Kanye West Shares Thoughts on Celebrity, Being Respected, Being a Genius on "Jimmy Kimmel Live"

Find out what Kanye West had to say to the talk show host on the subject of their disagreement on "Jimmy Kimmel Live"

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Complex Original

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Following Jimmy Kimmel's parody of Kanye West's interview with Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, Kanye took to Twitter to share his frustration with the talk show host. Last night, Kimmel revealed that Kanye would be coming on the show and, unlike with a certain recent flammable twerking incident, it wasn't a setup. Tonight, the two hashed out their dispute, with Kimmel apologizing, noting that "I really felt bad about all of this stuff, I did" and that "the main reason that I did that is I like to see kids curse."

But while Kanye was cordial about the idea of hashing things out with Kimmel, he wasn't exactly laughing, suggesting that, if anyone could relate to his frustrations with the skit and its one-note take on celebrity, it would probably be Kimmel, with whom he has a friendly past. He was adamant in agreeing with Kimmel's assertion that the dispute was not a publicity stunt, noting "I've never done a publicity stunt in my life."

Confronted with Jimmy Kimmel's observation that "a lot of people think you're a jerk," Kanye was stone-faced:

But Kimmel pointed out that he tends to be Kanye's staunchest defender, explaining "I often tell people 'I know this guy. He is not a jerk.'"

Speaking on the subject of his overall public image, Kanye had this to say:


And when Kimmel noted that plenty of people consider themselves geniuses, Kanye responded, "For me to say I wasn't a genius I would just be lying to you and myself."

He weighed in on his overall goals, explaining that "for me, it's bigger than who I am in my presence living" and adding that "you do music, you can do anything."

Additionally, he was critical of Los Angeles, and, in particular, the Walk of Fame's attitudes toward Kim Kardashian. Calling out the public perception of what constitutes the culture, he said, "People are so, so dated...there's no way a Kim Kardashian shouldn't have a star on the Walk of Fame."

Naturally, they also discussed Kanye's Twitter rant, and Kimmel questioned his resemblance to Spongebob Squarepants. On the subject of Twitter, Kanye said, "I just thought it was so amazing that I was saying this in real time, in real life," and, with equal wonder, Kimmel noted, "Everyone in the country knew you and I were having a really dumb fight."

Kimmel also gave Kanye's daughter North a pair of leather jogging pants, launching Kanye on a series of thoughts claiming that "fashion isn't always practical" and expounding on the challenge with race in the fashion industry: "There's no black guy at the end of the runway, in all honesty."

And from there, Kanye let loose and gave the speech of a lifetime about race, class, respect, valuing creatives, giving everyday people access to great products and more. Kimmel was completely unable to get in a word. Some choice thoughts:

  • On the subject of belonging in the fashion world: "Who do you know who is known more for clothes than me?"
  • On old money looking down on the new creative class: "It's not about racism anymore. It's classism," and: "I'm not into all that snobbery because, you know what, we have the loudest voice. We have the loudest communication. All we want to do is make awesome stuff."
  • On valuing creative fields (and noting that he's faced down drug dealers trying to take his publishing rights?!): "People don't stand up and protect their dreams. People are too scared of getting spoofed, in a way...Creatives have gotten beat up my entire life. There's moments when I stood up to drug dealers in Chicago and said 'you can't have my publishing, come and kill me.'"
  • On over-intrusive paparazzi: "We bring something of joy to the world. When people listen to my music, they have a good time, and I should be respected as such when I walk down the street...Don't try and antagonize me because you know what? It’s not safe for you in this zoo. Never think that I'm not from Chicago for one second," but also: "You do help me get money, paparrazzi. You show people how fresh my outfit is."

The whole thing lasted long enough to dominate the entire show, pushing the scheduled Arctic Monkeys performance off air. Obviously, it's essential viewing and iconic Kanye. Check out the full 24-minute interview below:

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