Kanye West had a lot to say when in his lengthy interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God.
The rapper opened up about his mental health, family, art, his beef with Jay-Z and his complicated relationship with former President Barack Obama.
The nearly two-hour interview released Tuesday but according to a tweet from Charlamagne Tha God, their conversation was recorded on April 18, a few days after West resurfaced on Twitter to share a series of tweets that have prompted fans and critics to question his mental wellness.
West wants an apology from President Barack Obama
West said he wants an apology from Obama, who called him a “jacka**” in 2009 for interrupting Taylor Swift’s speech at the MTV Video Music Awards.
“Sometimes a conversation can help show respect for a situation,” West said. “‘I’m the leader of the free world, Ye, I’m sorry for calling you a jacka**. I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate your Gemini, your Tupacness. I appreciate that someone is going to do it, but I’m president and I can’t do it.’”
West on his 2016 “breakthrough”
West addressed his 2016 hospitalization, an incident he prefers to call a “breakthrough” rather than a “breakdown.” A source at the time told CNN that West was treated for exhaustion. West said his wife Kim Kardashian-West’s robbery in 2016 weighed on him heavily. 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, referring to his hospitalization. West added that he’s “happy it happened,” but recalled a “traumatizing” moment 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.”
“Ever since the Taylor Swift moment, it’s never been the same”
West said he thinks his beef with Taylor Swift is the reason his songs don’t get much airtime on the radio. After the infamous VMA interruption in 2009, West and Swift had another dispute in 2016 over whether she approved lyrics West wrote in his song “Famous,” in which he said, “Me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that b**** famous.”
“Every since the Taylor Swift moment, it’s never been the same,” he said. “The connection with radio. It’s like whatever powers that be it was much harder after that.”
West also discussed what he believes is Obama’s failure to reduce violence in their shared hometown of Chicago, but acknowledged the president’s job is difficult.
“I might be president one day,” West said midway through the interview. “I might be in that situation where it’s harder for me to explain to the masses why something isn’t happening that they feel the concept of a president should be able to fix.”
West’s preferred method for therapy
West said he is on medication, but he is not talking to a professional therapist.
“I use the world as my therapy,” he said. “Anyone I talk to is my therapist. I will pull them into the conversation of what I’m feeling at that point and get their perspective … I’ll talk through things, anybody that I’m around and I put that as advice to people, use people around you as your therapist because they probably know more about you.”
He didn’t specify what medication he is uses, but he did say “it’s an imperfect solution. It helps calm me down … there’s power in being controlled and calm.”
He hasn’t seen Jay-Z, but they’re “good”
West talked about why he Jay-Z have apparently drifted apart over the years. West said although they haven’t seen each other recently, they do keep in touch.
“We good. We’re texting each other as positive energy,” he said. “I haven’t seen him, but I can feel him.”
He admitted that he was “hurt” that Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé did not attend his 2014 wedding to Kardashian.
“You know, I gotta say I was hurt about them not coming to the wedding,” he said. “I understand they were going through some things. If it’s family then you know you’re not going to miss a wedding. I’m not using this interview to put any negative thing [out], but I have to state my truth.”