kanye west

Slavery and Saturday Night Live: Everything Kanye Talked About on TMZ

Kanye West
Kanye West on TMZ Live Monday afternoon. Photo: TMZ

Of course you were too busy to watch Kanye West on TMZ Live Monday afternoon, so Vulture (unfortunately) sat through it for you. For nearly 30 rambling minutes, Kanye West and Harvey Levin had a conversation about Donald Trump and politics, slavery and Saturday Night Live, largely unsupported by any facts or discernible logic. Wearing a zip-up hoodie and his redesigned Make America Great Again cap, West also detailed plans for his new album Yandhi — which was expected to be released last weekend. The album, West told Levin, will now be released November 23, because the rapper has to go to “what is known as Africa” to record it. See the highlights (read: lowlights) of their conversation below.

On Saturday Night Live
“The bullying came from people around me in my circle telling me why I shouldn’t be wearing the hat. It put my energy in more of a reactionary place. A lot of times when people bully you, you get reactionary.”

“Now, Lorne has promised me to host this year. I do feel a bit slighted that I have not hosted SNL because it’s going to be lit! When we did the Lil Pump thing, I feel that I’m missing my calling a little bit. I’m so funny!”

On the 13th Amendment and prisons
“I’m gonna read to you something that my friend GLC from Chicago wrote for me because he puts a lot of energy into understanding historical facts.”

“‘Abolish’ was the wrong language. I misspoke. ‘Amend’ is the right language.”

“In order to come up with a solution [to] this complicated issue, to get a sound bite from me will only cause some type of headline. So the headline I’m gonna give you is: We need people to amend the 13th amendment that look like the the people that the 13th amendment [is] talking about.”

Levin: “What’s deficient about [the 13th Amendment] in your view?”
West: “What’s deficient about it is [Editor’s note: Kanye begins to read from his phone] the principals that wrote the Constitution were Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, and John Adams — ”
Levin: “But not the 13th Amendment, because that was really driven by Abraham Lincoln, which was long after.”
West: “All white men. Okay. The thing is you’re going to pull me into a place — this is what liberals often do for Donald Trump. They try to say, ‘You missed this fact! You said that there were 800,000 slaves in the 1800s but there were 3.7 million slaves in the 1800s. But what I was saying is that at a single time, there were 800,000 and now there’s … two million, and for lack of a knowledgeable thought-out better term, we’ll say ‘black’ or we’ll say ‘African-American.’ Because I don’t know where ‘Africa America’ is. I saw ‘Latin America,’ I’ve never seen ‘Africa America.’ But for now until we decide what we call our culture, we’ll call ourselves African-American or black. For now. Right now there’s over two million black or African-Americans in prison, a lot for nonviolent crimes, a lot for first time offenses.”

On the United States Constitution
“There should be a group, a modern day group, of respected, super-knowledgeable people. Not me as a celebrity with an opinion. There should be a group of super-knowledgeable people that come from all cultures that then make the amendments on our Constitution.”

“This country, up to this point, has been run by fear, and not by love.”

On 2024
“I was telling my dad that I was running for office in 2024. He was like, ‘It’s gonna cost a lot of money.’ I said, ‘Dad we’re going to have all the money in the world soon as I run.’”

“One of the things I’m going to do when I run is not give answers off the cuff. I’m gonna talk to experts.”

On Chicago
“All of this brilliance that I applied to making all of these albums, and the brilliance to making these sneakers and making the second fastest growing company in history — our last valuation was at $2.2 billion, and we do that off of four items. Now we can apply that to Chicago.”

On Donald Trump
“Do you feel people can grow? For someone to grow, they need to know that they got love. That someone loves, and that someone is leading with love, or that a group of people is leading with love. There’s no way to start a dialogue with ‘Fuck you.’ That’s not how you lead with love.”

Levin: “[Donald Trump] has been on this path for years now where people have criticized it, and he’s just amped it up. At a point, don’t you say, ‘He is who he is?’”
West: [A minute long silence, in the middle of which Kanye asks a man off camera to move aside so he can feel a woman’s energy]
Levin: “Do you want me to repeat?”
West: “No.”
Levin: “Why don’t we do this, we can’t take a quick break — ”
West: “No. We’re not going to Jimmy Kimmel the situation. No, we’re not going to come right back. We’re not going to Jimmy Kimmel the situation. We’re going to give me time to think. You asked me a serious question and I’m going to take some time to think about my answer. I’m going to use time to my advantage in this situation. Now repeat the question.”

West: “You’re not giving a question, you’re giving opinions.”
Levin: “The question is you had said that people have the ability to grow. What I’m saying is — ”
West: “Yeah, what you’re saying. So now I’m waiting for a question for me.”
Levin: “My point is, do you give up on them growing?”
West: “We’re not making a point. You’re going to ask me a question.”
Levin: “Do you give up on somebody growing when they are unrelenting because they are who they are?”
West: “And I love it. Now you asked me the perfect question, you set me up to win. We never give up on anyone.”

On the redesigned MAGA hat
“To me, I’ve got the right to wear what I want. That’s what’s so dope about this country.”

On his new album
“I started incorporating sounds that you’ve never heard before, pushing, and having concepts that people don’t talk about. We have concepts talkin’ about body shaming, women being looked down upon for how many people they’ve slept with. It’s just a full Ye album. Those five albums that I dropped earlier were like superhero rehabilitation. Now the alien Ye is fully back in mode, off of medication, working out, breathing as much fresh air as possible, thinking, doing, being hisself.”

“We’re going to Africa in two weeks to record. I felt this energy when I was in Chicago, I felt the roots. But we have to go to what is known as Africa. I need to go, I need to find out what it’s really called. Just grab the soil and be and cook food — five meals a day so the metabolism stays up — have my kids in the studio, have the mic out in the open so you can hear nature while we’re recording. So we’re going to bring out the album on what is known as Black Friday, November 23.”

What Kanye Talked About on TMZ: Slavery, Saturday Night Live