Kanye West recently spoke with Ryan Seacrest and co-host Ellen K for an illuminative, wide-ranging radio interview. The chief point of discussion was the rapper's decision to go onstage during Beck's Album of the Year acceptance speech at the Grammys and then fake him out. West clarified his comments about Beck needing to "respect artistry," discussed the possibility of collaborating with (surprise!) Taylor Swift and highlighted what he felt he brought to his recent collaborations with Paul McCartney. Here are 11 of the most eye-opening quotes he gave during the 17-minute chat.
1. He blames the "voices in my head" for interrupting Beck's acceptance speech
"Everybody was looking at me, and then people started screaming, 'Kanye! Kanye! Go do it!'" he said. "OK, that didn't really happen. These were voices in my head." He laughed. "Then I just walked halfway up the stage. What I really wanted to do was joke around with what had happened before, but I didn't want to take away from Beck's moment or the time he had to talk...so I just walked back down. It was kind of a joke, like the Grammys themselves."
2. He likes Beck
"Beck is one of the nicest guys and one of the most respected musicians in the game. So there's nothing that I will want to do as a fellow musician to disrespect him in any way. And the weird thing is...I don't feel like I have the right to take away from people's moments, but the reality of it is...it's just a little jolt of truth, right? Everyone feels better after the fact, or everyone is way more famous after the fact, or everyone sells way more albums after the fact, and then Kanye just goes on being a [bleep] to everyone."
3. The first person to talk to him after interrupting Beck was Taylor Swift...
"Taylor Swift came up to me right afterwards, literally right afterwards, and tells me that I should've went onstage. So, this is the irony of my life."
4. ...And she wants to work with him
"She wants to get in the studio, and we're definitely going to go in. Any artist with an amazing point of view, perspective, fan base, I'm down to get in the studio and work.... If I could be involved in giving people any type of energy, advice in the studio, whether you're Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jay Z, Beck, whoever, and they can be reciprocal with that, I'd like to be involved with that."
5. His statement about Beck not respecting artistry was not racist
"I want to stress to people that it's not a black or white thing at all. It's not me always standing up for a black artist. I feel that racism is a distraction to humanity. We are one race. We are the human race, period."
6. He chose his words poorly when he made that statement
"Beck, afterwards, literally said, 'I think Beyoncé should've won it.' And when I said that thing about 'respect artistry,' I think it came off the wrong way, and that was a mis-wording on my part because obviously Beck is one of the most respected artists and respects artistry. But I felt — and this is my opinion and he's his own man and he's not wrong and we'll still go play basketball and stuff unless he doesn't want to do it — but I felt that even though the Grammys sometimes gives awards to people who you wouldn't think should win in the category, as a respect to artists, we mention the other artist's name in our speech. That was the point I was making about it."
7. He likens losing a Grammy to getting a divorce
"The Grammys are the dream. When my wife got a divorce — and I'm sorry, Kim, for mentioning this as an example — she got a lot of backlash because somehow her fans felt like their dream was broken. She's a dream girl, and they're living vicariously through her in some way. And the Grammys, for us artists that work really hard and go to the studio every day, it's like they ask us for a divorce every year and break our dreams every year. Yeah, they gave Daft Punk an award. Yeah, they gave Arcade Fire an award. But they're like a broke clock that's only right twice a day. It has to be some level of respect for the people that you've got there who sell advertising for them."
8. Even if he's nominated for a Grammy next year, he may not attend the show
"I will not go until I sit with [NARAS president] Neil [Portnow], sit with [NARAS chairman emeritus] Jimmy Jam, and fix the voting system to be more in accord with the popular votes, because the popularity is what is needed to sell commercials."
9. He compares collaborating with Paul McCartney to a certain angsty musician
"I might be a little bit more angst than Paul. And remember the last time when Paul had somebody really angst working with them, the type of music they made? Hey everyone, America, I'm not comparing myself to John Lennon, I'm just saying I'm angst a bit like John Lennon. And the tension creates a new magic. The pressure creates the diamond from the coal. And he came in with the best vibes ever, and I said, 'Four, five, seconds from wildin',' and he said, 'It's great everyone,' and we just had that.
10. Rihanna heard "FourFiveSeconds" and claimed it for her own album
"I'm executive producing Rihanna's album, and she heard it, and literally she was not going to be satisfied until she had this record. I didn't feel like I was projecting. Excuse me if I compare Rihanna to Annie Lennox, but I feel like she has this type of energy in her vocals. And she even brought it to another level of like soul and heart and artistry — keyword of the week, 'artistry....' I gave her the song, and the next day I woke up on the Grammys, so I guess it worked out."
11. He really doesn't want you to beat up 14-year-olds and take their shoes
"The [Yeezy Boost] shoes come out this Saturday, which is instant gratification. I want to apologize to all the kids and all the parents that can't get the shoes currently, because there's only 9,000, and also because they're $350, if they're out of anyone's price range.... I just want everyone to be safe and patient. I know you can run up on this 14-year-old kid and take his Yeezys, but just be patient because we'll make more Yeezys.... When I was growing up, kids wanted Jordans; kids got killed for Jordans. Now that I'm in a position, I'm going to make sure everyone gets Yeezys."