Kanye West made headlines for a reported "backstage meltdown" before his Saturday Night Live performance back in February, but news of a much more lighthearted moment with Jonah Hill and Dev Hynes right before heading on stage has surfaced. Sitting down with Eric and Jeff Rosenthal on the latest A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal podcast episode, New York Magazine writer-at-large Rembert Browne told the wild story of how he ended up in a group hug with the three diverse stars.
After finessing his way backstage with Hynes right before Kanye's "Ultralight Beam" performance with Chance The Rapper, Browne says, "We get stopped in this really thin hallway [...] All of a sudden, Kanye West is walking towards us, wearing his pearl bedazzled jacket [...] He looks at Jonah and goes, 'Jonah Hill in the mother fuckin' house' and daps up Jonah Hill. They are just vibing out."
"We had heard that he was upset," Browne continued, providing some insight into the rumored backstage meltdown. "Something was wrong with one of the mics during the first performance and apparently he left SNL. He left the building and Lorne [Michaels] had to go get him. Apparently in this break there might have been a decent amount of Hennessy that went into his system that might provide some clues [to what happened later]."
After having what Browne describes as "a straight up 90 second moment with Jonah Hill that Jonah was very tickled by," Kanye briefly caught up with Hynes and complemented Browne on his jacket. "Then he kept going and we're all just shaking on the wall," Browne says. "He keeps walking. Then he stops and turns around and looks at all of us on the wall and goes 'group hug.' [...] He holds it like five or six seconds longer than any group hug should ever last and it was great."
"I'm like, I don't know what's going on. I don't know where I am. This is the weirdest thing that's ever happened to me," Browne continues. "Then he finally releases, keeps walking, and turns around one final time and addresses everyone. He goes, 'This moment was brought to you by Hennessy' and walks directly on stage and does 'Ultralight Beam.'"
So, apparently Kanye West has taken his "my life is dope and I do dope shit" sentiments to heart from his first television appearance at Chappelle's Show back in 2003. Listen to the story in its entirety (beginning at the 19:20 mark) and revisit Kanye and Jonah's legendary Connect 4 game below.