One of the most anticipated moments at the MTV Video Music Awards was Kanye West‘s predictably unpredictable speech: four minutes of on-air freedom. The rapper took the stage clad in white as his track “Famous” blared in the background. He then delivered a meandering, wide-ranging address before debuting the video for “Fade.”
During his speech, Kanye was frequently interrupted by applause and chants from the crowd; the camera caught Chance the Rapper, a noted Kanye fan, clapping enthusiastically. The rapper moved easily from topic to topic, addressing the high murder rate in Chicago, calling P. Diddy his idol and defending his right to aspire to the artistry of Steve Jobs and Walt Disney. “My role models are artist merchants,” the rapper-producer said.
Kanye spent much of his four minutes talking about the controversial “Famous” video, which came out earlier this year. “It was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on inside the TV,” he explained. “You know, just the audacity to put Anna Wintour right next to Donald Trump,” he continued, striking a self-congratulatory tone. “I put Ray J in it, bro!”
Later he quipped, “we came over in the same boat, now we all in the same bed.” He also acknowledged the presence of his ex, Amber Rose, in the crowd, and thanked his spouse, Kim Kardashian by noting, “My wife is a G.”
Last year, West won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and used the occasion to thank Taylor Swift for presenting him with the award, opine about art and their relationship to award shows and jokingly announce his run for the 2020 presidency. His spiel even garnered attention from President Obama. “Do you really think that this country is going to elect a black guy from the South Side of Chicago with a funny name to be president of the United States?” Obama joked, before showcasing some knowledge of Kanye’s lyrics: “That is crazy. That’s cray!”