Judging by the critical response to his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West’s love/hate relationship with the media has had little impact on how they view his music. But while concluding his secret New York concert on Tuesday night, the hip-hop heavyweight spoke out on his public image.
After the encore of his Bowery Ballroom set, West reflected on the his career. “As you know, it’s been an extremely hard year for me,” he said. “But getting back to music, G.O.O.D. Fridays, and the album … I never thought I’d say this, I wanna thank the magazines for perfect scores across the board. I always felt like I could do anything, but now I feel so fearless. To do an album after the year that I had and after all the ‘Your career is over,’ ‘Die, n—a, die,’ and ‘You’ll never make music again,’ and to come back and do 100,000 the first day, digital alone, to be slated to do 600,000 in the first week. I don’t talk about the numbers but what that number says is that people want me to keep making music and for me to not give up.”
The Chicago MC then brought up his contentious “Today” show appearance earlier this month. “But I ain’t here to make no mother—-ing politics,” ‘Ye said. “I’m here to make music. I’m not here to talk in no mother—-ing interviews, nobody ask me no stupid-ass questions. We have such a great win. Matt Lauer is not a bad guy, I’m sure.”
Soon after, West went on to another tricky subject, the Taylor Swift VMA incident. “When you do things like what happened last year, it’s disrespectful for everyone that’s created,” he said to roaring applause. “It’s a smack in the face to everyone who tries to do something real. If I wasn’t drunk, I would have been onstage longer. Am I the only one who’s not crazy here?”
Yeezy went on to speak about former President George W. Bush and why he said Bush didn’t “care about black people” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“Everyone wants to use people and villianize people, even if you take the concept like George Bush,” he said. “There is no leader in history that has been a villain in that way that didn’t get killed in war or commit suicide, so any man that lives through it, deserves one moment of redemption. Any man! … Everyone needs a villain, don’t we? We need to blame someone at all times. For me to be considered a racist for stating the blatant truth, an obvious truth … But the nuisances of my words, because I am very particular with my words, and they’re an emotion I felt at that time. It wasn’t worded exactly right, but everybody came and said … ‘Oh my God, Kanye, I love you so much. I hated you until you said that. Yeah, now you’re speaking for me, but now you said something that represents me.’ ”
Kanye says his Bush callout was misinterpreted, but he rode the media’s wave. “And the whole time, I’m thinking in my mind, that’s not exactly what I wanted to say, I was emotional. That was not exactly how I wanted to word it. But I rode it. I rode it. Just as Taylor never came to my defense in any interview and rode the wave and rode it and rode it. That’s the way that I rode the wave with the Bush comment. It’s not about popular opinion.”
After experiencing similar backlash from the media, West said he empathized with Bush over the twisting influence of the media, echoing what he’d said during the interview with Matt Lauer.
With another mention of how the “Today” show “f—ed up big time” for playing the VMA incident during his interview, Kanye said that he appreciates and thanks all those that helped him for the better and worse throughout the past year.
“If you’re a real artist, have no fear, say what the f— you want, do what you want and make what you want,” he said. “And if it’s meant to be, then people will stand up like the people stood up with 600,000 coming off being the most hated person this time last year. … And on that note, I love you and on my family that came to help me with the album, that came through tonight, flying in on private jets, everything they had to do to get here, everybody in this audience that sat through this whole thing, I know you got to wake up in the morning. Thank you so much. I love you.”
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