Kanye West loves being on Ellen. He’s proven that in recent years making multiple appearances on the award-winning daytime talk show, whether or not he’s got an album to promote. If you remember, he infamously debuted his soft porn-esque “Bound 2” music video on the show, and his quickly-reverting smile during a recent appearance has become the stuff of meme and GIF legend.
West made yet another appearance on the show this week, and with the Pablo album and Yeezy Season 3 release well behind him, decided to use his floor time on another subject: changing the world. During a lengthy rant that appeared to even confuse Ellen at times, Yeezy discusses the negative perceptions of him and his family, striving to compare to Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, and calling the head of Payless to make more affordable clothes for the general public.
You can watch the rant in its entirety here, or read a transcript of it below.
We’re in a renaissance period. We’re in a place where people are multi-disciplined artists. Like Steve McQueen who directed 12 Years a Slave. He was considered to just be a photographer, but then he won an Oscar. We’re not in a place where people can only have one career or one profession throughout their entire life. So the exact amount of emotion and color palette and sonics and everything I put into my music, I put them into shoes and they worked.
‘Kanye’s pissing everybody off.’ They try to position that through the media in some way that I’m like, whatever. Whatever your friends might say. ‘I saw Kanye.’ ‘How was he? Did he…?’ I care about people. My dad lived in homeless shelters less than five years ago. To find out he’s a psych major. My mom was the first black female chair of the English department at Chicago State University. I was raised to do something, to make a difference.
You know, I didn’t take the Oscars as a joke. It was funny. It was like the moment. All black actors can talk about the glass ceilings that we’ve dealt with out in this town. And this is the moment. ‘You get your night. Go ahead. Chris Rock is going to do it. Bam. Talk about how many times you’ve been blocked from being able to excel.’ I didn’t take it as a joke. It ain’t no joke, as Rakim said. It ain’t no joke. ‘I used to let the mic smoke, now I slam it and make sure it’s broke.’ That’s what I was raised on—Rakim, Phife Dawg, hip hop, expression. ‘Hip hop started out in the park…’
Everybody’s trying to…I don’t care how much you sold, if you’re playing on radio. Are you connecting? Picasso is dead. Steve Jobs is dead. Walt Disney is dead. Name somebody living that you can name in the same breath as them. Don’t tell me about being likable. We 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 constantly try to pull each other down. Not doing things to help each other. That’s my point. It’s like I’m shaking talking about it. I know it’s daytime TV, but I feel I can make a difference while I’m here.
I feel that I can make things better through my skill set. I am an artist. Five years old, art school Ph.D, Art Institute of Chicago. I am an artist. I have a condition called synesthesia where I see sounds. I see them. Everything that I sonically make is a painting. I see it. I see the importance in the value of everyone being able to experience a more beautiful life.
When I make clothes…It’s funny because I’ll sit there with Obama and Leo’s talking about the environment and I’m talking about clothes and everyone looks at me like, ‘That’s not an important issue.’ But I remember going to school in fifth grade and wanting to have a cool outfit. I called the head of Payless. I’m like, ‘I want to work with you. I want to take all this information that I’ve learned from sitting in all these fashion shows and knocking on all these doors and buying all these expensive clothes, and I want to take away bullying.’
Michael Jackson and Russell Simmons is the reason I was able to go so far in music. There was a time when Michael Jackson couldn’t get his video on MTV because he was considered to be ‘urban.’ The Michael Jackson. So I literally have to be the Michael Jackson of apparel in order to break open the doors of everyone that will come after I’m gone. After I’m dead. After they call me ‘Wacko Kanye.’ [crowd laughter] Isn’t that so funny? That people point fingers at the people who have influenced us the most. They talk the most shit about the people who cared the most. I’m sorry daytime television. I’m sorry for the realness.