Kanye West's two-hour-long interview with Charlamagne tha God was uploaded to a website called wegotlove.com yesterday afternoon. The conversation was strange and only ever adjacent to reality, with West saying proudly that he "wasn't being controlled by strategy or thoughts," praising Donald Trump despite saying nothing about the President's latent racism and misogyny, and saying that he wanted to build a community on a plot of land in California. The video did, at least, have a soothing, manicured calmness, something that's been absent from West's enervated rants of late. An hour or so later, West appeared on TMZ Live alongside right-wing pseudo-intellectual Candace Owens for an interview with Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere. The relaxed aesthetic was immediately undone.
This afternoon, TMZ released an extended clip of West's interview with Levin and Latibeaudiere. It makes for an uncomfortable watch. West first admits to being "drugged the fuck out" when he infamously went to meet the then-President-Elect at Trump Tower in November 2016. "I was addicted to opioids," West says. "Two days after I got off opioids, I'm in the hospital." He then turns to the TMZ newsroom and shouts the lines again, adding: "I had plastic surgery, because I was trying to look good for y'all. I got liposuction, because I didn't want y'all to call me fat." He continues to shout towards the TMZ staff for roughly two minutes before going off on a tangent: "We are drugged out. We are following the media. We are following other people's opinions. We are controlled by the media. And today it all changes."
A truncated version of the next chunk of footage appeared in TMZ's brief video clip yesterday, with West asking: "How many people felt something that I said today?" Roughly half of the newsroom in-shot raises a hand. "Do you feel that I'm being free and that I'm thinking free?"
TMZ reporter Van Lathan speaks up: "I actually don't think you're thinking anything." That made it onto TMZ's Wednesday clip, but the new video offers an extended cut of Lathan's eloquent response to West. I've highlighted the bits that didn't come out in the earlier clip:
I think what you're doing right now is actually the absence of thought. And the reason why I feel like that is because, Kanye, you're entitled to your opinion. You're entitled to believe whatever you want. But there is fact and real-life, real world-consequence behind everything you just said. And while you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you've earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives. We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice. Every day we have to walk into that truth while you choose to say things that—to be honest with you, dog—are nonsensical. You want to think freely? That's fine. I'll combat your free thought with my free thought, because mine is grounded in a reality that I have been given, and the reality that I'm going to change. But I'm not going to do it by pretending that the enemies are on the same team as me. And frankly, I'm disappointed, I'm appalled and, brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something—to me—that's not real. That's how I feel. Stand on all the coffee tables you want to stand on, say whatever you want to say, but don't throw a stone then hide your hand like the rest of us are just going to swallow it. Ye, be Ye. I'm off it, forever. Do you. But remember, the life that I live is as a real person. An actual person.
West then proceeds to double down on the idea that "reality has been forced us," and that it is a "choice, just like I said slavery is a choice." He says that "we can make our own reality. We can talk about history, but not too long."
West continues, still projecting towards the newsroom. He goes on to repeat a far-right talking point, insisting that black-on-black crime goes unaddressed while white-on-black crime is protested against disproportionately. "Black people have a tendency," West says, "to focus and march when a white person kills a black person or wears a hat [sic], but when it's 700 kids being killed in Chicago, it's okay. It's okay for blacks to kill blacks."
Lathan then cuts West off: "That is a lie. Don't believe that. That's a lie." Owens then joins West and shouts towards the room to back him up. There are black people working every day..." West continues, insisting that Lathan's raised voice is making them both seem "crazy." Owens then takes the floor to repeat many of the same talking points.
It spirals out of control a little, and West's conversation with Lathan goes on a little while longer. You can watch the whole video at the top of the page.
Update: May 3, 10:45 AM: TMZ has released the full 42-minute interview with West and Owens on TMZ Live. Watch it below.
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