about what he’s done in office."
"Remember when I said I was going to run for president? I had people close to me, friends of mine, making joke, making memes, talking shit, and now it’s like, oh that was proven that it could happen...When I see an outsider infiltrate, I connect with that. I like that it showed you that anything is possible. Virgil working at Louis Vuitton, Trump in office, it’s time for the unconventional. I’m not a traditional thinker, I’m a nonconformist so that relates to the nonconformist part of me. But I’m a producer. I like to elevate things, chop it up — so what’s the Ye version. Maybe it’s the Trump campaign with Bernie Sanders principles. That would be my mixing stuff, but I think both are needed."
On what he sees for YEEZY:
“The reason that we went into fashion...was actually to take the incredible HSP — highly sensitive people — in the fashion house and bring them to some place where they can consistently connect with the public. Yeezy will end up like a relief company. If there’s a disaster we’re going to dress, we’re going to bring clothes and water. The same design perspective that can sell a $300 shirt, we’re going to give it. Eventually that’s who we’ll be. You’ll look up, 5 10 years from now, Yeezy will be the biggest service provider of apparel."
On his issues with Silicon Valley:
"That’s why I tweeted to Mark Zuckerberg is because he wanted to meet with me. We hung out a few times, we were talking about my ideas. There was really not a lot of follow up to that. These guys, they’ll support someone who has one idea they can capitalize off of. Then there’s the guy who’s done everything in every field he’s ever put his mind to and I’m like help me get a valuation. It’ll be people who know how to do that, I’m hanging with them they don't show me how to do that. Why are you keeping me misinformed? I thought learning the valuation was like a slave getting a social security number. It was like, 'I’m worth this much.'"
On management and Scooter Braun:
"My last and final manager was Scooter Braun. I’ve had every manager. Gee Roberson, Jay Brown, Izzy. I just can’t be managed. [Scooter Braun] is a Jewish guy, someone who understands business, but also who understands how to communicate on a personal level with a black person. Like on a personal level. We would get on the phone and he would talk to me for hours. He was Kanye West’s gateway drug to business. I would just trust the manger, let them handle everything, it becomes one big racket, the tour guy is talking to the label guy, who’s talking to the manger, talking to the guy that sold you the house and then you’re just trapped. You’re not in control of your life anymore, then you can be easily manipulated. A whole album with Paul McCartney can become a single for Rihanna. You’re trapped in this box of the idea of your perception and the music industry. Scooter Braun is Kanye West’s gateway drug to business and maybe the death of the music industry as we know it."
On buying 300 acres in California to develop a community:
"I’m going to build five properties. It’s my first community. I’m getting into development. Anybody who’s ever been to any of my cribs knows I’m into developing homes. It’s the next frontier for me to develop. We’re standing on my first property. So I’m going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time, what Howard Hughes was to airlines, and what Henry Ford was to cars, and just the relationships I have to architects...I’m tired of the McMansions. That shit is wack. It’s trash bruh...Unless it’s Howard Backen. We’re going to develop cities."
On the Kardashians/Jenners and reality TV:
"Of course I’m going to give you a slick answer on that because I gotta go home. Right now, we’re writing part of the story by speaking. I like the way my wife communicates and documents things. As an artist I think it's good to document ourselves, document our now, see if we can recognize ourselves in a different life."
On what College Dropout Kanye would think of him now:
"I think he’d be happy, satisfied, and he would believe it. You know how people say, I wouldn’t believe it. I’ve always believed it."
For more, watch Kanye discuss Trump, slavery, and free thought in the TMZ newsroom.