Kanye West’s life is like a movie and he’s his own director. If he doesn’t like something in a scene, he flips the script.
For better or worse, that’s kind of what happened on Thursday night, when he jumped onstage — unannounced — at the MTV Europe Music Video Awards in Denmark, launching into a profanity-laden dialogue expressing his unhappiness over losing the Best Video award to Justice vs. Simian’s “We Are Your Friends” (see “Kanye Admits To Having Had A ‘Sippy Sippy’ (Or Two) Before EMA Rant” ).
“People were cursing throughout the whole night,” ‘Ye told MTV News on Monday, via phone from Australia (where he’s on tour with U2). “It was encouraged. I know how to use proper English. I was more offended that the press had the audacity to think I wouldn’t know when to curse.”
He sat in his second-row seat next to Diddy and let things marinate for a few seconds — and fast as presenter Timbaland could say “And the winner is …,” ‘Ye was onstage giving his two cents.
“People were so surprised at what I did,” West said. “I’m more surprised people thought I had changed.”
On Friday, Kanye had also called MTV News to tell his side of the story. He said his jumping onstage was not a publicity stunt — he noted that his next album won’t be out until late next year and he has nothing to promote right now — and that although people took his words onstage during the awards show as a dis, he feels no malice toward Justice or Simian (two different groups: the song is Justice’s remix of a 2002 Simian song) and that he even made friends and did interviews with the video’s directors backstage at the show.
Well, we may have seen the last of Kanye’s tirades. Because even though he said on Friday that he “[lives] at award shows,” he’d changed his tune by Monday.
“Matter of fact, I’m not going to any more awards shows,” he said. “From now on, I got all the awards I need. I’m only making my music for the fans. … The streets know, and the fans know, that ‘Touch the Sky’ was killin’ that video. … Don’t even nominate my sh–. Don’t play with me. I don’t need awards to validate me.”
As usual, he had plenty more to say. Check below for more of Kanye’s comments from Friday, when he spoke about why he wanted to take a little “sippy sippy” during the show, why he loves it when people like Justin Timberlake or Jim Jones talk about him, and several more reasons why he should have won Best Video.
MTV: What’s good, man?
Kanye West: Man, I’m just out here having a good time.
MTV: You probably woke up this morning and saw your name on every headline across the world, huh?
West: Yeah, I know. It’s crazy, right? Maaaan, I don’t be doing this sh– on purpose! I was sitting there like, “Just go up there and say what you feel.”
MTV: So take us through the whole scenario: How did you wind up onstage?
West: I heard through the grapevine that I was supposed to win for Best Video before I paid for tickets to go there. It was other people coming up to me, like, “We heard you gonna win.” We got the whole entourage, we getting our bags, I’m picking out my outfit. Just like how ODB said [when he bum-rushed the Grammys stage in 1998 and complained about Wu-Tang Clan losing an award: see “Ol’ Dirty Bastard Tells Why He Stormed Grammy Stage” ], “I went and got this tuxedo.” I was expecting to win Best Video. I didn’t even know how many things I was nominated for, I just wanted to come to the show. One of the things I kept stressing to everybody was that this is a blessing, that an artist could get tickets to this and sit in the front row, because it’s so exciting. I’m such a fan: I love Gnarls Barkley so much, the Killers, Justin. It’s so many people there that I was excited to see. I’m sitting next to Diddy. And like I said in my original speech, Puff used to be one of my idols when I was growing up. To be sitting next to him and be nominated …
I was on the red carpet earlier that day and Fat Joe was hosting, he asked me, “Who do you think should win for Best Male [artist]?” In a category with Justin and some other people, I said, “Oh, definitely Justin should win.” Fat Joe said, “Ah, you being humble.” But I’m at no time arrogant or humble — I’m straightforward, like, “This is how I feel.” In the past couple of years, I’ve had some songs that were just poppin’ like that. People said, “Do you think ‘Gold Digger’ should win?” I said, “Yeah, obviously it should win.” Or people said, “Do you think you should win Album of the Year?” “Yeah!” I feel that as a fan of music. And as a fan of music, Justin is #1, lapping n—as right now. He’s Mike Jackson-ing them right now as we speak, across the board from pop to black radio. So people got me f—ed up, like I’m finin’ to say I should [win] Best Male because I’m me; like I’m delusional. I’m not delusional. I’m not arrogant. I don’t even got sh– out. I dropped three what could be considered bricks in a row.
MTV: Three bricks? You’re talking about [Pharrell's Kanye-featuring] “Number One” and what else?
West: This is no front, because certain people like the song but it didn’t do what people expected it to do [because it was] my sh–. You know, “Drive Slow” came out and it had T.I. on it — T.I. is the hottest rapper out. It didn’t get no play. “Mission Impossible” [theme], there were people that said they loved it, some said they hated it. “Number One,” it did good in certain places, but the combination of me and Pharrell and that song, that energy — we thought it was gonna do better. So I’m not delusional.
MTV: OK, so back to you jumping onstage.
West: Yeah, so I’m sitting at the awards and they callin’ the names. When I won Best Hip-Hop, I was like, “Ah man, it’s probably some bullsh– in the game. I knew it.” I said “OK, we gonna just see.”
MTV: You didn’t think you were going to win Best Hip-Hop?
West: I thought I was gonna win, but I didn’t know how much I was nominated for. I thought, “OK, they gonna give me this award to pacify me for having me here.”
MTV: Like, “Let’s give Kanye this award ’cause we don’t want him to show out”?
West: At the end of the day, they really do. The thing is, I don’t dis things to bring other things up. But let’s just say the European MTV Awards have been a little bit more exciting than whatever else. I’m sitting there and I’m thinking I’m probably only gonna win [Best Hip-Hop]. So I’m prepared to lose [Best Video] to Gnarls Barkley and sit there and be like, ” ‘Crazy’ is arguably the best song of this millennium.” Like, what do you do? Video for video, I might think the “Touch the Sky” video is better, but it’s a connection of people liking the songs. “Touch the Sky” wasn’t a big song like that, but it was big video.
MTV: “Crazy” was a huge single in the U.K.
West: Yeah. So I’m like “Gnarls Barkley, let’s go.” And they say “Justice vs. Simian”? I said… You know, I hadn’t seen the video. For all you know it could have been a Björk, [directors] Chris Cunningham or Michel Gondry — it could have been on that level. I hadn’t seen it. I was ignorant to the fact that it was one of the biggest songs of all time out of France. [My DJ] A-Trak put me on, after the fact. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful to that country or anything like that.
MTV: That’s when you went up there?
West: It was just out of raw emotion. I had a couple of drinks but I was more drunk with adrenaline. I was drinking at the awards show because I feel so at home at awards shows. I live at awards shows! I’m going to five a year. This is what I do it for: I make the music, people like it and I go and collect the awards. I didn’t come to lose. I go up there and I gotta admit, it’s a little bit of the Chicago mentality on my part. If you meet somebody from Chicago, they gonna tell you how they feel right here. It could be some sh– that’s completely inappropriate. As I’m walking up, I’m thinking, “Man …” I just wanna walk up because the environment, the room was very relaxed. It wasn’t uptight. It just felt like you could just walk around. It felt like a birthday party. When I walked up, I thought I was just going to be expressive and clown a little bit.
On one hand, I felt like I should have won. But if anybody watches the show, I was laughing. People don’t understand my dry sense of humor. I went up there and said, “Hell nah, I should have won” — but look how many times I said the word “love.” I was like, “Man, I love you guys. I don’t have nothing against y’all. I never seen y’all video.” To me, in hindsight, however you take it, it’s a funny comment. It kinda makes me look like a jerk or whatever, but I don’t care. When I see like the show “The Office,” and see Michael and the way he acts, I be like, “Man, I be acting like that sometimes.”
MTV: Some are portraying your stage antics as a publicity stunt.
West: Well, first of all, I don’t have anything out to promote. It was not a publicity stunt, but I wouldn’t be against doing something like that as a publicity stunt. How can you pull a publicity stunt at an awards show? Why are you there for? You at the award shows for publicity and to stunt.
In my position as an artist, you can never really be expressive: “I feel like this.” You always gotta be politically correct. Me and Justin talked about that after the show. As an artist, every time you express something, people wanna run and say [something about it]. They said Justin said, “Kanye doesn’t have no songs without samples.” I’m like, “I love that.” Or they’ll say Jim Jones said this [about me]. Oh man! If that’s how you feel … that’s how the fans talk, that’s how the barbershop talks, that’s how they talk on radio: like yo, this is how you feel. But the second you’re an artist, you can’t express how you feel without attempting to start beef. I’m not attempting to start beef. I just want everybody to have a good time. I want everybody to be entertained. It was entertaining to me. It was not set up.
MTV: Have you seen the Justice vs. Simian “We Are Friends” video yet?
West: I saw it. “Touch the Sky” was definitely better than that. [Their video] was good. It didn’t cost a lot of money — I know it’s not about the money, but when you got drinks in you, that’s the first thing you gonna say. I think more people should drink when they at award shows. Everybody is so concerned about what the people’s reaction gonna be. You gotta live your life for yourself. Do what you really do. If you was in a dream world right now, what would you do? That’s what I be doing. I wanna do things: “I wanna put a record out. I want to do a video like this.” If anything, people should have an inspiration from it.