Kanye West's Interview With Charlamagne Tha God: Read The Full Transcript

By Sam Valorose

May 3, 2018

Kanye West sat down for a lengthy interview with The Breakfast Club's Charlamagne Tha God where the two talk about the icon's mental breakdown, President Obama referring to him as a "jackass," his current relationship with JAY-Z, why he supports Donald Trump and much more. 

The interview was recorded April 18th, prior to Kanye wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat in a photo on Twitter, his support of far-right media personalities, and claiming that slavery "was a choice" while on TMZ Live. Since the interview, Charlamange has awarded Kanye 'Donkey Of The Day' for his statements about slavery and gave his thoughts after their talk, saying Kanye's "superpower is his weakness." 

Read their entire conversation below: 

Charlamagne: Ye.

Kanye West: What's good?

Charlamagne: How are you, my brother?

Kanye West: I'm good.

Charlamagne: Yes, sir. I've ... I seen a lot of pictures of you, uh, lately, out and about.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: You know, so the ... so the first question is, how are you?

Kanye West: I'm feeling good.

Charlamagne: 'Cause the last time, uh, I think, people heard about you in the news was Kanye West was having a mental breakdown, so mentally, where are you?

Kanye West: Um, I think I'm in a stronger place than I ever ... than I ever was after the- the breakdown or I like to say the breakthrough.

Charlamagne: What do you ... What do you ... What do you think, uh, caused the mental breakdown?

Kanye West: Fear, stress, control, being controlled, manipulation, like being a- a pawn in a chess piece of life.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Stressing things that- that create like validation that I didn't need to, uh, worry about as much and, uh, you know, that just ... it's the concept of competition and being in competition with so many, you know, elements at one time.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: On a ... On a race against time, your age, all your ... you getting old, uh, race against popularity on the radio, Khalid got this song, Drake got this song on the radio it's playing to death. Saint Pablo ain't playing. Uh, I could do ... I mean, I take the whole ... I could take the whole interview-

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: ... talking about ...

Charlamagne: No, it's interesting though, 'cause you never ... you- you've been the guy-

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: ... that has always created a flow, not gone with the flow. So, it seems like you were a little upset that you weren't a part of the flow.

Kanye West: It was weird. I was looking at, you know, 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 other currencies, so just because it's not playing on the radio. Of course, we had, you know, farther stretches in the club in- in- in ... on the radio a bit, like it went to number one. Uh, but you know, to put that same amount, if not work, into a piece of work, and then you used to it coming out like graduation where everything is everything, you know, it's frustrating. And, really, ever since the Taylor Swift moment, it just had never ... it never had been the same, the connection with radio. It's like whatever powers that be, it was much harder after that. And then, also, you know, LA leaving Universal, like, you know, he had that radio locked.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So, if you're an artist, and you sign to a major label you want to be on the radio, especially if you ... if you popular, if you popping, you know. If you one of the most famous people on the planet, and people love your music, and all the best artists in the world are coming to your concert, and all friends is like, you know, Snapchatting themselves at the shows, and you selling merch out like that. It seems like, okay, radio should just be intact, and it might be just a piece of information that I was missing that wasn't being expressed to me that I- I didn't understand. 'Cause at the end of the day, someone's controlling it, and I didn't ... I didn't understand it. But, the radio con- the radio element was just one of the factors.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: There's like, uh, you know, the situation with my wife in Paris, and all of the elements of, like, you feeling like, you know, helpless. You feeling like what can you do? A thousand ... You know, I- I like, went to Paris on that trip to protect her, but ... not protect her, you know, uh, physically, but to go and just help her with her looks 'cause she's in Paris. So, I'm like, "Let me put my eye on it personally."

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: While she's out in Paris, and make sure she busts these niggas ass, you know, just so- so, like get fly. And, uh, one of the things that she said that she heard is that they were coming to rob her, and they had to wait 'til I had ... I had left.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, when I finally ... And that the people, uh, had been strategizing and scheming on that for a long time, so when she probably got to Paris by herself, they were like, "Okay, this is our chance." Next thing you know, I get off on the flight the next day. And, they were like, "Oh okay, we gotta, like, fall back." And then, you know, when I left a couple days later, I'm on stage and I hear that, uh, my boy comes up to me and says, "You know, your, uh, your wife was robbed." And I ... At that point, I didn't know the whole element, or the whole story of what was happening. Previous to that, you know, just one week before that or two weeks before that, I- I'd done a fashion show. Um, and I was 45 minutes late, and they Lebron'd me, bro, like remember when Lebron went to-

Charlamagne: What's that mean?

Kanye West: Like, when Lebron went to Miami?

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: (Laughs).

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: And, they just killed him, and burned his like jersey and all that.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: It's like I had just done MSG, young thug on stage, you know, and then go and plug an iPhone at ... with 16,000 people.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Everybody in the audience, whoever you- you want to name and shit, you know, streaming live all this, like a breakthrough, and soon as I was 45 minutes late, I felt it was the fashion community getting the right to say nigger without saying it.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: To be like, "Yo, we know you come through stepping on necks and all that, and what you do in your approaches things and stuff, but if you get out of line, boy, we gonna roast you."

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, it effected me because I'm an artist, and it effected me emotionally, like, emotionally it's all these things were like almost set up to put me on meds, to break me down, the- the robbery, like, I don't ... You know, I don't know where that, you know, where that came from. The, you know, was that a bigger plan, a bigger set up, you know, also just being on stage four times a night.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I mean, four times a week, you know, you get exhausted up there.

Charlamagne: So, you was mentally exhausted, emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted, everything?

Kanye West: Yeah, fine, yeah.

Charlamagne: Did you go to therapy at all? 'Cause I feel like this is a lot to unpack. And, I'm sure you're the go to guy for a lot of people, so it's like who does the go to guy go to? So, I'm sure you have to go to some therapy or something.

Kanye West: Nah, I used the world as my therapy-

Charlamagne: Hmm.

Kanye West: ... as my therapist, anyone I talk to is my therapist.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I will pull them into the conversation of what I'm feeling at that point, and get their perspective. Sometimes they be like, "Damn, I'm talking to Ye, I'm- I'm not expecting to talk about this." I'll use it ... I'll, you know, I'll talk through things.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Anybody that I'm around, and I- I put that as advice to people, it's like use people around you-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... as your therapist 'cause they probably know more about you. Like, a therapist is like ... does a crash course in Ye, and comes and is like wanting to give you, you know, some advice. And, I'm not saying that the therapists are bad, I'm just saying that I- I like just talking to acquaintance, friends, family. And, you know, I keep them on the phone for 45 minutes at a time talking through things. It's like, it's kinda narcissistic, you know?

Charlamagne: (Laugh).

Kanye West: Uh, talking about my problems, using their energy. Even like just them being a sounding board, and talking through it, so ...

Charlamagne: Well, when it ... when it- it comes to, I guess, you know, mental health so to speak, you seem to be in a good space mentally. So, how did ... how did you get there? You just talked through it with people? Or, was it music or we see you returning to Twitter now? Is- Is just getting these thoughts out therapeutic for you?

Kanye West: Yeah, but I- I'm not even ... the thoughts that I'm getting out on Twitter right now are not, you know, I think everything is therapeutic, but I'm not doing it as a, you know, a form of, uh, personal therapy. It's just an innate feeling, I just ... I want to express.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I decided to use this platform to express some breakthroughs that I've had since going to the hospital.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. Well, what- what are some of those breakthroughs? You know, you said something about the- the fashion world, and how you felt like when you was 45 minutes late, they tried to cut your head off. It's kinda the same thing with Taylor Swift, when you got on stage, and- and, you know, interrupted her acceptance. It's like, do you feel like whenever you're in spaces where you're tolerated as opposed to celebrated, they let ... they remind you of that?

Kanye West: Oh, yeah, you get reminded all the time. But, uh, the reminders don't mean nothing to me anymore 'cause I've broken it.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: You know, this is ... this is Hermes level of existence at this point, you know, you look at a- a Birkin bag, the way it's made, the more scratches on it, the more ... the more value it has.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: You know, so all those things, those pieces of the story have created, uh, who I am today, and I- I wouldn't turn down anything. Like, I always ... I would ... I would be thinking about you as I was recovering and I always thought, "Ima go and talk to Charlamagne first." And, I just wanted to say, like, there was elements about going to the hospital, and having a breakdown or a breakthrough that was fire. It was incredible, the feeling was incredible-

Charlamagne: Explain.

Kanye West: Well, on the Saint Pablo, I said, "I'm praying an out of body experience will happen, so people can see my light, and know it's not just rapping."

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: You have the context of rap, um, here go ... Oh, here go one related, I want to talk about rap, here go one related to what I was saying about the fashion show. So, if my name pops up in a publication, uh, and, you know, today I don't wanna use white, black, the black [inaudible] all too much about. I want to modernize, but I want to speak about the concept of racism as something that is something we're in, it's something of the past, it's something we're breaking the future. So, I'd say this, you know, if it's a white publication, if they use the word "rapper," they not saying that in a complimentary way. They trying to say that to not classify it in a Howard Hughes, Picasso, you know, Einstein-

Charlamagne: They should just say artist.

Kanye West: ... way. Yeah, artist or just person or something, just who I am. Whatever ...

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Say- Say my name in whatever, just say my first name.

Charlamagne: Alright.

Kanye West: Say half of my first name, just say Ye.

Charlamagne: Ye.

Kanye West: Whatever ... And, whatever someone takes from that then cool, and then say what happened, and just leave it there, don't put no extra sauce on it.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So, when they put "the rapper," and then they'll say something I'll say that's, like, absolutely inspired, but if they put it in the ... something inspired in the wrong context, it'll come off as, uh, I don't want to say crazy, 'cause I also want to change the stigma of crazy, and I want to change the- the stigma of mental health period. And, I have not done no extra study on it-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: We at the beginning of it. We at the beginning of the conversation, but best believe ima take the stigma of the- the word crazy. Um, but let's just say for now people will take something that's enlightened, put it in a different context, and then call it crazy.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: To try to diminish the impact and the value of what I'm actually saying.

Charlamagne: Yeah, I mean, um, that's- that's why I say, I got to therapy every Friday at three o'clock.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: 'Cause, you know, sometimes you feel like Rafiki in the Lion King-

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: Remember Rafiki? Rafiki knew exactly what Simba came from, he knew exactly who Simba was, and what Simba was about, but everybody would say, "Yo, Rafiki is crazy. Stay away from him." And one day, Rafiki took that staff, and hit Simba over the head, and said, "No, you're crazy 'cause you don't even know who you are. Look in this lake, and let me show you where you come from." I think you might have forgotten that you're Kanye West.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: 'Cause so many people was trying to re- make you believe that you were lesser than who you truly are.

Kanye West: Oh, yeah. If you hang around people who act like you aren't who you are, then you'll forget who you are. And, I got a doper way ... I've writ ... I've written it down, and-

Charlamagne: That was a - Yeah.

Kanye West: (Laughs) Yeah, tweet, you know, we should just tweet while we're [inaudible]. Just tweet that right now, and shit.

Charlamagne: Speaking of Twitter-

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: Uh, you know, how- how does that feel coming back to Twitter, 'cause I would think ... I- I would ... coming back to Twitter, 'cause I would think that the hardest thing for Kanye West is to be quiet.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: You was quiet for like a year.

Kanye West: I didn't have a lot to say. I had, uh, a lot to learn.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, you know, right now, you'll document where I'm at, this is ... I felt the need to speak at this point, you know, when you ... when you look up at five years from now, or 10 years from now, uh, they'll be ... I'll be even more ... I'll have more experience. I'll be in a ... I'll be in a better place than I was today. But, it's good for you to see ... You know, there'll be mistakes, there'll be flaws in the way I communicate today 'cause we're human beings, we're flawed. I'm not media trained, I'm not studied in that. I'm not trying to say the right thing, I'm just saying exactly what I feel out of, uh, out of, uh, love.

Charlamagne: Yeah. When was the last time Kanye West felt like he had something to learn? 'Cause that's interesting to hear you say, 'cause, you know, Kanye's the guy who seems to know everything, like to- to know what's going on as far as music, fashion. Like, when was the last time Kanye felt like he had something to learn?

Kanye West: Everyday, every day I'm trying to learn something, and everyday I get, you know, I- I get afraid, I- I'm fearful of things.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, I just use bravery to overcome what I'm fearful of. I mean, the quote ... What's the quote people always say? The wise man knows he knows nothing.

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: I'm learning, and now I'm- I'm expressing some things that I felt-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, if they mean something to you at this time, then great, if not then, you know, don't- don't use them. So, you know, a lot of, um, you know, I think me and, um, Jay's, uh, issue ... My- My issue it just came down to information. I'm super hungry for information, I- I'm ... I need information more than I need validation-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: More than I need finance. I need like ... If I learn how to fish, then I can feed my family forever.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So, I'm just constantly looking for the information, information, how do I set up a factory?

Charlamagne: So, you feel like Jay was tossing you money as opposed to giving you the information? 'Cause, you know, the infamous line on 444 is, you know, "I gave Kanye 20 mil without thinking. He gave me 20 minutes on stage, you know, what was he thinking?" Oh, I think it was 20 mil without blinking, whatever it was. He gave you $20 million.

Kanye West: That concept that you gave me, that he gave me the money that's what frustrated me, because actually it ... the money was ... he got it from Live Nation. He ... Live Nation was managing me at the time, that's something normal that someone would give someone a touring deal.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: 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 for the fact that it came from him.

Charlamagne: Hmm.

Kanye West: You know, it just put me under a bit more of a kinda controlled situation. It's like ... And, I don't ... I'm- 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. But, if I have the, "I gave you this," on it, and I don't have the full information of how it happened. Now, that said, I think there was some love in that, because ... on Jay's part, because he did have to cosign for it. When the Live Nation's and these different companies wouldn't cosign for me, and I was in debt, Jay did have to go up and say, "Ima cosign for Ye."

Charlamagne: Gotcha.

Kanye West: So, the thing is, it's- it's one of those where, have you ever done something where you did something for someone that's positive, but it was something about the way you did it-

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: ... that kinda like blew the whole thing up?

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: So, Jay did something that was positive, but the fact that I didn't receive the information in the right way, I ... You know, because I always feel like, man, I'm out here in Hollywood. I'm out here, like, my mom has passed, I don't know who I can trust.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I don't trust nobody.

Charlamagne: And Jay was big brother, his big brother.

Kanye West: Yeah yeah.

Charlamagne: I feel like both of y'all might've reacted emotionally though. Meaning that, like, you reacted emotionally when you was on stage, and you ranted, and then he replied in a record, you know. That's not really his, his character to do something like that. To put out like, "This is what I did for such and such."

Kanye West: I mean, yeah, but he, he, he did it in an un-brotherly way, you know, he could've went [inaudible] could've released an entire record or something, that was just a bar, you know what I mean.

Charlamagne: Yeah, a takeover. (laughs)

Kanye West: Could've went cray ... You got every single piece of information that possible on my life and stuff, know the finances are, you know, so ... um ... Even, like, when I tweeted, I was in debt. That gave me power. I took my power back, because it's like someone trying to say like, "Yo, if you say this, you not gonna be cool no more." And it's like man, my financial situation don't make me.

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: I'm in debt, now what? And I'm still Ye.

Charlamagne: Yeah, you did the Eminem in "8 Mile".

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: Let me say it about myself, before somebody else can use it against me.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: That's what I call living your truth, though, live your truth, so, you know, when you live your truth, nobody can use your truth against you.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: You know, um, where you and Jay at now?

Kanye West: We good. You know, we, we tweeting, I mean we texting each other. It's positive energy.

Charlamagne: Have y'all seen each other?

Kanye West: I haven't seen him, but I, I can feel him.

Charlamagne: Alright.

Kanye West: You know.

Charlamagne: What keeps, what keeps brothers like y'all from just, "Yo, come to the house, man. Let's have a meal. Let's, let's, let's sit down and talk face to face, eye to eye." 'Cause every time I, you know, see him doing an interview with [inaudible] David Letterman, whoever, he's saying, "That's the best ... my brother, like, I love him." Like, so what, what stops you all from just face-to-face communication?

Kanye West: I would do it.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Sometimes, also, like, when you have, like, such similar personalities, and people are, you know, creating their own existence and their own world and their own simulation or whatever, you know, they need to do it on their own. You know, when we were doing "Watch the Throne," I was there, you know, in service to Jay, in service to myself, too, you know. But I was there where any idea, the Givenchy artwork on "Watch the Throne," like, the first time you ever saw the Givenchy dog was on ham, was on the ham cover that, you know, the Otis beat, the producers we were working with, every piece of information was, uh, open source directly for, you know, my idol ...

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... for Jay. And that's where we were at that time. And if that's the case, then, you know, Ye's gonna be around more (laughs).

Charlamagne: Right, right.

Kanye West: You know. If, uh, you know, I went off and started focusing on clothes, and, uh, building my company and my, you know, my factory and my office, and just focus on my family, all this, and, you know, uh ... that's what happened.

Charlamagne:  Jay said you went talking about his family. Do you feel that? Do you feel like you went too far?

Kanye West: Well, it depends on how you look at it. If we're family, if we're brothers, and we are family, then-

Charlamagne: It's your family too.

Kanye West: ... then it's my family.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: If we're business associates and this, then it was too far.

Charlamagne: Gotcha.

Kanye West: You know, r- respectfully, you know. Um, you know, I gotta say ... you know, I- I was hurt about, I- I was hurt about them not coming to the wedding.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I understand they was going through some things, but ... if it's family, you know, you're not gonna miss a wedding, you know. And I'm not, I'm not using this interview to put any negative things, but I've gotta state my-

Charlamagne: You're just expressing yourself.

Kanye West: Yeah, I gotta state my truth, like.

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: And then that one thing happens, and another thing happens, and another thing happens, and other things happen, and you just start coming up with all types of crazy ideas in your head and stuff. Like, why ... and it, obviously, is me. I'm, like, [inaudible] personality and stuff. I'm, like, the cousin you can't bring nowhere, all this type of stuff, obviously.

Charlamagne: Right (laughs).

Kanye West: Uh (laughs), but, um-

Charlamagne: That's interesting about the way that they, did, did they not come? 'Cause, they, you know, in the press, it was, uh, Beyoncé has a problem with Kim, or, you know, they don't like all the Kardashian reality show type thing, or maybe now in hindsight, maybe it was, 'cause they had their own issues that they was trying to work out. What- what do you think it was?

Kanye West: I'm not sure.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I'm past it. But at the time, I was hurt about it.

Charlamagne: Did you ask them?

Kanye West: I don't think I ever asked that question, directly. Maybe talking though someone that work with them, and that kind of thing, but never directly.

Charlamagne: I think you've gotta address what bothers you, Ye. I think that's what might causing, what causes the breakthroughs, you know, when you're not asking the thing that you want to ask. Like, those are questions you can get answers for. Like, some things you can't get answers for, but that one you can get an answer for.

Kanye West: I don't think the answer fixes it.

Charlamagne: True. True. I want to go back to something you said, speaking about fixing something, like, how did you as a man forgive yourself for, you know, you said you feel like you, you let your, your wife down, 'cause you hired the security. How did you get over that? 'Cause that's not your fault. That's chance.

Kanye West: I mean, if she wasn't here, I would never forgive myself.

Charlamagne: Mm.

Kanye West: You know, it's just bugged out, when you're super high profile, in the celebrity, the concept of celebrity. You're, like, as famous as the president, but you don't have the national, the national guard with you. You've got to hire your own ... You've got to make your own, like, you know, community guard.

Charlamagne: So you just, you ... it's just a constant thing, basically.

Kanye West: The idea of security and the way it relates to fame, and this and all that, it's like, yeah, especially with, you know, social media, and all these different things, and, like, all ... that's like, my wife doesn't even wear big diamonds. We don't keep no jewelry, no money in the house ..

Charlamagne : Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... no, you know, name, high art, none of that. We don't keep any of that any place, you know, where our kids stay, you know.

Charlamagne: That's one of the things I talked to my therapist about, though, 'cause it's, it's a very vulnerable feeling being a father and a husband, 'cause our job is to protect and provide. But yo, we're not with our kids 24/7. Like, our kids' at school right now, like. Anything can happen, right. You know, you're not with wife all the time, so anything can happen. So it's kind of, like, a very vulnerable feeling, like, you've almost got to let go and let God, so to speak.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: You know? Do you think, um, do you think it's easy to be fearless, when it's just you that you have to worry about, what you know now being a husband and a parent? Does it make you more afraid to take more chances?

Kanye West: Yeah, but you've gotta stay brave. You have to follow your gut feeling. You know, I have ... everyone has a position in the universe, and, you know, I've been made and had the experiences I've had for a reason, to be expressive, to ... to ... to go through going to the hospital, to go through the dynamics of, uh ... you know, family, brother, working relationships, you know. I've gotta follow my gut. When I have that fear, I say, "I have to be," you know, "brave."

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And you know, what I think is, uh, interesting in this world, this, like, looking for soundbites. Like, we talk about, uh, the Jay thing. It's, like, you know what? I do love Jay and ... I don't have all the answers for every issue I've ever had. I don't have a soundbite for everything.

Charlamagne: That's fine.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: You know, like you said, sometimes, uh, uh, language is, uh, is a overrated form of communication.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: Right? Like, words don't always d- do it, do it justice. I saw something you tweet, and it was to the effect of, some things can't be explained.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: Some things just need to be experienced.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: What's- what's that ... expand on that a little bit.

Kanye West: When you want to express yourself, a lot of times words can get in the way. It's just this innate feeling that we have, you know. When someone's talking to you, trying to talk you into something or something like that. And you're just like, "Look, this just don't feel right." You know, often times, people playing ball, doing karate, whatever it is, they, uh ... and people, they don't mention karate since the 80s. Karate used to be the shit.

Charlamagne: Right, right.

Kanye West: [crosstalk] karate films. (laughs) Like, but it'll always be, you know, get out of your head, go from your gut, go from your chi, do what you're feeling. That's what I'm big on. Stop strategizing so much. Stop setting so many plays. Stop doing things only based in fear. Like, the universe will assist you when you are acting in love. I- I tweeted this thing where I said, "When you're acting in love, you're like a drop of water, and you have the ocean as your army. When you act in fear, it's just you and your money."

Charlamagne: Mm.

Kanye West: Now, you can take your money and put it in Bitcoin, put it in credit form, put it in cash, but all your cash [inaudible] and then stand up to the ocean, and who's gonna win?

Charlamagne: I'm- I'm- I'm understanding, I think, your mind state a little bit more. Like, when you was on stage, and you'd be going into those rants ...

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: ... it was out of fear. You were afraid at that time.

Kanye West: I think those rants ... I think to do the rants, though, were brave.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I think we're in a place now where ... bravery is more important than perfection. Feeling is more important than thought. People get so ... they put so much thought into it: "What's gonna happen?" So I actually think that the rants came from a place of bravery, and I had enough of the politics.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: You know, and that's the world that we're in right now, like, people are speaking their truth. You know, people are expressing their selves. And you know, I've been waiting for this. I've been waiting for this moment, 'cause it's always been such a, you know, just a politically ran'd, you know, society, and mentality that everyone's been in, and stuff like, "Don't do that. You need to do this. You need to ... You don't need to hang out with them, you need to hang out with them. Blah blah," and all this. And like, trying to please people and all that stuff, and I don't feel like, right now, like, people are trying to please people the same way. They're trying to please themselves. [crosstalk].

Charlamagne: That could, that could be a bad thing too, though, right? 'Cause I feel like we're all public servants at the end of the day. We're here to serve the needs of the public. We're all greater than ourselves.

Kanye West: Well, we've definitely gotta touch on the word bad.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And the idea of good and bad. Things just are. It depends on what side you're on if something is good or bad, and it depends on what your agenda is. But of course, we could speak in terms of bad. You know, we, we haven't got ... our, our language hasn't evolved to what either of us are feeling at this point. So both of us could be thinking in 2030, but we've still gotta communicate in 2018, because that's when this is dropping. So-

Charlamagne: Do we though? 'Cause you always seem to play it in the, play it in the future.

Kanye West: Yeah, I guess we don't. I guess we could be in the future.

Charlamagne: Yeah, people gotta catch up.

Kanye West: Yeah. (laughs).

Charlamagne: You talked, uh, the politics. You, you said, uh, on stage, you-

Kanye West: I was saying that with the word bad, though.

Charlamagne: Bad, yeah.

Kanye West: We could still use "bad" as a con- 'Cause people are, people, people are so raised on the idea of home team, away team, positive, negative, good, bad. Like, I think negative gets too much of a negative rap, you know. That ... Life is a balance.

Charlamagne : Yeah, that's we was talking earlier. I was like, "and I don't believe in any good or bad experiences." I feel, like, everything's just a part of the process of life.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: You know, when you think about bad experiences that have happened to you, do you still look at them as just bad? Or did you learn something from them?

Kanye West: There's no bad. And there's no enemies. Even people who want to kill you are not your enemy. That's something I was going to tweet, and I was like, "I feel this, but I don't know if people would take it in a certain way." I've got a lot of ideas that forward, and, you know, I'm just gonna keep building, like, a mountain, a mountain, like, a snowball, snowball ideas, and just keep getting more and more ... more, more expressive as I go.

Charlamagne: So that's what the book is gonna be? All those ideas?

Kanye West: Well, I don't even know if it's a book. It's like stream. It's all about streams. Everything is streams. That's why that's an amazing word. That's an amazing modern and futuristic word, streams.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Streams of consciousness, stream in music, everything is just a stream. It links to water, you know, (laughs) it's like, exactly, you know, where we will be. We will be ultra-light being, or ultra-light stream. We will be all just a stream.

Charlamagne: I feel like Kanye West the brand ... Well, Kanye West, the man, is rebelling against Kanye West, the brand.

Kanye West: You know, my email is not @kanyewest. I've retired from whatever that meant, to be Kanye West . But I think the spirit, my spirit, my attitude is a, a representation of, uh, fighting for your own truthful live ... Like, if I die tomorrow, [inaudible] it would live past me. The Ye is like a, a [inaudible] thing, and stuff.

Charlamagne: That's your name, though, just like Tupac. That was his name. Like, you, you're mother gave you the name, Kanye West.

Kanye West: Yeah. And it means, "The only one." You know, one of the incredible things I thought about when I went to the hospital is, on Kendrick's album there's this skit, uh, where Tupac is talking about the black man-

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: ... at age 30, right? And I'm like, "I made it to 39." (laugh). I made it to 39 with my opinion.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Alive with my opinion. Now, I'm 40, and I still have my opinion.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: You know, one of the things that was incredible when, you know, got out of the hospital was ... um ... I had lost my confidence.

Charlamagne: Kanye West with no confidence?

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: That's like Micheal Jordan with no jump anymore.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: Like (laughs) ...

Kanye West: (laughs) yeah.

Charlamagne: [inaudible].

Kanye West: Like, and you could see it. That's why I was saying, sunken place, and all this stuff. You know, it's, like, uh ... and wow ... 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.

Charlamagne: Do you mean zero confidence? Like, you just was left confident than usual?

Kanye West: It just wasn't Black Panther, Superman level ...

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: ... confidence. It was ... you know ... it was placed into the simulation, and shit. I was, like ... completely could be, like, modded and controlled and everything if that was the case, if I was ... You know, I wouldn't, I wouldn't speak up, you know. I- You know, I'm gonna speak up and stuff. Like, where I was when I got out of the hospital, it's ... even when I did the next fashion show, you know, it, it got all these good reviews. Yeah, 'cause I was less confident, 'cause it's like, "There, there, boy. That's exactly what we wanted."

Charlamagne: Ah. Okay.

Kanye West: (laughs).

Charlamagne: Okay. So you, you, you traded your authenticity for approval.

Kanye West: I didn't trade it. I just didn't have it.

Charlamagne: Mm.

Kanye West: I didn't have me. I didn't have my confidence. And so that superpower could never ... like, if I was, like, homeless, any situation, you could take everything, you could Black Mirror me, you could put shit on the media and say, "Ye fucked a goat," da-da-da, all this type of shit, and you will not take my confidence away ...

Charlamagne: What exactly took-

Kanye West: ... in any situ-

Charlamagne: What took Kanye's confidence? That's like, that's literally, like, somebody bringing kryptonite to Superman.

Kanye West: That's what it was.

Charlamagne: Like, taking the herb from Black Panther, like, what took your confidence?

Kanye West: I don't know exactly what it was. It had something to do ... I mean, maybe a doctor could give an explanation, but it had to do with something with coming through the breakthrough. I like to call it the breakthrough, and not the breakdown. Uh, coming through the breakthrough ... that ... you know. But also I think is, it was, it was incredible because it was a forced amount, it was force humility. Could I ... positive or negative, [inaudible] humility, it just is what it is. But previously, I would have looked at humility as more of a negative thing. Even if you read certain definitions, it's, it's kind of got a negative vibe. But as we said before, no positive or negative.

Kanye West: Um, but it also, that humility gave me time to ... to grow. And it, e- everyone just backed off. A lot of ... a lot of people depend on me. They ask for a lot of things. They're like, "Superman, do this for me." Uh, and, uh ... you know, one of the things that ... the, the irony, 'cause people always talk about the sunken place. And ...

Charlamagne: Yeah, you seen the meme? They got the meme of you, and you're the, you're the main character from "Get Out" with the tears in your eyes, and-

Kanye West: Yeah (laughs).

Charlamagne: [inaudible] doing the teacup.

Kanye West: Yeah, that ... I never saw the meme, but I could, I could, I get the picture of it. Um, the funny thing about that is that my wife, like, she's like, "I'm responsible." Like, "Ye's mom has passed away. I'm responsible to take care of this superhero." And my mom might have had these things where she made sure I never took my Superman cape off. You know, I've got this rap that say, "Parents oughta strip strip kids of their confidence, teach white dominance, question your common sense. I've been washed in tradition [inaudible], hopped off to Amistad [inaudible] God." Um, now, when I said it, I like it for this interview. When I said it on a song, I didn't like the frequency of it because it felt dated, because it, it touched on race too much.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So it's not that, not that racism ... we definitely are dealing with racism, but I want to push future concepts, you know. Now, I'm doing, I'm giving you two streams of consciousness in one: I want to talk about my wife, I also want to talk about Harriet Tubman twenty dollar bill.

Charlamagne: We're following you. We're following y'all.

Kanye West: Okay.

Charlamagne: You set it up good.

Kanye West: That was the moment that I wanted to use Bitcoin, when I saw Harriet Tubman on a twenty dollar bill.

Charlamagne: Why?

Kanye West: It's like, when you just see, like, all the slave movies. It's, like, why you gotta keep reminding us about slavery? Why don't you show us, put Micheal Jordan on a twenty dollar bill.

Charlamagne: But Harriet Tubman was a slave who rebelled, though. Like, her and Nat Turner had a different frequency, though. They kind of were, like, you were, you said you didn't feel like being controlled.

Kanye West: Yeah, you know what? It's funny, like, my boy, Tremaine, tweeted, you know, a picture of me and Virgil, and he said, "Malcolm X, Martin Luther King," and all these people mad. It's, like, "how can you compare them to that?" Man ... I know this is gonna cause an uproar, but ... certain ... certain icons is just too far in the past and not relatable. And what makes them safe. Like, they'll let you go on the Grammys and talk about slavery and all that, and racism, because it's not talking about buying stock, it's not talking about buying property.

Charlamagne: Yeah, economic empowerment.

Kanye West: Yeah, it's not talking about economic power. You can complain as hard as you want on that platform, and it, but it's not scary.

Charlamagne: Well, that's what ultimately got Martin Luther King Jr. killed. Like, it wasn't when he was fighting for civil rights, it's when he started talking about economic empowerment, when he was playing at things like the, the, the poor people's march, which was gonna be the largest march on Washington, with people of all colors that were just poor and disenfranchised. That's when they took Martin out.

Kanye West: Scary.

Charlamagne: How, how's the comparison with Virgil? You know Virgil though. What was ...

Kanye West: Well, saying, like, he's, he's more Martin, I'm more Malcolm.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Uh ... but there is a civil rights element to the ability to create your own industry.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: 'Cause even when we did rap, everything we got. Basketball and rap are both someone else's industry. So you're always a player.

Charlamagne: Mm.

Kanye West: It took Michael Jordan a long time to become an owner.

Charlamagne:  With, with that said, 'cause you mentioned Virgil, like, he, he's not a creative director for Louis Vuitton. Do you feel like he went from being owner with Off-white to now being a player? How do you, how do you feel about that?

Kanye West: Some people have to do things just to prove that they can be done. And whether they become the billionaire, da-da-da-da, on the other side of it, you know ... Obama went into that office as a public servant ...

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... in a service position. And it didn't matter the amount of money. It didn't matter the amount of ownership. The world, the world needed to see that this was a possibility. So for Virgil, it's like, the world just needs to see things. You know, I was afraid to speak the way I speak now. I was afraid to show you, you know, my, my office in Calabasas. I was afraid to show you this 300 acres that I just purchased that I'm building my first community on, my first five properties on, because, you know, I felt like it would be shut down. But it's not about me. Even if I got killed tomorrow, and they shut everything down, the fact that I put the idea out is the Black Panther shit.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: That it's a kid watching this in high school, and a kid in college, because at a certain point ... you know, Pac, at a certain point, he just had the message and hand the baton. He's like, "I might not be here."

Charlamagne:  I may not change the world, but I'm a spark-

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  ... the, the seed in somebody else that may change the world.

Kanye West: Yeah, and that's the thing. The problem is, obviously, self-preservation is the first law of nature. But people won't hand over codes completely, to the next generation out of just protecting themselves. Like, some of the stuff we're touching on is very scary. And I'm having to be brave to talk to you about it. There's so many elements in our life that create an icon that you're supposed to look, you're supposed to feel like you're not as good as the icon.

Charlamagne:  Mm.

Kanye West: I have an issue with that. I'm just going to say it. Backlash, whatever. I have an issue with ideas that are presented that make you feel less for your entire life.

Charlamagne:  We look at human beings as more than men or more than women.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  Yeah, yeah. And then, and then when they do something that's human-

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  ... there, there's like, ah, we, we, they, we, we've, they've let us down.

Kanye West: Ah, yeah, bro. When I was in the hospital, especially the black people that worked at the hospital, and I was on the hospital bed, and ... I felt like they were like my family members, and I look at them in their, in their eyes, and I don't know. It was like the tribe or something.

Charlamagne:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: It's like, as much as I want to say we're one race, one humanity, one living organism, you know, there is an element of the black celebrity in America.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And when I was laid out on a hospital bed, looking through the window at a black UCLA employee, I felt like I had let them down. I felt like they was looking at me, like, just shake their, not just sad. It's like, "Oh, that's Ye. That's Ye in that hospital bed. That's our Ye, bro." Like, "That's, that's our Yesus." Like, "He can't ..." Like, "They can't, they can't break him."

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). That is your tribe, though. I think, I think you know one, one of the, one of the big moments was when you, you met with Donald Trump.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne:  And I think that let a lot of people down.

Kanye West: You know, the funny thing is, I always think about the Dave Chappelle skit, of the ... It was Benjamin Bigsby.

Charlamagne:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West:  Where he's like ... (laughs). They created, you know ...

Charlamagne:  You talking about the blind racist, right?

Kanye West: Yeah, the blind racist and stuff like that.

Charlamagne:  Clayton Bigsby [crosstalk].

Kanye West: Clayton Bigsby, right. It's like, I felt like when I came out and expressed what I said, and what I felt, that was almost like a Clayton Bigsby moment, when everybody's head exploded.

Charlamagne:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: It's like, my Ye, "George Bush don't care about black people" cannot in any way ... this dude has to like [inaudible] at all point, at all, all costs, everything about ... And ... oh, there's some dynamics to this. So many people around me said, "Don't express your feelings." Why, your brand, your this, your that, your that.

Charlamagne:  You said you would have voted for him. That's the feeling I'm, you're talking about, right?

Kanye West: Yeah, that feeling, yeah, because ... people, first thing they say is racism. They say, "Well, what makes George Bush more ... any more racist than Trump?" is a question my friend asked me. My response is ... well, racism isn't the deal breaker for me. If that was the case, I wouldn't live in America.

Charlamagne:  That's some rich, that's some rich nigga shit there, though. (laughs).

Kanye West: (laughs).

Charlamagne:  That's some rich nigga talk.

Kanye West: Oh, no. As a rich nigga, I deal with racism. I do. [inaudible] in this gated community, [inaudible] I deal with it. So ... I ... I got love for Obama, I got love for everybody, every human being that ever existed. But, I felt like Obama was perfect. He was almost like Nike or is, where if you so ... Or, Nike when I was at Nike, not Nike now, back when I was at ... If you sew in the good with everything, and you got your whole thing planned out and strategized. If you have, like, a rogue character, like me, that comes in and says, "We need to do this for Chicago. We need to do this, that," you gonna take it with a grain of salt. You gonna be cordial, you're gonna be all, you know, all that, but you're like ... you're not really gonna change anything. You know, Nike ... when I was at Nike, they weren't willing to change anything.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: They feel like who I have the most respect for. I have respect for everyone at Nike too. These guys, Mark Parker, you know, I just got to speak out as a ... as a parent, you know, and apologize to this man for ever speaking ill on his name, and his company. Um, because he gave me that shot-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... when we did the original Yeezy and Nike, and he was there with me ... I was on a plane with him, I was sketching, and he said, "Look at this sketch. I'm gonna give this guy a chance," and he put me next to Tinker Hatfield. And, it's me and Don C. making the first Yeezy with Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker. That was the squad that made the original Nike, uh, Yeezy. So, um, I just ... I always wanted to express that as a ... as a father, and you know, and when my karma comes, you know, I'll accept it in real time.

Charlamagne: Alright, alright-

Kanye West: You know, like Kill Bill?

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah, yeah-

Kanye West: You know what I'm saying? (Laughs). When that karma comes to get you-

Charlamagne: Well, people speak out of frustration sometime.

Kanye West: Yeah, but I got some karma waiting on me. Um, (laughs), so, um, but I just wanted to express that, 'cause we're putting into the universe only good energy, and every moment was a great moment because if Mark Parker hadn't given me that moment-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... then, he helped turbo charge me, and the combination Louis Vuitton. I had a Louis Vuitton sneaker, and Nike sneaker come out at the same time. So, they helped turbo charge me, and I had a conversation with my friend in Chris's house down the street, and you talk about some rich nigga shit, I'll tell you some just regular, man shit-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... that every man deals with. My girlfriend has a child. We have a baby. You make decisions in your life based on providing for your family.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I'd love Nike, I loved the Nike. I have to put the -ed on it for the stockholders. So, (laughs), but when I was, you know, young, I used to sketch the swoosh, everything, you know, so it was heartbreaking for me to have to leave Nike. But, they refuse 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.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: But, I couldn't get royalties, they just said, "Look, you can make 5,000 shoes or 10,000 shoes, and we'll give some of the proceeds to your favorite charity," but it was nothing to build. Now we building factories, they wouldn't letting me build anything.

Charlamagne: You're trying to create generational wealth.

Kanye West: Yeah, and just put out more amazing ideas to the world, both things, generation wealth, more ideas.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: My friend was at, uh, Chris's house and expressed to me that he had received a royalty 'cause he was a store.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, I'm Yeezy, and they wouldn't give me a royalty? That was, like, the final straw. Uh, I was talking to Puma and talking to Adidas. Uh, the dude that didn't sign me at Puma definitely needs to lose his job, and stuff.

Charlamagne: (Laughs).

Kanye West: I'm not gonna say his name, but can you imagine? So, (laughs) 'cause, you know, with that infrastructure, and these ideas, and this connection I have, it wasn't no way it wasn't gonna be a unicorn. You know Yeezy's a unicorn? It's a billion dollar company. We were at 15 million two years ago.

Charlamagne: Wow.

Kanye West: And, we're gonna hit a billion this year. It's never, ever been heard of. So-

Charlamagne: Does that make you anxious? Did that give you anxiety?

Kanye West: Uh.

Charlamagne: Okay.

Kanye West: It's what it's supposed to be. You know, if I really had some percentage that related to my actual influence I'd be like a multi-trillionaire, so that's fine. [crosstalk]. So, I made the decision, and I- I left, and I went with someone that would allow me to build something. You know, I can call the CEO of Adidas directly, I have his cellphone. Mark Parker wouldn't get on the phone with me.

Charlamagne: Really? I don't even think you should be apologizing to him then. (Laughs) if he wouldn't even ... if he wouldn't even give you a courtesy call.

Kanye West: Yeah, you know, they'd say things like, "I don't know why people like the Yeezys," and you know, various ... So, and the funny thing is look at Nike now. Literally, all the people that ever worked with me are like the hottest people at Nike now. Like, they gave them the deals-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... because we left, and ripped they heads off. Um-

Charlamagne: How did that make you feel when they leave you to go back to a place that stifled y'all basically?

Kanye West: Who you saying they? You talking about, like-

Charlamagne: [crosstalk]. The people that used to work with you. Virgil, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: Um, they got families, bro. You know, these corporations they provide an opportunity. These are my friends, they have the families. If I'm not gonna provide them the same opportunity, I'm not gonna stand in their way either.

Charlamagne: But, you are providing them the same opportunity, it's just more of a ... y'all are building something as opposed to something that already exists now. Like those ...

Kanye West: A lot of times people like the room, the space, you know, when you get such a big corporation you could build up your own brand next to it. If you're really, you know, close to me, it's just gonna be my brand.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So, people, you know, want to build their own brand, actually need to be as far away from me as possible to just ... to- to get out of the shadow.

Charlamagne: That's kinda weird. That's weird, because, you know, you being Kanye West, the heat that you bring heats them up just enough. Like, I wouldn't know a Virgil if he hadn't been Kanye West's creative director, creative collaborator, whatever you wanted to call it.

Kanye West: Yeah. It's interesting how it all unfolds. Um, and you feel different ways, there's a lot of ... there's mixed emotions. You're like, "Oh, this is my crew. My crew is working for Nike, killing it." You know, I want my crew next to me, because like when I get on the phone with Virgil, that's my, you know, that's my team. He's my ... He's like the strategist.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I'm- I'm the emoter, I'm like Tesla, I'm thinking of all the ideas, like Nikolai Tesla, like not the car. Uh, and I'm thinking of all these ideas and Virgil's able to take all of those ideas, and then architect them, because he is an architect.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Like, he went to school for architecture.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: But, also this is great training, you know, people got to ... Like, I heard Nike does stuff like sends people to business school, but they're still, like, at Nike.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Like, best believe Don, Matt, Virgil, Jerry still Donda at the end of the day. Louis Vuitton, it's still Donda at the end of the day. So, I know we- we going back to the- the presidential thing. So-

Charlamagne: Yeah, I want to go back to Virgil too, but go back ... Let's go back to the President thing. I'm still trying to figure out what's the correlation between Obama, Nike, and how it relates to Trump.

Kanye West: See, Obama came to me before he ran for office, and he met with me and my mother to let me know he was gonna run for office 'cause I am his favorite artist of all time. Because, I am the greatest artist of all time (laughs).

Charlamagne: (Laughs).

Kanye West: You know, and it makes sense, he's got good taste.

Charlamagne: (Laughs). Yeah, he's got his confidence back (laughs).

Kanye West: No, I'm just saying that, it's a flat statement. Uh, (laughs) up to this point, you know. After- After me there will be greater, you know, but this is ... this is Ye, like, this is like past anything that's happened up to this point. This is the best-

Charlamagne: Even the Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, whoever else you want to throw out there?

Kanye West: 'Cause I'd throw out there ... I'd throw Howard Hughes in there, I'd throw, uh, Henry Ford-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I'd throw Walt Disney-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I'd throw Steve Jobs-

Charlamagne: Gotcha.

Kanye West: ... in there also.

Charlamagne: So, you can't say it's a lie, 'cause something like that is a matter of opinion.

Kanye West: Yeah, and then they-

Charlamagne: [crosstalk]. Some barbershop debate.

Kanye West: They're right, it's not even a debate, it's just the truth.

Charlamagne: (Laughs).

Kanye West: The (laughs) ... Yeah, it's ... Man, when you ... when you ... when you the greatest, it's funny, man, you know what I mean, like Ali. He lived a great life, you gotta know who you are, you know?

Charlamagne: Absolutely.

Kanye West: You gotta know who you are. Um, so Obama is like, "Ye," he's like, "My favorite artist, I want your support. I'm running for office." I'm like, "Aw this is dope," you know, black president, this dude's mad cool, he's from, you know, Chicago. Then, when I went on stage, and it would have been good if this video didn't get out, but you saw the video.

Charlamagne: Where he called you a jackass?

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: You know, he never called me to apologize. Just the- the same person that sat down with me and my mom, I think should have communicated to me directly, and been like, "Yo Ye, yo, you know what it is. You know, I'm in the room, and it was just a joke," you know.

Charlamagne: Wonder why he said that though. I mean, at that time, some words from Obama probably could have helped ease the situation out a little bit, you know what I mean, as opposed to calling you a jackass and pouring more fuel on the fire.

Kanye West: You know, no- nobody's perfect. I love Obama. I'm sure we'll-

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: I'm sure we'll hangout, go to Richard Branson's island, whatever, you know what I mean it's ... it'll be cool. I just think that we were in a period where, you know, he had so much stuff to deal with, he couldn't deal with a, you know, wild card like me. I think that's too unpredictable, someone that wasn't being controlled by strategy and thoughts, with someone who's acting on feelings. Um-

Charlamagne: We knew that already up to that point though. I mean, if anything when you said George Bush don't care about black people on stage in front of millions live, people should have realized at that moment, we can't control that guy.

Kanye West: Yeah, you'd think ... you'd think people would have realized that, wouldn't you?

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: I guess they didn't. So, and I kinda ... I felt a way, a little bit about Obama that I'm you're favorite artist, you play Touch the Sky at your inauguration, and now all of a sudden Kendrick, and Jay, and all these ... all the people you invite to the White House, like now these your favorite rappers, now. And, I- I ain't got no problem with these rappers, but you know I'm your favorite. But, I'm not safe.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: But, that's why you love me. So, just tell me you love me. That's all, and tell the world you love me. Don't tell the world I'm a jackass. I'm fighting 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 set up, that didn't make no sense. It's not that I'm particularly fighting for Beyonce's video, it was every time award show has ever done that, just fucking with artists.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: We are HSP, highly sensitive people, artists, that's what you love about us. So, you gonna line up a whole bunch of artists, and put us in some bum ass suits and shit, some idea from like 200 years ago. We dressed like we 200 years ago-

Charlamagne: (Laughs).

Kanye West: Lined up, trying to wait for a gold statue, and you're gonna make us feel like shit? You know, there's five of us, and shit, and four of us gotta go to the restaurant with our friends, and be like, "Man, we ain't win nothing."

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Fuck that. Man, fuck that.

Charlamagne: I remember you said that, uh, you was upset 'cause Beyonce said she would refuse to perform at the VMA's unless she won the award. That was on of the ... I think that was in Sacramento you went on that rant.

Kanye West: Now, you know what, I don't know if that's true.

Charlamagne: (Laughs).

Kanye West: I don't ... I don't ... I- I honestly don't know if that's a true thing. [crosstalk].

Charlamagne: That was like an alternative fact, that was fake news you put out there.

Kanye West: No, someone told me that.

Charlamagne: Oh, okay, okay.

Kanye West: But, I haven't heard that from her, and it's not confirmed.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So, I don't know if it's true. So, that shows you, like people put thoughts in your head to separate.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: You know, it's people who play both sides, people always talk about switching sides, there's people who will literally talk to you, [dadada], get a piece of information, drop a negative piece of ... talk to the other side, get some [inaudible], drop negative piece of information on both sides.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, then they'll show up and be like, "What's up?" You know, so, I don't know, so I could talk to ... I could talk to them directly, it's neither here nor there to me, but at that point when I was on my way to the hospital that was, um, that effected me 'cause I'm pure.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: It's like you don't appreciate pure? It's like, if you don't appreciate pure, this is like more the Obama thing, like you don't appreciate purity, you don't ... you understand the amount of bravery that it takes to be pure into your 30s and be a black in America, and famous, like the amount of brave ... Like, Richard Pryor has this piece where he talks about that. He says like, "There's no such thing as someone making it, and remaining pure." Like, I'm talking to you in a stream right now, I'm 40 years old. I've got a family, I'm famous, I got a billion dollar business, and I'm speaking to you in a stream. Yeah, that- that bothered me, but I'm not saying I have a problem with that. I just want to put this out into the universe just to, uh, just to kinda give some ... people something to- to- to think about.

Charlamagne: Nah, it- it's interesting. It's like, uh, it's a very Gemini thing.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlamagne: You know, you see the traits, you see the- the ... you, and in the Parker's like what's wrong with expressing how you feel? You know what I mean? You get to this point where you're Kanye West, the superstar, the brand, and it's like, they want you to be everything but human. But, you're a human being, human beings got emotions.

Kanye West: They want you to be everything but you.

Charlamagne: But you, yeah.

Kanye West: But, what were you gonna say though?

Charlamagne: No, I'm just saying, if you ... if you feel a way about, you know, something you heard that Beyonce did, or you feel a way about Obama calling you a jackass, you should be able to express that.

Kanye West: Oh yeah, and then I also like, had a problem, you know, that Obama's from Chicago, and Chicago's the murder capital of the world. You know, I've got a number of things that made me say ... Just like how there's racist Trump supporters-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: There's thing where I'm like, "Well, maybe this could make a difference."

Charlamagne: You felt like, uh, President Obama could have, like, waived the magic wand and- and- and just got Chicago right?

Kanye West: It's not a magic wand. You know what, it's not his fault, man, you've seen that gray hair on that man? You don't know what that man was dealing with ... I mean, you can only imagine-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... but, just it took everything for him to ... everything in that man's spirit and soul to not say ... mention racism in every sentence. This man was a Jackie Robinson of politics, you know, he was the first person to do it, so, you know, we want to be supportive-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... and be aligned also, but this isn't like an- an absolute sound byte. This isn't ... This isn't absolute opinion on either one.

Charlamagne: It's complex, yeah.

Kanye West: It's com- This is complex.

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: Because these are voices, I might be president one day. You know, so 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 that the concept of a president should be able to fix.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So, to Obama, I will say that I understand, bro. Like, I understand, I understand. Like, [inaudible] not coming to the wedding, they just had an altercation, I understand. But, I have my feelings also.

Charlamagne: Right.

Kanye West: So, it's complex.

Charlamagne: When's the last time you even spoke to Obama? Was that the last time, when he met with you and your mom?

Kanye West: We did a fundraiser for a midterm or ... for them in San Francisco.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, we did a performance for them, and right before I went on stage, someone let me know that he had left.

Charlamagne: So, you didn't even get to see him that day?

Kanye West: I saw him beforehand.

Charlamagne: Before, okay, okay, okay.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: He left right before you performed?

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne: So, that made you feel a way?

Kanye West: I felt a way, bro.

Charlamagne: (Laughs). Why you just don't reach out to the brother, man?

Kanye West: [crosstalk].

Charlamagne: You could get in touch with him, just to let him know, like I feel a way.

Kanye West: He'll see this interview, we'll talk.

Charlamagne: Yeah.

Kanye West: I- I felt a way. I be feeling a way, bruh.

Charlamagne: (Laughs).

Kanye West: I be feeling a way, I be feeling ... I've got feelings, bro. You feeling a way, bro, I be feeling. Hey, I be feeling a way. You know what I'm saying?

Charlamagne: Is that feeling because you ... these are people that you've assisted and helped them, maybe possibly get to the point that they at? And then, when they get there they don't give you that same love in return, or support in return when you need it?

Kanye West: Nobody owes me anything, but I'm still gonna feel what I feel.

Charlamagne: Alright.

Kanye West: And, I understand, and that's the thing where sometimes a conversation can help show respect for a situation. You know, "Look, I couldn't do this, because of these reasons, you know how it is. You see my gray hair. It's crazy out here. I'm- I'm the leader of the free world, Ye. Sorry for calling you a jackass. I appreciate your honest. I appreciate your Gemini, your Tupac-ness, I appreciate that somebody's gonna do it 'cause I'm President, I can't do it. But, I appreciate that somebody is still willing do it."

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: That's why I got the interview with you, you know what I'm saying, 'cause you go off truths. You risk your life for your truth, you know. Um ...

Charlamagne: Is it ... Is the feeling ... What was the feeling that made you say, "You know what, I want to go meet with Donald Trump?" And, what Ye are we talking about when that happened? Was that the Ye with no confidence? Was that the Ye who was trying to figure things out? What Ye was that?

Kanye West: Yeah, but I'm not gonna back down into that. I'm not ... I'm not gonna let myself off easy-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... by saying, "Aw, I met with Trump just 'cause I was going through something." I ain't gonna give the universe that.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Nah, ima face it, and they gonna face me. 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, first. Talk about some more things, we could eventually get into a lot of, you know, elements. But, we start there.

Charlamagne: Do you think he cares about black people?

Kanye West: What do you think? Nah, I'm not even gonna hit you with a question to your question. I hate when people do that to me.

Charlamagne: (Laughs). You could ask me though.

Kanye West: Oh, you ... That's fire 'cause you used the George Bush quote against me.

Charlamagne: (Laughs).

Kanye West: (Laughs). "Do you think he cares about black people?"

Charlamagne: 'Cause it was early on when you met with him, he hadn't even really been, you know, acting president, now he's got a year under the belt, nothing good as come of Donald Trump being in the White House other than people starting to build their own. Like, you talked about when you left Nike 'cause Nike wouldn't allow you to build your own, but I think Donald Trump is forcing us to build our own. There's a difference.

Kanye West: Bro, I'm doing my landscape in the back of my crib, rich nigga shit, right. The ... Before we could put all the trees, and add the beauty, you gotta break some things. If you keep on getting just the beauty, just the perfect thing, just the Obama walk through the hallway, it just ... he don't even walk, his feet don't even touch the floor, he just floating, giving everybody a handshake and all that. You know what I mean, you get all of these images, this is what it is. This is what I wanted to talk about, the idea of black perfection.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Like a black person can't be imperfect in the public eye. That's a form of control.

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I'm here to show you imperfection, the beauty is in the imperfection that this is possible. When I'm sitting there at the award show, and I'm like, "Man, this is the Staples Center, they play ball here. Y'all going to sit through this, and put this ... let this mind manipulation tell you that, you know, someone ..." I ... You know, I'm not even gonna put no energy out, we- we keeping a positive energy [crosstalk].

Charlamagne: No, I know ... Listen, I know exactly what you're saying, that's what they used to say about Barack. Barack had to be perfect 'cause if he wasn't perfect, then we probably would never get another one. You know?

Kanye West: That's like the Virgil situation, right? You know, I feel like ... I feel like Barack's brother a little bit. You remember when Barack's brother was talking a little bit before-

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: It was like, "Shut up."

Charlamagne: Yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: You know, it's like 'cause it's complex with Louis Vuitton, you know, as me and Virgil went and infiltrated fashion, which is what we did, he started to learn about it. He started ... Like, I got this thing that I'm gonna tweet later, [inaudible] that I wrote on my retreat that was, um, you know, you look at this mountaintop and at the top of the mountain is all these tools for life. So, you proceed ... You say, "I need these tools in order to win at life," so you proceed to climb up the mountain, but you- you need tools in order to get up the mountain, to climb up-

Charlamagne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: ... you collecting tools and stuff. By the time you get to the top of the mountain, you've got more tools than was at the top. And that's what I figured out about fashion, you know, I talked to Virgil for an hour. You know, I realized that the concept of luxury and all this is … what did I love about Gucci, what did I love about Louis Vuitton? I loved Tom Ford. I loved the artist. And Gucci created a platform for the artist. I love Mark Jacobs and Louis Vuitton created a platform for the artist. It's a battle that y'all don't know about. Francois Pinault, Bernard Arnault.

Charlamagne: I … I don't know who those people are.

Kanye West: Francois Pinault is Balenciaga and Gucci.

Charlamagne:  Okay.

Kanye West: Alright. Bernard Arnault is the richest person in fashion. This is the head of the LVMH group. Like, I've been to his house before, I've shooken hands to do a deal before, with this man. And he's one of my idols, just like Jay-Z. He's cold. You know, 'cause he made culture before culture- there was culture. 'Cause he set the platform before there was internet to hire John Galliano from St. Martins, one of Louise Wilson's students, hire Marc Jacobs. He had the vision. This man is a visionary. You know. He is one of my idols. I love Bernard. I feel his energy. He loves me …

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: … also. So, this is how it works. They have two main- main main schools that have raised the fashion icons, Parson in New York and St. Martins in London. Bernard, I know, and Pinault, that's their recruiting, you know, camp. They go there. And now, the breakthrough with Virgil is now we have someone who's come from Donda, who's come from the school of Kanye West. And I hear people talk about, "Aw, he ain't go to school." Oh, he- we went to school alright.

Charlamagne:  Alright. (laughs)

Kanye West: (laughs) We went to school. We was doin' jpegs in Japan. And we, we we-, we were makin' Photoshop so much and not makin' clothes that we, we started just joking about the jpegs, like, "did you shrink my jpeg?"

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: (laughs) "Did you dye my jpeg and shit?" We- 'cause we couldn't figure out how to actually make the clothes, so we'd just do it in Photoshop, and Virgil became the fastest Photoshop artist that I've ever met in my life. We'd be sittin' in a … you know- you know right before we went to Fendi, you know just Photoshopin' things.

Charlamagne:  'Cause y'all interned at Fendi.

Kanye West: We interned at Fendi, but we ain't do shit, bruh. We ain't get to do nuttin'. I was just happy to have a key card.

Charlamagne:  Did, uh, did it upset you? Because you said you had mixed emotions when Virgil, uh, got the- got the job. Did it upset you? Because that's something that you wanted, like you was verbal about wantin' in on one of these fashion houses and being able to create for a Louis Vuitton or Gucci.

Kanye West: Well, what's the thing we said about, you know, the tools at the top of the mountain. You know, in the process, you gain all the tools, it's the journey, and the journey you gain everything you need. Now, we got factories, we- it's, you know, there is some … we talk about validation, need or not need for validation … there is some validation in the fact that, um, someone that I came up with is now the head of Louis Vuitton. You know, and, I said- you know, honestly, you know that's, um, that was a slight … I shouldn't of worded it like that. Virgil was the head of men's wear. Nicolas Ghesquière is the head of women's wear.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: But Bernard Arnault is the head. So, I just want to word it straight up, because every time we said head, it's like a little bit of a slight to Nicolas and, you know, Nicolas is the god, like maybe the best, top, top number one designer in the world.

Charlamagne: Did Virgil call you before he took the job? 'Cause that- 'cause that was something that you wanted, so did he call you? Like, let me at least consult with Ye, or ask Ye if is something I should do. Or did you hear about it on the internet like the rest of us?

Kanye West: No, he made the call two minutes before it hit the internet, but- (laughs)

Charlamagne:  (laughs) Wow.

Kanye West: But, uh.

Charlamagne:  So you didn't know about the meetings and all the stuff that was happening beforehand?

Kanye West: No, no. When we- I was- I was in Berlin with Rocky and he told me, he's like, "You know we're lookin' at- I'm lookin' at Louis Vuitton, I'm looking at Versace." You know, he knows, like, "Yeah, I'm wild." I mean, so it's all like- the fact that he had to work with me for 10 years, it's like- my reputation's kind of like "Devil Wears Prada" or something like that, so people are mindful in the way they give me information, too. So he di- he didn't- he wasn't like, "I'm going to Louis Vuitton," it's like, "I have Versace, I got this, I got-" He kinda laid it out. And I showed him the season six campaign and I showed him Paris Hilton and this and that, and I was like, we about to drop this, and we was doin' music with Rocky.

Kanye West: Uh, but he knew he was going to Louis Vuitton at that time because he did System magazine. Uh, System magazine is a LVMH magazine and whenever they about to prep up a new talent they put 'em on System magazine. Just to kinda put it in the ethos.

Charlamagne:  Yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: You know, of, this is who we gonna- you know, who we gonna put here. Um, as far as getting the job or taking the job, or is it cool, yeah, bro, like, it's a cool job to have. They got that platform, they got thousands of stores. They got, you know, resources. You know, I had met with Hermès, you know … uh, maybe, a year and a half prior to that. I met with Bernard Arnault. We had a deal, you know, on the table, that we shook on. I did some performances at they museum, and then, three months later the deal got dropped at the board.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And … that- that set me back in apparel a bit when that happened, because in order for me to even negotiate the deal- this is after I did season one with Adidas. Uh, I had to go to Adidas and say, "okay I know we had the best fashion show all this, but Louis Vuitton is gonna back, you know, Yeezy and the Kanye West company, and these guys are masters of clothes, so I need you to indemnify the apparel." I got paperwork on it. And Adidas said, like, (sigh) alright okay cool, we're cool, we'll just do the shoes. So, if you notice, ever since then, there's never been Adidas/Yeezy clothing.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So, when I did- so this happened right after the fashion show in February. I met with Bernard Arnault in February, we shook our hands on the deal and then, you know, his son called me and they said, you know, it's dropped at the board, we don't think it's going to be profitable before we run out of money-" They only wanted to, you know, invest 30 million into it. You need to invest at least 100 million when you makin' a new brand. Uh …

Charlamagne:  Only 30 million.

Kanye West: I know that was a stunt though that they only had 30 million though (laughs)

Charlamagne:  (laughs)

Kanye West: At level we talking a- Um, but people need to higher ceilings and shit, we gotta talk with the ceilin- This is Diddy talk, you know what I mean.

Charlamagne:  Word up.

Kanye West: This is what [inaudible] be talkin' 'bout.

Charlamagne:  Absolutely.

Kanye West: This is that sh- you know. So, when they pulled on the deal when I went into season two, we didn't have any production partner and the collection never went to market. The first collection when Adidas had line ups and there was nothing to fall back on on the second collection, due to that negotiation. So, the hurtful part of it was-

Charlamagne:  That's why- okay, that makes sense that that's why you never see no clothing. Alright I get it.

Kanye West: Yeah. So the hurtful part was, they agreed to support my clothing and guess who was one of my designers?

Charlamagne:  Virgil.

Kanye West: Virgil. Then they didn't do the deal and …

Charlamagne: Virgil didn't have anything to do.

Kanye West: What'd you say?

Charlamagne:  I said Virgil didn't have anything to do, technically.

Kanye West: Yeah, I mean he was doin' [inaudible].

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: But um, you know, at that time we had- our designers were Virgil, Don, Jerry, [inaudible], Demna. Demna's the head of Balenciaga. Demna was in the apartment. It was me, Virgil, Jerry, in this apartment, one by one, makin' season one. Um, I wore this big sweatshirt that my- sweatshirt.

Charlamagne: I remember.

Kanye West: You know, some people say "vetement," right. And then, uh, you know, shortly after- it's not cause I wore the sweatshirt either. But, shortly after, Demna went to Balenciaga. And now Virgil's, you know, at Louis Vuitton. So, transitions in life, you know, as a business owner, uh, these things are hurtful, you know, when you have like- you're working with a talent like Demna. You're working with a talent like Virgil. And, you know, somebody comes through and says, "bam," I gonna take Virgil, I gonna take culture-

Charlamagne:  Explain to me, 'cause I don't know nothin' about fashion. So why would Virgil leave a brand that seems to be successful-

Kanye West: Off-White.

Charlamagne:  It seems to be growing. You know what I mean, why would you leave that brand to go work for a Louis Vuitton, or a brand that's already established. Like, why wouldn't you pool your resources and try to make Off-White that next, high-end luxury brand?

Kanye West: 'Cause Off-White has five, ten store, Louis Vuitton has 2000 stores. It's like taking the job as a president.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: You know- you know, Trump, you see Trump's name on all type of buildings, but he still took the job as president. You have like, you know, those conversations about a creative director role for me at Adidas. It's like okay, I got my brand, it's this billion dollar brand, this unicorn company, it's growing, but to be able to go, and be able to direct Adidas and all those stores, is a- you know, it's another conversation. You know, I'd be open to the conversation of taking a job like that.

Charlamagne:  But how did that help Chicago though? Because, like you said, you become president, so now you over 2000 stores as opposed to focusin' on this one, does that help Off-White grow? Maybe?

Kanye West: Hell yeah. Price of Off-White went up soon as he went to Louis Vuitton.

Charlamagne:  Okay.

Kanye West: Not the price, but the value of it. The validation of it. 'Cause Louis Vuitton- Louis Vuitton is the- you know Hermès is really the top luxury houses, when they call luxury houses, like anybody knows about luxury- anybody- Bernard will say Hermès is the top luxury house. Family owned, all that. Um.

Charlamagne:  Why do we always need validation from white people? Or rich people.

Kanye West: Because our cape got taken away when we was three years old. We're broken. We in assimilation. We want our BMW. We want our house that- we want to pay all our money for the house. We want to buy this dress for our wife. We wanna do this- we want to get our kids in school- we want- you know, we want this championship trophy, we want this jewelry. We want all these different things. Like, people- we not monks, we in the assimilation. We in it. You know what I'm sayin', I can't talk nobody outta wearin' Gucci, and you know this is me, you know, I had to come out of the other side of the hospital and have like a Russel sweatshirt on, or somethin' like that. That's me, like people be callin' me like homeless all the time, but this is my confidence where I don't wear branding like that and put words and dada, but like [inaudible] too. So, I can- but everyone, they have to have that confidence. Like, when I see branding, I see insecurity, you know, I see- and I see people buying- you know buying security, you know buying it back through a brand, you know, protection, a badge. Don't mess with me in high school I got Supreme on, you know.

Kanye West: The- just to put the agenda for a second, of Yeezy and what we're doin' out is- our mission, and what we fought for is to be able to take the best talents in the world and you know land that price point, which we haven't done yet. But that's what's interesting about this interview, like, you get to see the steps. You know, it's like when you see early Jeff Bezos. You don't think you're going to be Jeff Bezos, you know, it's just like he's standin' in front of a warehouse. But we're not interested in the concept of high fashion. You know, the concept of luxury- I'm changin' the idea of luxury. I think luxury is space. I think luxury is time- is a luxury. Friends are a luxury. Getting your vision out is a luxury. The ability to afford something is the luxury. Not to not be able to afford it. To go in and be like, "oh, I can afford this." That's the luxury.

Charlamagne:  That's- that's the Ye everybody fell in love with though, that Ye who was so human, that Ye who cared about things bigger than brands, you know. So, now he talkin' about family, now he talkin' about friends, now he talkin' about time, like- those are something we all have, those are valuables that we all possess regardless, you know, what our finances are.

Kanye West: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And that's the thing that we had to crack the code- we- the reason why we went into fashion wasn't to stay there or be there or just do, you know, cool, high price stuff. It was actually to take the incredible HSP highly sensitive people that usually end up in a fashion house and bring them to some place where they could consistently connect with the public. Yeezy eventually will be, you know, closer to like a relief company. Like, if there's a disaster, we're gonna dress, you know, we're gonna bring clothes and water, you know, the same design perspective that can sell a $300 t-shirt, we're just gonna give it. And, eventually, that's who we'll be. You'll look up, five, ten years from now and Yeezy will be the biggest service provider of apparel and one by one, every year, we're gonna take one, two, three, ten people that woulda normally ended up in a fashion house- went to Nike- woulda went other places, and we're going to Calabasas, we building factories.

Charlamagne:  That's dope.

Kanye West: You know.

Charlamagne :  That's dope. I- you know I'm sittin' here listenin' to you talkin', you know, I feel like Kanye from four year ago would have taken the job at the fashion house. I don't feel like the Kanye I'm talkin' to right now would take that job at the fashion house.

Kanye West: I am in too good of a position to take a job where I have to be away from my wife, and my son, and my daughters. That just don't make no sense. For what? Family is your most important currency. I got a cousin that lived in Florida- I flew out here. I'm tryin' to get as much family as close to me as possible. That's one of the reasons why Kim won't end up in a hospital. She got her family close.

Charlamagne:  You feel like you in a position to change things now, with your art? Like really change things?

Kanye West: I always was. You know, that's my place in the universe, I've just been distracted. I've been distracted and manipulated and I allow things that- you know, my momma made me to never be manipulated and gangstered and pimped and all that type of shit. But somehow, steppin' into the music industry it happened. You know, like the music industry is set up for you to have just enough money to afford a car, pay for your kids, a house, and be on tour for the rest of your life till you die.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Kanye West: It ain't set up for you to literally go buy and album- uh uh- island, like Phil Knight. It ain't set up for the artist to win. It's like boxing. You know, more people end up retarded than rich.

Charlamagne:  D- do you feel like when you was in debt, did that contribute to your lack of confidence?

Kanye West: Nah.

Charlamagne:  I'm glad to hear you say that. 'Cause that makes me think damn some money is what made him feel confident.

Kanye West: Nah. That's why I tweeted that, because I knew I had the power- that's why I tweeted Mark Zuckerberg and I tweeted um the debt. The reason I tweeted to Mark Zuckerberg is 'cause he wanted to meet with me. And I hung out with him a few times and I- I got respect for him. And- but when I was talking about my ideas, there was really like, not a lot of follow up to that. And I always see these um these guys will go and support a guy that's got like, one idea, that they can capitalize off of. And then you get a guys that's proven and, like, done the impossible in every single field he's ever put his mind to, and I'm like, "yo, help me get a valuation, right, for my company." And it would be people who know how to do that, and I'm hangin' with them, right, and they don't show me how to do that. And it's like, why are you keeping me misinformed. I felt like learning the valuation of just even the company and what I've built, was like a slave gettin' a social security number.

Charlamagne:  Mm.

Kanye West: It's like I got my rights. I know I'm worth this much. And everyone in Hollywood knows exactly who Ye is. Every agent, anybody they know know Ye is Ye. In the hospital, on stage, [inaudible], in debt, or with a billion dollar company. Like, the spirit is here, and the only thing that can hold me back is a lack of information.But, information is harder to find that you think. It's secret codes. Like, even when Jay-Z gave a little bit of codes on 444, there's people I know that tweeted- or were texting each other like, "He's giving codes away." He'd giving information, but it's like, "yo, this is open source."

Charlamagne:  That's the basics.

Kanye West: Yeah, I like- I like- cause Elon Musk could be like here's all my plans, but he's the only one that could pull it off. I just- you know- we worked hard on that color palette right there. I just tweeted it today. Like, yo, 'cause it's fire. I'm sure there's gonna be some people that copy it one by one, that's great. The idea's out there. Your hangin' out with people and your sayin' I want to do all these things and they're just not taking you seriously. And it keeps you in a position to be, you know, managed, in a way. So, my last and final manager way Scooter Braun, right, I've had every manager, G Roberson, uh, Jay Brown, Izzy-

Charlamagne:  Izzy. You just parted with Izzy. What was that about?

Kanye West: I just can't be managed. But what's dope about Scooter though, at the end of the day, where you really gotta give him his props is one thing is- he has a um- his parents adopted a black child. His brother's black, So this is a Jewish guy who understands business, understands all this, but also understands how to communicate, you know, on a personal level with a black person, like on a brother level. So me and Scooter would just get on the phone, and he'd talk to me for hours. And that information meant everything. He was my- let me- third person- he was Kanye West's gateway drug to business, 'cause before that it was always like you an artist, you a rapper, we love you for the music Ye, don't think about nothin', don't think about business, blah blah blah blah.

Kanye West: And I would just, you know, the thing we was talking about before, when we was just talking about Obama and Trump in the other room, we talk about trust me, like, I would just trust the manager, let them do everything, let them handle everything, let them handle, you know, let them hire a business manager and this and that, and you get a manager and manager on manager and then it becomes one big racket where it's like the tour guy is talkin' to the label guy is talkin' to the manager is talkin' to the guys that sold you the house that talks to your [inaudible].

Kanye West: And then you're just trapped, you're not in control of your life anymore, and at that point you could be easily manipulated. You know, a whole album with Paul McCartney can end up becoming a single for Rihanna because, you know, you're trapped in this box of the idea of your perception, music industry, this, that, that. So, the funny thing I was- I knew I wanted to say in this situation is like, Scooter Braun is Kanye West- Kanye West's- gateway drug to business and maybe the death of the music industry as we know it.

Charlamagne:  Really?

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  Why?

Kanye West: Because artists are businesses. We're not just artists. Artists shouldn't have managers, artists should have CEOs. That's how I feel, I didn't put no thought in that, you know, it's like, you know, so there's a lot of people that's gonna have a problem with that statement. I'm gonna say how I feel. So that means okay how many kids are going to business school right now? Wharton, Harvard. You think they like, let's take somebody like Travis Scott, alright, they probably listen to his music. Uzi, somebody like that, right. How many Uzis and Travis Scotts are there and how many business people are there? I'm gonna think it's probably less Travis Scotts and Uzis than there are business people. So when you think a Travis Scott would deserve the same amount of employees as Dropbox in its first year, so that someday he can IPO for 10 billion like my friend Drew just did with Dropbox. But with artistry and artists, what's the point where you IPO? Everyone want to talk to me about gettin' out. I'm out. This the get out. (laughs)

Charlamagne:  Yeah. (laughs) But you think that was the 360 deal though? Or is the 360 deal kind of like the label saying recognize the artist is a business now, now we want a piece of all of their business.

Kanye West: 360 deal make me think of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. It's still some old slave shit.

Charlamagne:  So all this is yours.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  300 acres. (laughs)

Kanye West: Yes, sir.

Charlamagne: And what you gonna do with it?

Kanye West: I'm gonna build five properties, so it's my first community. I'm gettin' into development. I sup- anybody whose ever been to any of my cribs knows I'm super into developin' homes. It's just the next frontier to me to develop.

Charlamagne:  So that's why you designin' boots and shit? So you can do the hiking? (laughs)

Kanye West: Yeah, see you got the Nike shoulda had the Yeezy boots, you know.

Charlamagne:  Nikes is trash for hiking.

Kanye West: (laughs)

Charlamagne:  But listen it's crazy though 'cause you- you got this whole plan, 300 acres of land, you want to build a community on it. Why does Kany- Kanye West don't need anybody. So that goes back to what we was talking about with Trump. You don't need to meet with Trump. You, you Ye. You head of state of your own shit.

Kanye West: Yeah. I feel that. You know. But. I love real change. I love, you know, challenging the norm. I love people who don't love him. I love the fact that they speakin' up and everybody's just giving their opinions.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: Everybody's expressing themselves. I lo- love that. I've been waitin- its just like I've been waitin' for this moment in time. This is just like a Ye moment in time and stuff. When people are- you know, my dad is an activist and you know, my moms activist, we was in marches and stuff. I feel like that energy all coming to a head now.

Charlamagne:  I refuse to believe that your mother would love Donald Trump.

Kanye West: Hmm. I can have a difference of opinion from my mom.

Charlamagne:  True. True. But what about when you see like- 'cause you know that there people that's watching this right now and they like, "yo, you know Donald Trump is getting our family deported," And, you know, d- like especially you right now, you got this whole economic empowerment thing going on, but you got a guy like him who's clearly tryin' to marginalize and oppress people. People that look like you. You don't want to see people like you come up. Can you still love a person like that?

Kanye West: Hmm. (silence) I don't- I don't have all the answers that a celebrity's supposed to have, but I could tell you that … when he was running it's like I felt something. It's like, the fact that he won, it's like, it proves something. It proved that anything is possible. In america. That Donald Trump could be president of America. I not talking about, you know, what he's done since he's been in office.

Charlamagne:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kanye West: But the fact that he was able to do it like- remember I said I was going to run for president?

Charlamagne:  Yeah.

Kanye West: I had people that was close to me, friends of mine like makin' jokes makin' memes, talking shit. And now it's like oh that was proven that that could have happened.

Charlamagne:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, it's- I get what you're saying-

Kanye West: I felt the nonconventional even from what we doin' in fashion. To me being the kid with the pink Polos, to me being outspoken, to me being ostracized because of the Taylor Swift thing or the George Bush thing, or, you know, who I'm datin', who I'm marryin', what I'm talking about, like, all of this is like an outsider thing, you know. So, when I see an outsider infiltrate, I connect with that.

Charlamagne: So maybe that's what you like the idea of.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  Not necessarily the idea of Donald Trump, but the idea of an outsider infiltrating.

Kanye West: Yeah. I like that it showed you that anything is possible. It shows you that- it doesn't- even like, Virgil, uh, working at Louis Vuitton, Trump being in office. It's a time for the unconventional. I'm very- I'm not a traditional thinker, I'm a non-conformist.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: So that relates to the non-conformist part of me. But I'm also- I'm a producer. I like to segway things 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 Bernie Sanders principles.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: That would be my mix, and stuff. But I think both had, you know, you know, are needed. You know, I hit the glass ceilin'. You ever see a bird fly into a window?

Charlamagne: Hell yeah.

Kanye West: They don' know it's glass. That was me. When I hit that hospital, that was a bird flyin' into the window.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: And, you know, I coulda, you know, not made it outta that. But I survived and shit, but it's um-

Charlamagne:  Are you scared of that happening again?

Kanye West: Um.

Charlamagne:  You having a breakdown or breakthrough?

Kanye West: Nah. Nah. I'm happy it happened. I'm happy to see- have- have gone to the other side and back. You know there's some things when it happened I do want to- I want to speak on. I- I want to point out the moment when you in the hospital bed and your next to your friend and you tell them, don't let this person leave my side. And they put you inside of a elevator and take all your friends away from you. That was the scariest moment of my life.

Charlamagne:  What you thought they was gonna drug you or kill you? Or-

Kanye West: I thought I was gonna get killed. And- you know my wife wasn't in town so I told my boy, Don, and my boy, [inaudible], like don't leave my side until my wife gets here. And they have this moment where … they're forced to leave your side. That's something that has to change. You know if like- if a pregnant woman is, you know, delivering a baby, guarantee, whoever the people, her sisters, the dad, they get to stay next to them …

Charlamagne:  Word.

Kanye West: … till the baby is delivered.

Charlamagne:  I'm not leaving my wife in that situation.

Kanye West: Yeah. HSP, you are paranoid of everything. You don't believe nothin', you just seein' through all of the simulation, everybody's phony, everybody's an actor. All this shit. And then they make your friends, the only people you believe in leave your side. I can't express to you, like, how traumatizing that moment is. And then you wake up drugged the fuck out.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). Did they- So they put you on medication.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  Are you still on any now?

Kanye West: Oh, most definitely.

Charlamagne:  W- Word? What they got you on?

Kanye West: I ain't gonna say.

Charlamagne:  (laughs) Does the medication help? You know- I mean, you don't want to tell us what it is, but does it help?

Kanye West: Um. It's an imperfect solution, to just calm me down. But there's a lot of ways to calm down.

Charlamagne:  I don't want a "Calm-ye."

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  What do we need a "Calm-ye" for? (laughs)

Kanye West: (laughs) Let Ye be Ye. You know, um.

Charlamagne:  Don't you think that takes a little bit of your super power away though?

Kanye West: It's power in being controlled and calm. You know, X-men really understanding how to use his power, or Superman, that's me. This is like, once the kryptonite is gone, I got the confidence, everything is possible. Building, acres, rap, stadium tours, designs, companies, ideas, [inaudible], the next generations, like everything is possible, you know, and I'm just a vessel, and that's my job in the universe, as a servant to the world, I have to be me.

Charlamagne:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kanye West: I'm not as good of a servant if I'm not Ye.

Charlamagne:  You are Ye, though.

Kanye West: Oh, most definitely. You know (laughs).

Charlamagne:  You are Ye. That's why I kept asking like- before- well, let's talk about something that I know is therapeutic for you, music.

Kanye West: Yeah.

Charlamagne:  I'm looking at all of this. This is wild, outdoors, its wilderness. Is that why you went to Wyoming?

Kanye West: Yeah. You know, for what I'm doing, and- I played you some of the music and you see where I'm going'. I want to create music that's therapeutic, you know, like, I feel real [inaudible] is in the- in the territory of what we're creatin'.

Charlamagne:  Do you feel like the lifestyle of your wife, the mother-in-law, the whole family, do you think that plays a role in how you were feelin'? Like, did it get to be too much? Cause you already a superstar, but you take that superstar element and add it and then it's just- when do you have privacy. Like, it seem like paparazzi is always around.

Kanye West: Yeah, paparazzi, it can stress you out. But it's all in the inner peace that you can find. You know?

Charlamagne:  You said-you said you don't trust people, do you trust- do you trust uh your in-laws? 'Cause it seem- you know we look at the world and seems like everything is a storyline, do you trust that they won't turn your life and what you're going through into a story line?

Kanye West: Uh. And, you know, of course I'm gonna give you a slick answer on that 'cause, I'm like …

Charlamagne: You gotta go home! (laughs)

Kanye West: I got to go home! (laughs) What you expect. But like right now, we writing part of the story, you know, just by even doing this and speaking. I- I like the way that my wife communicates and documents things. You know, as an artist I think it's good to document ourselves, document our now, see if we can recognize ourselves again in a different light- in a different life.

Charlamagne:  What would um, what would college drop out Kanye, if he was looking at pictures of Kanye now, what would he say?

Kanye West: (silence) I think he'd be happy, satisfied and he would believe it. You how people say, "oh, I wouldn't believe it." I always believed it. I always know what it is. You know this documentation right now, this is just the age 40, this is a version of the college dropout Ye. We standin' on my first property.

Charlamagne:  300 acres.

Kanye West: Yeah. So, I'm going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time, like some- what Howard Hughes was to aircraft and what Henry Ford was to cars. And, just that the relationships that I have with architects, my understanding of like space and sacred proportions, just this vibe, this new vibe, this energy, like I'm tired of the McMansions, all the Spanish roof homes and stuff like that like, that shit wack, bro. Like everybody house, wack, it's trash, bro. I don't go to- (laughs) [inaudible] like Howard Backen or something is like the- one of the few architects that I like their homes.

Charlamagne:  I was going to ask you what's next. Because Ye's always predicted what he was going to be. So that's what- that's the goal.

Kanye West: Yeah, we're going to develop cities.

Kanye West
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