The Ten Best Quotes From Kanye West's Epic Hot 97 Interview With Funkmaster Flex
It is a measure of Kanye West's proximity to the heart of the zeitgeist that even on the day after a disastrous midterm election, his name is front and center in the news cycle. The Internet is aflame today with the improbably news that George W. Bush apparently considers Kanye's "George Bush doesn't care about black people" telethon moment to be "an all-time low" in his presidency. Meanwhile, West, unbowed as ever, went on Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show last night for a marathon interview that touched on his nude photos, Jeff Koons, aliens, chardonnay, "hashtag rap," how it took him five thousand hours to write his "Power" verses, and whether Swiftgate or the aforementioned Bush moment was more traumatic for the pop star. (One guess as to his answer.) Love West or hate him, he is one of our moment's great communicators, and this interview was one for the ages. Below, a painstakingly narrowed down list of ten awesome, ridiculous things Kanye dared to utter on the radio last night:
Left to right: Pusha T, Funkmaster Flex, Kanye West. Photo via In Flex We Trust
On what Taylor Swift said to 'Ye when no one else was around:
"She just talked about how, you know, people would come up to her in the grocery store and really just bring it up, and she would defend me at the grocery store - I'm sorry, defend me in an interview, she said at her grocery store, she was actually defending me. It's an amazing, compelling situation. The situation is bigger to me than the Bush moment."
"As a celebrity, as soon as you become a star, as soon as it pops off for you? At that point, you stop growing. As soon as you don't have to wash your own dishes any more. I was like trying to get somebody to jog for me the other day."
On acting up at awards shows:
"Why Prince can't be recognized in the moment? So many artists they didn't even appreciate them until after they passed away. And I think there's where I get a lot of flak too, because I'm like, no, you're going to appreciate this now. And not particularly me. You're going to appreciate someone else. They've got to understand, that moment was very -- they're trying to say, 'Oh, he's arrogant.' What was arrogant about that [i.e., Swiftgate]? That's completely selfless. That's like jumping in front of a bullet. I lost an arm. I'm walking around trying to put my album out with one arm right now. Every time I try to perform a song, everybody's like, 'Well, what's up with that missing arm, though?'"
On owning his mistakes regarding Ms. Swift:
"I made a mistake. My timing was definitely extremely off. And the bigger plan, the bigger fight--how do you go about it? How do you go about getting it done? And the thing is, it was all in the plan--Beyoncé was set up to win the video of the year. If I hadn't said anything, everything would have just went smoothly."
On that thing that Drake does all the time, which will forever now be known as "Hashtag Rap":
"We develop and change rap styles all together. Like, look at say the hashtag rap--that's what we call it when you take the 'like' or 'as' out of the metaphor. 'Flex, sweater red--firetruck.' Everybody raps like that, right? That's really spawned from like 'Barry Bonds': 'Here's another hit--Barry Bonds.' So even like when I sat with Nicki [Minaj] in Hawaii, I was like, for this album, particularly--and I still like that, that style is super fresh--but this album, we not even doing similes. It's just a series of statements. We get on some real push the culture forward--I think that's the biggest reason 'Power' took me like five thousand man hours to sit there and write it."
In response the Funkmaster Flex question, "So Kanye, how, uh, did people get a picture of your, um, area there?":
"Have you heard the first line of 'Runaway'? I only rap reality! You know, so I went to the Internet, you know, cause I'm like, 'oh shit.' I'm looking at my Twitter mentions, to see what people talk about, they had the link, I went to it. Man. You cannot imagine how disappointed I was...that I got cut off! [total chaos, Flex yelling 'Pause']"
On real art, and getting censored on his album cover:
"There's a level of purity that I feel like has been tainted by everything. Like, you can't express that. Like, you go to the Louvre, you go to any art museum, it's paintings up there. For my kids, if it's proper art, I would definitely allow them to see that. I was in fourth grade painting nude women, because I was a proper artist! That's a part of it."
"People are not going to agree with everything I do. I look back and look at stuff I do and don't agree with it. Man, if I made a dis record of myself, I would kill me. I would be extremely good at it."
On the media and how Kanye is misunderstood:
"The media is scared of me. They're scared of a black man with this taste level, with this connection--with like Pusha, Jeezy, Ross, and sidebar, I'm sitting at this fashion thing. So what they'll do is, in order to take that power away, they try to turn me into a demon. And it's happened so many times through history. They knocked the nose off the Sphinx, you know? They trying to tell you aliens built the pyramids. And what's so crazy is, they really have black people believing it. And people need to understand, like I'm not above the people. I'm of the people. I love the people. I am the people."
A partial explanation of the above quotes, after getting asked by Flex about whether or not West is dating our pal Kim Kardashian:
"Pardon me, I'm coughing on the chardonnay I'm drinking out of a plastic cup right now. For those that don't have visuals."