Kanye West spoke about the power of love, Donald Trump, the 13th Amendment, and more in an interview with TMZ boss Harvey Levin on Monday.
After Ye’s much-maligned appearance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend, where he went on a post-credits rant about Donald Trump and accused people of “bullying” him, the rapper sought to clarify those comments and others while in conversation with the gossip maven.
Ye revealed that it was members of his own team who allegedly “bullied” him about his now-ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” hat and pro-Trump leanings—not SNL cast members, who resigned themselves to standing impassively behind Ye during the credits sequence. Ye also told Levin that SNL producer Lorne Michaels promised him a hosting gig later in the season, which would be “lit.”
“I’m a little bit missing my calling,” Ye said to Levin. “I’m so funny.”
From there, the interview quickly devolved into Ye ruminating on race, modern politics and masculinity. The Chicago-born rapper recently called the 13th Amendment “slavery in disguise,” but explained to Levin, after some prodding, that he was actually referring to the provision in the 13th Amendment that allows for involuntary servitude to be used punitively. Ye clarified that he wanted to amend the amendment, ostensibly to remove this provision—not abolish it, as he’d previously said. “What’s beautiful about our Constitution is we can amend it,” he observed.
Ye seemed entranced with the idea of a governing body to help amend and improve the Constitution. “There should be a group of super-knowledgeable people that come from all cultures that then make the amendments on our Constitution,” Ye told Levin, seemingly unaware that a similar group of people—Congress—already exists.
But when Levin pressed him to explain his stance on the 13th Amendment, Ye went on a tangent about how time is used to control humanity and humanity’s energy, and ultimately dodged the question, citing obscure, likely erroneous, facts about African-Americans and slavery. “You can never stop me. I will keep going,” he told a dumbstruck Levin, who had tried to correct some of Ye’s earlier erroneous statements regarding the number of slaves during the 1800s. “This is what liberals often do to Donald Trump,” Ye pointed out, accusing Levin of trying to “pull Ye into a place” and quibble over facts.
Kanye had no trouble reconciling his apparent love of Donald Trump and MAGA apparel with his identity as a black man. “My culture definitely is hip-hop. Because that’s something [African-Americans] made up. My culture is hip-hop. And hip-hop... we can take negative things and make them positive,” he said. Ye seemed convinced that “leading with love” was the most productive way to tackle the bigoted, frequently racist or sexist ideologies propagated by Trump. “There’s no way to start a dialogue with ‘fuck you,’” he told Levin, ignoring the fact that Trump and his supporters use increasingly vitriolic rhetoric in their own arguments. But for Ye, “that’s not how you lead with love.”
“Love” was the central principle Ye kept returning to during his interview, aside from the brief moments where he discussed his upcoming album (to be recorded in Africa and released on Black Friday of this year, despite a tweet from this past weekend saying otherwise) and his plans to bring flying cars (also known as “drones that you could put humans in,” per Ye), among other things, to underprivileged children in Chicago.
But the conversation inevitably returned to the rapper’s controversial politics. “You set me up to win,” Ye said to Levin when the latter asked him again about his support of Trump, after mentioning that he’d invited Colin Kaepernick to meet with the president at the White House.
Ye, who mentioned he’d stopped taking his medication, seemed to think that all Trump needed was a little love. “We never give up on anyone,” he preached. “We move forward, we give love, we keep going, we keep having the conversation until the conversation turns to love.” And when asked if he thinks Trump would wreak serious havoc on the nation before leaving office, Ye smiled. “The universe is on our side, and things will be better,” he said. Towards the end of the interview, Ye grew introspective. He frequently referred to himself as a “child prodigy” and reflected on his transition from a “crazy rapper” to a father.
Levin quickly turned the focus back to Ye’s support of Trump. “In this video game called life, there’s two buttons you hit,” Ye said after a moment of thought. “The love button, and the fear button.” He advocated, of course, for love, and even urged the crew members to say “I love you, Harvey,” as an apparent manifestation of love’s power.
“Is there something you love about me?” Ye asked Levin, smiling coyly.
“I would love it if you could take that hat off,” Levin replied without missing a beat, motioning towards the red MAGA cap Kanye had sported for the whole interview. The rapper quickly turned dour.
“I am American, and I support and give my ideas and support and brilliance to whoever ends up in office,” Ye ranted. “That’s my stance, as an American. I support our president, bottom line, no matter who they are. [What] this [hat] represents to me [is], y’all can’t bully me.”
“It doesn’t mean I’m being Donald Trump,” Ye had said of his controversial hat earlier in the interview. “I’m being me, I’m being punk, and I can wear whatever I want because I’m a god.”