When pop or movie stars screw up in public, their first bid to get out of celebrity jail is a cathartic interview with Oprah, Barbara or Larry.
But Kanye West refuses to play by the rules. On Tuesday (October 19), the “Runaway” MC will stop by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for his first sit-down chat since his notorious bum rush of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, according to a transcript of the chat released by the show on Monday night. Yeezy, who generally prefers to speak to his fans through his website — and, lately, Twitter — told Ellen what he’s been up to and previewed a clip from the 35-minute experimental movie for “Runaway,” which MTV and BET will premiere in full on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
West told Ellen that after the Swift incident he took the advice of his pal Mos Def, who advised ’Ye to get out of the country for a while until things cooled down.
“I left America. I stopped doing music altogether. I just took some time,” West said. “I went to Japan just so I could get away from paparazzi altogether. Then in November I moved to Rome and just lived there, and when I came back to the States I moved to Hawaii. I lived there for about six months and just worked on music.”
Ellen asked if West paid attention to the media firestorm that followed the VMAs, in which the rapper was raked over the coals in public for his boozy antics. “What was good about going away it was the first time that I got to stop since my mom had passed,” he said, referring to the 2007 death of his beloved mother , Donda West, who passed after a heart attack and post-operative complications following several plastic surgery procedures.
“I had never stopped and never tried to even soak in what all had happened,” he continued. “It was the first time I had stopped since I had made it. Since I had started. It was time to take a break and develop more as a person, as a creator and focus more on my thoughts and my ideas and what I wanted to bring to the world.”
Further reflecting on his run-in with Swift, West said it caused his whole world to “completely crash” as a result of what he called “a moment of sincerity, or alcohol, or whatever it is.”
The interview comes amidst a controversy focused on the lusty cover art for his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . The cover painting, by artist George Condo, depicts a nude, demonically grimacing West reclining on a blue couch and gripping a green bottle while a naked winged woman with a polka-dot tail straddles him.
West claimed over the weekend that the cover had been banned , though he did not reveal by whom and a spokesperson for his label did not return requests for comment on the claims. Yeezy mentioned in a Tweet that he was unwilling to compromise his art for the sake of major retailers like Wal-Mart, but on Monday, a spokesperson for the chain told MTV News that the Arkansas-based company had neither seen nor received the cover image and was looking forward to stocking Fantasy in its edited form.
When Ellen asked West to get more specific about what part alcohol played in the Swift episode, and if he just felt like he had something to get off his chest, Kanye described feeling like an unwanted pop culture canary in a coal mine and swore to never again attend an awards show.
“I feel like in some ways I’m a soldier of culture,” he said. “I realize that no one wants that to be my job and I’ll never go on stage again. I’ll never sit in an award show again. Will I feel convicted about things that really meant stuff to culture that constantly get denied for years and years? I’m sorry, I will. I cannot lie about it to sell records.”