Kanye West stands by his slavery comments, says Trump stirs up a 'child-like delight' in him
In a recent interview, Kanye West also discussed the Pusha & Drake beef, his method of coping with bipolar disorder and how he felt forced to vote for Hillary Clinton
Ever since Kanye made his explosive comeback with his real-time philosophy book on Twitter sometime in April this year, the self-proclaimed 'greatest artist of all time' has, yet again, been stirring up a world of controversy. First, it was his outright support of Donald Trump, being spotted several times sporting a red 'MAGA' hat, much to the dismay of his fans, who were obviously not the best audience one would peg for a Trump-supporting demographic.
Kanye's antics forced Kim Kardashian to announce that her husband 'does not agree with all of President Trump’s policies'. Things started going south in May after his sprawling interview with Charlamagne Tha God and got worse when Kanye went ahead with a TMZ interview on the same day.
During the interview, Kanye went on to say that '400 years of slavery sounded like a choice', raising eyebrows across the world and putting himself on the verge of 'cancel culture'. Now, in a recent interview with Jon Caramonica for The New York Times, Kanye has come forward to defend his stance on Trump as well as explain what he actually meant during the TMZ interview.
It's an interview that is the result of Caramonica spending two days with Kanye at his Wyoming retreat - one that sees a reserved, pragmatic side of the hip-hop sensation that we don't usually get to see.
When he was asked about his comments on slavery from the TMZ interview, Kanye was far from apologetic about it. Instead, he maintained that he was misunderstood, emphasizing his use of the words and his thought process during the TMZ interview, instead of the actual content of his statement. He even went as far as calling the interview "awesome," saying he learned a lot from the experience.
“I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds — sounds — like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself — like being shackled in chains — was a choice,” Kanye said in the interview. “That’s why I went from slave to 400 years to mental prison to this and that. If you look at the clip, you see the way my mind works.”
Kanye also continued to uphold his similarity to Nat Turner, the enslaved leader of the 1831 slave rebellion: "I learned so much. I learned about the context of the idea of the word slave. I didn’t take it in that context," Kanye said. "I think that my personality and energy mirrors Nat Turner, or it had in the past, but that showed me that also that Nat Turner approach would land me in the same place Nat Turner landed, and that I would be legendary but also just a martyr. But I guess we’re all martyrs eventually, and we’re all guaranteed to die."
Kanye also went on to defend his stance on Donald Trump and his vocal support of the president, something that has polarized a large part of his audience. In the New York Times interview, Kanye revealed that he is still a fan of Trump, although he doesn't agree with all of his policies. Why exactly? The 'Life of Pablo' rapper chalks it up to the controversial president's ability to stir up a "child-like delight" within him.
"Having a political opinion that’s overly informed, it’s like knowing how to dress, as opposed to being a child — “I like this. I hear Trump talk and I’m like, I like the way it sounds, knowing that there’s people who like me that don’t like the way it sounds," Kanye said.
The multi-Grammy-winner also spoke about the pressure of the expectation to vote for Hillary Clinton from his family, friends and fans and, in typical Kanye style, used a reference from the 2017 social-horror film 'Get Out' to drive the point home. "Man, I had my [expletive] [expletive] castrated: 'You have to like Hillary. That’s got to be your choice,'" the rapper said.
“I was living inside of some universe that was created by the mob-thought, and I had lost who I was, so that’s when I was in the sunken place.”
For the uninitiated and those who haven't watched 'Get Out', the 'sunken place', is a brainwashing technique in the film that leaves a person immune to injustice and racial oppression. Basically the exact opposite of 'being woke'.
The interview comes right after Kanye's string of five back to back albums that he dropped over as many weeks through his G.O.O.D. Music label, including his very own chart-busting eight studio album 'ye'.
The album sees Kanye at a raw and confessional mood. As we pointed out earlier, the album art is a picture of the Wyoming mountains shot via his iPhone with the words "I hate being bi-polar. Its awesome" scribbled across it. It's a theme he discusses in the highly-trim 23-minute 7-track effort, along with other themes like his fatherhood and the impact of his contentious outbursts on his marriage, all of which were also touched upon by Kanye in the insightfully long interview.
Kanye spoke about how Kim hired celebrity life coach Tony Robbins to help Kanye out with his struggles or, in Kanye's own words: "stage something like an intervention" after his public meltdown during a concert in 2016. “He could look at me and, you know, I don’t know why he mentioned suicide, but he could tell that I was very low,” West said recounting his experience with Robbins.
“Really medicated, shoulders slumped down, and my confidence was gone, which is a lot of the root of my superpower, because if you truly have self-confidence, no one can say anything to you.”
Robbins then reportedly encouraged West to assume a warrior's pose and scream loudly in his own home, something Kanye found surprisingly challenging: “I think that that’s such a metaphor of something for the existence of so-called well-off people that they’re not really well-off — they won’t even scream in their own house.”
Kanye also detailed his recovery process and how he's been trying to stay off medication in recent times. “I took one pill in the last seven days,” Kanye admits. When Caramonica asked Kanye how he managed the change, Kanye says: "Getting out, learning how to not be highly medicated and, you know, just standing up saying I know I could lose a lot of things, but just standing up and saying what you feel, and not even doing a lot of research on it."
Elsewhere in the interview, Kanye discussed his relationship with his mentee Virgil Alboh - who is now the new artistic director of men's wear at Louis Vuitton - in a particularly surreal scene as he spoke to Alboh on the phone while buying heaps of clothes from a second-hand clothing store in Idaho.
He also chimed in on Drake's beef with Pusha-T and his role in bringing the ugliness to an end. At one point, he also discussed his comments about his marriage in the TMZ interview and the very real fear of losing Kim.
“There was a moment where I felt like, after TMZ, maybe a week after that, I felt like the energy levels were low, and I called different family members and was asking, you know, ‘Was Kim thinking about leaving me after TMZ?’” he said. “So that was a real conversation.”
You can read the New York Times interview in its entirety here.