After teasing it on Twitter for over a week, Kanye West's sit-down with Charlamagne is here. The interview took place on April 18, before Kanye's most recent tweets about Donald Trump and his MAGA hat, so the conversation didn't cover those topics. But the two did get a chance to discuss family, therapy, fashion, politics, controversy, and more.
Speaking on his current health and well-being after a 2016 hospitalization, Kanye says, "I think I'm in a stronger place than I ever was, after the breakdown or as I like to say, the breakthrough." He explains that the hospitalization was caused by a combination of "fear, stress, control, being controlled, [and] manipulation, like being a pawn in a chess piece of life."
"I just wanted to say like there was elements about going to the hospital and having a breakdown or a breakthrough that was fire," he notes at the nine minute mark. "It was incredible, the feeling." Speaking on the negative perceptions of mental health issues and the words used to describe them, he adds, "I wanna change the stigma of crazy and I wanna change the stigma of mental health, period. Best believe I'm gonna take the stigma off the word crazy. People will take something that's enlightened, put it in a different context, and then call it crazy to try to diminish the impact and the value of what I'm actually saying."
Kanye took a moment to talk about his relationship with Obama and feeling upset when the former president called him a jackass and never invited him to the White House. "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 favorite artist of all time, because I am the greatest artist of all time," he says. "He never called me to apologize. The same person who sat down with me and my mom, I think should have communicated with me directly and been like, 'Yo, Ye, I was in the room and it was just a joke.'" Kanye adds, "I just think that we were in a period where he had so much stuff to deal with, he couldn’t deal with a wild card like me. I think that’s too unpredictable. Someone that wasn’t being controlled by strategy and thoughts, but someone who’s acting on feelings."
At the 57:00 mark, addressing Obama directly, Kanye says, "You know I'm your favorite, but I'm not safe. But that's why you love me. So just tell me you love me, and tell the world you love me. Don't tell the world I'm a jackass. I'm fighting hard enough."
Discussing his 2017 meeting with Trump at the Trump Tower, Kanye tells Charlamagne, "I'm not going to let myself off easy by saying I met with Trump because I was going through something. I ain't going to give the universe that. I'm going to face it and they're going to face me. This was the Ye that wanted to change something, and I would meet with him today, and I would talk about Chicago first."
Touching on the controversy that surrounds many of the things he says, Kanye explains, "There will be mistakes, there will be flaws in the way I communicate. Because 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 trying to say exactly what I feel out of love."
As for his current relationship with Jay Z: "I haven't seen him, but I can feel him."
In line with his philosophical musings on Twitter lately, the conversation is full of several quintessential Kanye moments, like: "It's all about streams. Everything's a stream. That's why that's an amazing word. That's an amazing, modern, and futuristic word. Streams. Streams of consciousness, streaming music, everything is just a stream." Earlier, he says: "Do what you feel. That's what I'm big on. Stop strategizing so much. Stop setting so many plays. Stop doing things only based in fear. The universe will assist you when you're acting in love."
After the interview was filmed, Kanye tweeted one update that he wanted to add to the conversation: "I said I was the greatest artist but we're all great artists."
Before the Charlamagne interview was released, Kanye also shared a behind-the-scenes video of his new song "Ye vs. the People." During a conversation with T.I., he brings up the MAGA hat and says, "I did not wear that hat to hurt them. Half the shit Trump does, I don't agree with." In response, T.I. asks what he does agree with Trump about and Kanye replies, "Just the ability to do what no one said you can do, to do the impossible." You can watch that video on his website here.