Kanye West does not often appear as a guest on TV talk shows, and it is even more rare for him to grace the daytime television screen. But given Ellen DeGeneres’s friendly relationship with the Kardashian family, he decided to stop by her show on Thursday. And the rapper-turned-fashion mogul did not disappoint, delivering an equal parts inspiring and baffling speech that is up there with his best.
When West’s mother-in-law Kris Jenner visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this year, she joked that there are days when she wants to “ground” West for going on some of his more unreasonable Twitter rants. As DeGeneres suggested then, perhaps West needs a “board of directors” to approve his tweets before they go out.
“Absolutely not,” West replied when DeGeneres brought up that idea. Asked if he has regretted any of his tweets, he said, “Nope.” But does he ever feel like he should have thought about something more before posting it? “What’s the point of thinking?”
Regarding West’s tweet asking Mark Zuckerberg for $53 million, DeGeneres asked, “In hindsight, should that have gone on Facebook?”
“Yes, I should have put it on Facebook,” West said, nodding. “Now I understand why he didn’t hit me back.” He said the Facebook founder had promised over dinner to help him change the world, but didn’t come through with the necessary funds. “I feel if I had more resources, I could help more people,” West added. “I have ideas that can make the human race existence, within our hundred years, better. Period.
“Fuck the paparazzi, any perception you have of me,” West continued, drawing a wide-eyed look from DeGeneres. “Starting with the truth, starting with what everyone’s thinking,” he said, “and put some dope shit with it.” At that point he stood up from his chair and shouted, “’Ye is in the building! Throw your motherfucking hands in the air right now!” It wasn’t quite Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch, but it was close.
“I’m with you on the truth part,” DeGeneres said, attempting to understand what her guest was getting at. “When you say ‘put some dope shit with it,’ just give me one example.”
Instead of getting specific, West spoke about the “renaissance period” we’re living in and his general desire to “make a difference” in the world. Pivoting to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, West said he didn’t like that the whole thing became a joke in Chris Rock’s hands, because “it ain’t no joke.”
“Picasso is dead, Steve Jobs is dead, Walt Disney is dead. Name somebody living that you can name in the same breath as them,” he said, resisting the urge to add his own name to that list. “Don’t tell me about being likable. We’ve got 100 years here, we’re one race, the human race. One civilization. We’re a blip in the existence of the universe and we’re constantly trying to pull each other down, not doing things to help each other.”
West acknowledged that he had begun to shake as he talked, but said he just felt so strongly about what he as an artist can contribute to the world. Over the next several minutes, West announced his ambition to be the “Michael Jackson of apparel” in order the open the same doors that the King of Pop opened for him and make sure he’s known as more than “Wacko Kanye.”
“I’m sorry, daytime television,” West concluded. “I’m sorry for the realness.”
“It’s not daytime television anymore,” DeGeneres joked in response.
She was right. West had broken the mold of the breezy daytime talk show segment so drastically that they decided to post the clip as an extended online-only video, leaving more airtime for a silly game of “5 Second Rule” that is highly unlikely to change the world.