S5 E44 | Ye (Part 1)
The often outspoken and controversial Chicago native first arrived on the scene as a producer signed to Roc-A-Fella records in the early 2000s. At the label, he helped develop the team’s signature sped-up soul sound and contributed to many landmark albums including JAY-Z’s Blueprint, Freeway’s Philadelphia Freeway and Cam’ron’s Come Home With Me.
Though he gleaned tremendous success behind the boards, he ultimately aspired to be an emcee. His dreams finally came true in 2004 when he released his debut album, The College Dropout. As his rap career ascended, he also became one of the most sought-out producers during this era, as many artists clamored to achieve his sound. As the years went by, West continued to drop highly successful albums including Late Registration, Graduation, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and he became one of the world’s best-selling music artists.
Aside from music, West also became a global fashion icon and set a bevy of trends throughout the early aughts. Just as he once aspired to be an emcee, he also dreamed to take over the fashion industry and eventually inked collaborations with high fashion brands like Louis Vuitton. But despite his achievements, he often lamented about the racial barriers he encountered along the way. He flipped the script in 2015 and launched his own fashion label called Yeezy Season and dropped his Adidas Yeezy Boost sneakers, which later became one of the most popular sneaker brands across the globe.
As if becoming a music and fashion icon wasn’t enough, he caused a stir when he ran for U.S. president during the 2020 election. After voicing his support For former President Donald Trump during the 2016 election, he set out to claim the seat for himself and received 60,000 votes in the 12 states where he was placed on the ballot. Though he ultimately conceded, he hinted on Twitter that his political career could be revived again during the 2024 election.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Kanye West interview. Take a look at them below.
1. On His Beef With Drake
West’s beef with Drake is well documented. The two have traded disses on wax against each other over the years, despite their frequent collaborations. On “Drink Champs,” West discussed his friction with Drake and also discussed how strategic the Canadian artist is while at war.
“Drake don’t do an outright diss song where it’s like a headshot,” he said. “He’s gonna set it up like war. When people went to get Hitler, they didn’t go straight for [him]. They set up fake tanks. He gotta do stuff like live five blocks down the street from you. DM every single girl in your family.”
N.O.R.E. also asked West what his predicated outcome would be if he ever went up against Drake in a Verzuz battle. “I’m winning every situation,” he said. “I need to have a month-long [battle] with different categories and different styles.”
2. On His Collaboration With Gap
In 2020, West inked a 10-year deal with GAP and the first pieces from the collaboration rolled out earlier this year. While the partnership proved to be successful, the rapper revealed that he received criticism from people around him who questioned why he didn’t aim to strike a deal with a luxury brand like his peer Virgil Abloh. He explained that he always wanted to create clothing that the masses could afford. “People was like, ‘Virgil went to Louis, you went to the GAP?’” He said. “I said I always wanted to create egalitarian [products]. For me, esteem and clothing are connected.”
3. On His Infamous MTV VMA Moment
Over a decade ago, West made headlines when he notoriously interrupted Taylor Swift during her speech for “Best Video by a Female Artist” at the MTV Video Music Awards. When Swift won the award, West stormed the stage and snatched the mic from her, and told the crowd that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” which was up against Swift’s in the category, was one of the best videos of all time. He reflected on the infamous moment with N.O.R.E. and EFN, and said that he stormed the stage because he believes that exceptional art should be advocated for. “I was actually talked into going to the award show,” he said. “That night, I was like I’m not going and I’m not sitting through this anymore. Now you got ‘Single Ladies,’ this is one of the best videos in history. It’s not it’s just for her. When an artist does something that compelling and incredible, we got to respect it.”
4. On Being The Leader of the Culture
Since his debut, West has always been a leader and trendsetter in many categories including music and fashion. He explained that his love for fashion and staying ahead of the curve came when he was a kid. After witnessing how people dressed in his father’s neighborhood in Takoma Park, Maryland, he said he brought the same styles back to his hometown. “I came back to Chicago with the new style and ever since then, I always liked that feeling of being ahead of niggas,” he said. “If you ahead long enough, you become the head.”
5. On His Savage Group Chat Message
Drake released his long-anticipated album Certified Lover Boy in September, and the project featured the track “7AM on Bridle Path,” which many presumed to be a diss against West. The album also featured appearances from many of the Chicago rapper’s close friends and cohorts like JAY-Z, Travis Scott, and Kid Cudi. West explained that once he found out that his close peers collaborated with Drake during the heat of their beef, he confronted those involved with a group chat message that also included other people in his circle. “I put everybody on a group text,” he said. “It was JAY-Z, Kim Kardashian, Kid Cudi, Pusha [T], Drake, and Travis [Scott]. I was like I’m worth more than all of y’all on this text combined. But as soon as I start dropping bars, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, he’s having an episode, oh my God, he needs to go to the hospital.’”
6. On Talib Kweli
In 2016, West controversially voiced his support for Donald Trump during the former U.S. president’s campaign trail. At the time, Talib Kweli, who frequently collaborated with West in the past, tweeted that West should abandon Trump and “come home.” On “Drink Champs,” West explained that he took offense to the tweet. “If I was like you, I’d be where you at,” he said. “Now, if you take the average 99% of people and ask them, do you want to be Kweli or do you want to be Ye? Most people are going to want to be Ye. So…don’t give me no advice. Go open a book and read yourself to death.”
7. On Big Sean and John Legend
Both John Legend and Big Sean were signed to West’s GOOD Music label and the latter announced his departure from the label last week. West explained to N.O.R.E. and EFN that he felt betrayed during his presidential campaign because his former cohorts opted to side with the Democrats during the election instead of supporting him. “The worst thing I’ve ever done was sign Big Sean,” he said. “I know this man momma, bro. I’ve changed this man family. And both John Legend and Big Sean, when I ran for office got used quick by the Democrats to come at they boy that actually changed they life. And that’s some sellout shit. And I don’t rock with neither of them.”
8. On Making Universal Wealth
West is a billionaire and now, he has his eyes set on spreading his wealth. He explained that he ultimately wants to become a publicly traded entity and create a universal basic income. “I have the biggest brand on the planet with Yeezy and Donda,” he said. “We have the biggest brand. We moved the Gap stock by $2 billion in like an hour when you put my name next to it. I’m going to take myself public and create a universal basic income and go public for a trillion. And make universal wealth.”
9. On Fighting for Black Ownership
At the end of the interview, the topic of Black ownership was discussed, and West explained that he’s fighting for Black people to own more like Michael Jackson and Prince did in the past. He added that he ultimately wants us to be on the same playing field as business magnate Elon Musk and LVMH founder Bernard Arnault. “[Michael Jackson and Prince] were fighting the same fight, but they were fighting for there to be more Michael Jacksons and more Princes,” West said. “What I’m fighting for is there to be Elons of us, for there to be a [Black] Bernard Arnault. Because until we’re at that level, we’re just going to be clapping for getting a job. When Lebron wins a championship, he looks at this white lady and says, ‘I told you I was going to win for you.’ That’s the part I don’t like. Because if you a king, let’s be kings.”