In a wide-ranging two-and-a-half hour conversation that Revolt TV’s “Drink Champs” billed as its “biggest interview ever,” Kanye West defended aligning himself with Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, knocked Big Sean and John Legend for being “used” by Democrats for “sellout shit,” affirmed that Kim Kardashian West is “still my wife,” spoke out against abortion and cancel culture, and discussed Drake in both admiring and dismissive terms, among many other topics.
It wasn’t revealed exactly when the interview with hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN took place. But it may have been some time ago, based on one of West’s targets in the interview, Big Sean, tweeting photos of himself hanging out with West and saying he “was just wit this man, he ain’t say none of that!!! And this was after the interview! I’m dying laughing at you, @kanyewest.”
West frequently pointed out during the interview that he knew it would raise controversy, as in a portion of the chat where he said that Black History Month should be abolished, because being historically minded focuses on the subjugations of the past, when there should be a Black Future Month.
Subjects ranged from the mundane (“I love Drake. (Sir) Lucian (Grainge), how you like that one?”) to the sublime (“Collectively, we are God,” West said, adding some new wrinkles to his Christian theology). “I’m gonna take myself public and create a universal basic income… a basic universal wealth,” he promised.
West said he had invited Marilyn Manson, who is facing four lawsuits for sexual assault, to his Sunday Service worship, and defended having given the rocker and DaBaby, still under fire for homophobic comments, to perform alongside him and appear on his latest album, “Donda.”
“All the ‘Me Too’… like, when I sit next to Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, right after both of them got canceled, for five songs, you know, it’s like they can’t cancel a song,” he said. “They’ll hit you with the accusations or somebody who you was with 10 years ago. And also, there’s women who’ve been through very serious things, pulled in alleys against their will; that’s different than a hug, but it’s classified as the same thing. It’s power and politics. You know, power-hungry maniacs and just control. This is ‘1984’ mind-control we’re in.”
West suggested that he hasn’t given up on his marriage, despite the apparent finality. “She’s still my wife,” he said, as long as there’s “no paperwork” to seal his divorce from Kardashian West.
Although not much of the talk was political, and there were few mentions of West’s presidential bid last fall, West made it clear where he stands. “I still got a red hat on today,” he said. Although that wasn’t literal, he said, “I might not got it on, but I’ll let y’all know where I stand.”
Political differences figured into what he described as a sense of disappointment with Big Sean and John Legend, both formerly signed to his G.O.O.D. label. Both artists, he said, “got used quick by the Democrats to come at the boy who actually changed their life. And that’s some sellout shit…. And I don’t rock with neither of them and I need my apologies.”
West elaborated on his feelings about Big Sean in a closing quick-fire round, with one of the questions asking him to state his preference between Pusha, who is still on West’s label, and Big Sean, who departed.
“Oh, I love this! Let me tell you. I already decided that when I die, on my tombstone it’s gonna stay, ‘I deserve to be here because I signed Big Sean’,” Ye said. When one of the hosts murmured a seeming approval. West continued, “No, I’m saying that the worst thing I’ve ever done is sign Big Sean.”
Before those comments went public, Big Sean went on Twitter to say, “I just got asked to be on the next Drink Champs so I’m assuming Ye talking crazy.”
Asked whether he’d ever go on Verzuz, West went into joking hyperbole mode, saying, “Absolutely, but I would need about like four people to go against me at one time.” Specifically: “It would be Drake, right?” asked Ye as to who most people want him to battle against during a Verzuz. “Hov? I didn’t think about that. I wouldn’t go against Jay, though. He’s my boss…. Drake? I’m winning every situation.”
Ye also offered the idea of him doing a month worth of Verzuz where he would battle artists in categories such as producers, songwriter and rappers. He even suggested that he could even go against himself, album Verzuz album, name change Verzuz name change. “Nothing could go against ‘Dark, Twisted Fantasy’ though,” he said, referring to “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” from 2010.
He further comparing his rivalry with Drake to a sports rivalry. “You know what? I bit his ear,” he said, alluding to Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ears in a 1997 boxing match.
West went into more detail on Drake. “Drake don’t do an outright diss song… He’s going to set it up like war,” he said. “He’s gonna do stuff like live five blocks down ,,, from you. He’s gonna go and DM every single girl in your family, every single girl around your family, all your [N-words’] girls.” He talked about confronting Drake in a group text that included Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Jay-Z, Travis Scott and others. “One of the lines I said that was legend was, ‘I’m worth more than all of y’all on this text combined’… I had this conversation with Drake that’s like, ‘I never fucked Kim,’ but I was like, ‘But you acted like you did.'” He said he texted Drake, “Did you ever DM her? you know, because it ain’t about just the actual act of it.”
Ultimately, though, Ye said that Drake is an artist who has added greatly to the culture, whose music is possessed of great sophisticated melody, and that he and Drake are on the same team. “We could become the first civilization to become civil.”
Introduced as a “super hero,” a “super genius,” a “fashion icon” and a “visionary,” Ye disagreed with none of those superlatives while announcing he would be “shamelessly name-dropping” celebrity friends such as Ralph Lauren, Steven Spielberg, Hilary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey, all in one eight-word sentence.
Ye started the conversation by tearing down conventional housing and class structures. “I’m not into the class system. That’s one of the main things they use to control us. My whole existence is not about being out of control, but rather, out of their control. Being in control of yourself…. My home is where my daughter FaceTimes me.”
When talking about fellow fashion designers and technology giants, Kanye was quick to call them his contemporaries in the field. “Arnaud is my peer. Balenciaga is my peer. Steve Jobs. Jeff Bezos. These are my peers.” He also discussed his role working for the Gap and his Yeezy X Gap line.
“Ego and anger, they hang out,” he said. “They definitely blood. I wrote this song for the ‘Donda’ album that’s going to wind up on the deluxe (edition).” Ye trailed off, then went on to rap the lyrics to a track called “If I Let Go,” where he performs his own AutoTune fade with the word “Mondrian.. drian… drian.”
”If you ahead long enough you become the head. Lauryn (Hill)’s gonna be mad at me for saying this, but I remember telling her that I was the leader. She was like ‘You a leader. You’re not the leader.”
When asked about why he jumped up onstage during Taylor Swift’s victory over Beyonce during the 2009 VMAs, and if it was liquor was a motivator, he answered, “Well, I was showing both of my addictions.”
When the subject of “the phobia” of mental health came up, Ye mentioned getting a weird haircut, calling the cut a “Britney… which now could be called a ‘Ye,’” and saying that any “declaration of insanity is a form of censorship and control.”
“The most influential rapper today is Future,” said Ye, also giving credit to Chief Keef and Soldja Boy for being voices to listen for. “Drake added something to the algorithm,” due to his level of sophistication, which was different than the Nas and Rakim that Ye grew up with.
Talking about Kim Kardashian West, Ye claimed that she’s “still my wife. There ain’t no paperwork” to show otherwise. Ye also went on to praise Kardashian West as being influential for changing the face of beauty. “White girls in school used to talk down to her for having an ass. Now those same white girls go and get an ass now.”
Ye took a poke at record labels for their brand of enslavement, while talking up Black excellence and self-empowerment. “We’re not just colors in a crayon box… We are kings… But we farm land that isn’t our own: record labels, the NBA, Hollywood.”
Eventually, the “Drink Champs” team played a comparative drinking game with Ye where they threw out rapper names, watched Ye react, and threw back shots.
Common or Talib? “My opinion? Definitely Common…. The only thing I don’t like about Common is that he works for the Democrats and does what they tell him.”
Producers Timbaland or Pharrell? “Timbaland.”
Scarface or Ice Cube? “I like Ice Cube to play, but I like Scarface for his influence… for adding to the flow.”