Kanye West opened up about his recent slavery comments, President Trump, mental health, his new music and more in a long interview with The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica published Monday morning. The interview, which was conducted in the days around West’s extravagant album-release party in Wyoming late last month, found West expressing many of the same viewpoints as in his controversial recent interviews but in a calmer context; Caramanica describes him as “calm, measured, verging on beatific, and also self-aware and willing to reckon with the challenges he’d created for himself.”
While West says he’s been learning to cope with his recently diagnosed bipolar disorder — he speaks of “learning how to not be on meds” and adds, “I took one pill in the last seven days” — at one point during the interview he stops at a Wyoming clothing and purchases a “mountain” of winter clothing that fills 13 trash bags (excessive spending is a common symptom of bipolar disorder).
Regarding his affection for the president, West speaks of a sort of underground network of support within the celebrity community.
“There were people who said Trump would never win,” he said. “I’m talking about the it-will-never-happens of the world, people in high school told you things would never happen. I felt that I knew people who voted for Trump that were celebrities that were scared to say that they liked him. But they told me, and I liked him, and I’m not scared to say what I like.”
He also spoke of feeling that supporting a liberal viewpoint was forced upon him. “Man, I had my [expletive] [expletive] castrated: ‘You have to like Hillary. That’s got to be your choice,’” he said. “Because you’re black, because you make very sensitive music, because you’re a very sensitive soul, it was like an arranged marriage or something.”
However, he also acknowledged that his support for the president does not extend to all of Trump’s policies, mentioning that when his father came to visit earlier this year, “He expressed that he felt that some of the policies were hurtful and that I’m a person that does not intend to hurt people, never hurts people with intention. I expressed the example that I have a cousin that’s locked up for doing something bad, and I still love him, so I don’t base my love for a person on if they doing something good or bad.
“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,” he continued. When asked if he always likes what he hears Trump saying, he said, “No, I don’t agree with all of his policies.”
West also attempted to clarify his comment to TMZ in which he said slavery was a “choice.”
“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,” he said. “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,” suggesting that his statements are like his recent records, subject to constant revision, never completely finished.
“I think an extreme thing; I adjust it, I adjust it, I adjust it,” he explained. “That’s the way I get to it, but I have to push to, you know, the furthest concept possible… It’s literally like I feel like I’m in court having to justify a robbery that I didn’t actually commit, where I’m having to somehow reframe something that I never said. I feel stupid to have to say out loud that I know that being put on the boat was — but also I’m not backing down, bro. What I will do is I’ll take responsibility for the fact that I allowed my voice to be used back to back in ways that were not protective of it when my voice means too much.”
Read the full interview here.