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02nd May 2018

10 things we learned from the Kanye West & Charlamagne interview

Will Lavin

Straight from the horse’s mouth.

Last night the Kanye West interview everyone had been waiting on finally arrived.

Inviting Charlamagne Tha God, host of The Breakfast Club, to his new property in Calabasas, California, Yeezy opened up in an interview that saw him discuss everything from his mental breakdown (or breakthrough as he calls it) and his wife Kim Kardashian being robbed in Paris, to his departure from Nike and his support of Donald Trump.

Kanye teased the interview a little over a week ago when he tweeted:

When the tweet was sent out we didn’t really know what was happening, especially when Charlamagne himself was interviewed about it and said he didn’t know anything about what ‘Ye was talking about.

Fast forward to now and it’s the most talked about interview on the internet. Racking up over 3 million views overnight, it’s definitely hot property, but $10 million hot? That we don’t know.

Watching the interview in full, here’s a list of 10 things we learned:

Kanye was really hurt that JAY-Z and Beyoncé didn’t attend his and Kim’s wedding.

Kanye revealed that he “was hurt” that Jay-Z and Beyonce didn’t come to his 2014 wedding to Kim Kardashian. Opening up about his relationship with Jay, he said: “Respectfully, I have to say I was hurt that they didn’t come to the wedding. I understand they were going through some things, but if it’s family, you’re not gonna miss a wedding.”

Also discussing when Jay went on record to say Kanye “went too far” in talking about his family, ‘Ye replied, “It depends on how you look at it: if we’re brothers, we are family. Then it’s my family. If we’re business associates then it was too far.”

He continued: “I’m not using my interview to put out any negative things, but I’ve got to state my truth.”

His Yeezy brand is set to become a billion dollar company this year.

We’ve all heard about Kanye West’s Yeezy brand collaboration with Adidas – if you haven’t then where have you been? Following on from some tweets he sent last week, ‘Ye explained that the company just two years ago was worth $15 million and that it’s now fast approaching being worth $1 billion, it will be a unicorn company – this is finance-speak for a start-up being worth a billion dollars. He added, “It’s never been heard of.”

Kanye West is Barack Obama’s favourite artist of all-time.

While discussing the fallout between himself and Obama, where the former President went on record to call him a “jackass” and is yet to apologise, Kanye made one hell of a statement, but then would we expect anything else from him?

“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 because I am his favourite artist of all-time,” Kanye told Charlamagne. “Because I am the greatest artist of all-time.”

He owns a new 300 acre property in Calabasas, California and it’s beautiful.

The interview was conducted at Kanye’s new Calabasas home. But just when you think all you’re going to see is one room where the interview takes place ‘Ye not only takes Charlamagne to one of his design rooms he takes him on a tour of the grounds.

Telling Charlamagne he wants to build his own community on the 300 acre property, he adds, “I’m gonna be one of the biggest real estate developers of all-time, like some… what Howard Hughes was to aircrafts and what Henry Ford was to cars.”

He makes statements like these all the time and I’ve always learned never to bet against him, it’ll probably happen.

He had a “breakthrough” not a breakdown.

Addressing his 2016 hospitalisation, an incident that saw him treated for exhaustion, Kanye told Charlamagne that he prefers to call it a “breakthrough” as opposed to a breakdown.

Addressing his 2016 hospitalisation, an incident that saw him treated for exhaustion, Kanye told Charlamagne that he prefers to call it a “breakthrough” as opposed to a breakdown.

He explained that the robbery of his wife weighed on him heavily, and that if anything had happened to her he would never have forgiven himself, he also cited other reasons that may have contributed to his health problems.

“Being in competition with so many elements at one time. On a race against time, your age, you’re getting old, race against popularity on the radio. ‘Saint Pablo’ ain’t playing,” West said, then recalling a traumatising moment in an elevator when hospital staff separated him from his friends, whom he’d asked to stay present.

“When you’re in the hospital bed and you’re next to your friend and you tell them, ‘Don’t let this person leave my side’ and they put you inside an elevator and take all your friends away from you, that was the scariest moment of my life,” he said. “That’s something that has to change.”

He doesn’t really talk about Donald Trump as much as you’d expect, in fact he dances around the subject often.

Of course he talks about Trump, it wasn’t as if Charlamagne was going to let him get away with not talking about Agent Orange. But he doesn’t talk about Trump or his relationship with him as much as you’d expect, especially since it’s all people have been talking about regarding Kanye as of late and the interview was almost two hours long.

Dancing around the subject often, he does however discuss the first meeting with Trump, the one that resulted in the viral picture of the two outside of Trump Tower:

“That was almost like a Clayton Bigsby moment – when everybody’s head exploded,” he said referring to a popular Dave Chappelle comedy sketch. Going on to imagine his fans saying “this dude has to diss Trump at all points, at all costs,” because of his past comments like “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Friends, he said, asked him, “What makes George Bush any more racist than Trump?” His response: “Well, racism isn’t the deal breaker for me. If that was the case, I wouldn’t live in America.”

Touching upon the murder rate in his home city of Chicago, later in the interview he admits to meeting Trump because he “wanted to do something, to change something…I would meet with him today and I would talk about Chicago.”

Once Kanye discovered Harriet Tubman would be put on a $20 bill he chose to use Bitcoin instead.

It was announced in 2016, during the Obama administration, that Harriet Tubman would feature on the new $20 bill, but according to Kanye, he’d rather have Michael Jordan on the $20 bill than the American abolitionist and political activist.

“That was the moment when I wanted to use Bitcoin, when I saw Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill,” he explained. “It’s like when you see all the slave movies, it’s like why you gotta keep reminding us about slavery. Why don’t you put Michael Jordan on the $20 bill?”

As it turns out the rollout on the new $20 bill has been put on hold by the Trump administration so Kanye doesn’t need to worry about seeing her face on the bill anytime soon.

He wants to take the stigma out of the word ‘crazy’.

Discussing mental health and his own mental state following his “breakthrough”, Kanye told Charlamagne that he was in “a stronger place” than ever before.

Recovering through talking with family and friends at length, as well as admitting to being on some form of medication (he wouldn’t specify which) to help calm him down, there were a number of factors that he said contributed to his breakdown, including stress, feeling like he was being manipulated, competing with other artists, and more.

Kanye said it’s important to him that stigma around mental health and the word ‘crazy’ be eliminated.

“And then they’ll take something I say that’s absolutely inspired, but if they put it… something inspired in the wrong context will come off as…” trailing off he finds his train of thought again and added, “I don’t want to say crazy because I also want to change the stigma of crazy. I want to change the stigma of mental health.

“But lets just say for now people will take something enlightened, put it in a different context, and call it crazy to try to diminish the impact and the value of what I’m actually saying.”

It’s dismissive to call someone crazy, like Dave Chappelle once famously said, and this is essentially what Kanye is alluding to at this point of the interview.

Family is the most important currency to Kanye West.

“Family is your most important currency,” he admitted to Charlamagne. “That’s one of the reasons why Kim won’t end up in a hospital. She got her family close.”

Acknowledging new priorities in his life, Kanye goes on record to say that his family really does come first. This might not appear weird to most as it’s usually the first thing anyone says when asked what the most important thing in their lives is, but we’ve never really heard Kanye be this vocal about it.

Answering a question on whether or not he would take a high-profile job in fashion away from home, he replied: “I am in too good 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?

“I got a cousin that lived in Florida, I flew [them] out here and I’m trying to get as much family close to me as possible.”

Kanye apologises to Nike CEO Mark Parker and acknowledges the influence he had on his career.

Speaking at length about footwear and, somewhat surprisingly, his past relationship with Nike, Kanye made it a point during the interview to apologise to Nike’s CEO, Mark Parker, and acknowledge the influence he had on his career to the point his Adidas Yeezy is one of the most sought after shoes in the game.

“I have respect for everyone at Nike, too,” he began. “These guys, Mark Parker – I just need to speak out as a parent and apologise to this man for ever speaking ill on his name and his company, because he gave me that shot when we did the original Yeezy at Nike.”

However, it wouldn’t be a true Kanye West interview without a little shade being thrown. Adding that he could never get Parker on the phone, unlike Adidas’ CEO Kasper Rørsted, he said: “I made the decision and I left [Nike] and I went with someone who allowed me to build something. I can call the CEO of Adidas directly, I have his cell phone. Mark Parker wouldn’t get on the phone with me. They’d say things like, ‘I don’t know why people like the Yeezys.’”