Kanye opens up about Kim's crucial role in getting him help, the time he thought she would leave him, what he really meant when he said slavery was a "choice," and what it's like taking a backseat to Drake.
Kanye West is used to making headlines.
The husband of Kim Kardashian most recently made himself into a trending topic more than once in the last couple months -- ranging from his TMZ Live appearance to his ever-controversial tweets -- but the rapper, producer, fashion designer and "cultural fire starter" is attempting to explain himself in a new profile published Monday by The New York Times.
The NYT reporter who wrote the piece, Jon Caramanica, spent three days in Wyoming, capturing the "hip-hop firebrand tend to his scars" for a lengthy piece titled "Into the Wild With Kanye West."
In the profile, Kanye speaks about wife Kim's crucial role in getting him help, the time he thought she was going to leave him, what he really meant when he said slavery was a "choice," and what it's like taking a backseat to Drake.
Below is an easy-to-digest synopsis of the piece:
Shortly after his wife was robbed at gunpoint, Kanye embarked on a series of erratic concert appearances before spending nine days in the UCLA Medical Center. He said Kim was the one who staged something like an intervention, and described what it was like to come home and find motivational speaker Tony Robbins waiting for him in his living room.
"He could look at me and you know, I don't know why he mentioned suicide, but he could tell that I was very low," Kanye recalled. "Really medicated, shoulders slumped down, and my confidence was gone, which is a lot of the root of my superpower, because if you truly have self-confidence, no one can say anything to you."
Kanye said Robbins looked him in the eyes and told him to stand in warrior pose and scream.
"I was so self-conscious about the nanny and the housekeeper that I didn't want them to hear me screaming in the living room," Kanye said. "I think that that's such a metaphor of something for the existence of so-called well-off people that they're not really well-off -- they won't even scream in their own house."
Although reluctant, Kanye said he screamed.
"I still felt self-conscious," he said. "I didn't have my confidence back."
Trump and Their Shared 'Dragon Energy'
"There were people who said [Donald] Trump would never win," Kanye said. "I'm talking about the it-will-never-happens of the world, people in high school told you things would never happen. I felt that I knew people who voted for Trump that were celebrities that were scared to say that they liked him. But they told me, and I liked him, and I'm not scared to say what I like. Let me come over here and get in this fight with you."
Earlier this month, Kanye hosted a listening party in Wyoming for his latest album, "Ye." He said that "half the people" who attended the party were "supposed to not listen to the album."
"I'm canceled," he said." I'm canceled because I didn't cancel Trump."
Despite having love for Trump, Kanye said, "I don't agree with all of his policies."
Liking Hillary Felt Like 'An Arranged Marriage'
Kanye said he felt forced to like then-pesidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
"Man, I had my [expletive] [expletive] castrated: 'You have to like Hillary. That's got to be your choice,'" Kanye said, adding that he felt he had to succumb to liking the Democratic candidate because of his race, because he makes "sensitive music," because he's a "sensitive soul."
"It was like an arranged marriage or something," he said. "And I'm like, that's not who I want to marry. I don't feel that."
Kanye's 'Gut' Led to His TMZ Rant
Not long after Kanye proclaimed his love for POTUS on Twitter (and sent media outlets into a frenzy), he sat down for an interview with New York radio host Charlamagne Tha God. The same day that interview hit the airwaves, Kanye appeared on "TMZ Live," where he made the bold proclamation that he believed slavery was a choice.
"I felt like it was something missing," Kanye said regarding his decision to appear on TMZ when he did. "I just had a gut innate feeling to go to TMZ."
He added, "We need to be able to be in situations where you can be irresponsible. That's one of the great privileges of an artist. An artist should be irresponsible in a way -- a 3-year-old."
He Stands By His Thoughts on Slavery -- Not Necessarily the Words He Chose
"I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds -- sounds-- like a choice to me, I never said it's a choice," Kanye said. "I never said slavery itself -- like being shackled in chains -- was a choice. "That's why I went from slave to 400 years to mental prison to this and that. If you look at the clip you see the way my mind works."
The reporter gave Kanye another shot at explaining himself, asking him if he believed slavery in this country was a choice.
"I never said that," Kanye insisted. "It's literally like I feel like I'm in court having to justify a robbery that I didn't actually commit, where I'm having to somehow re-frame something that I never said."
His Black Fans Won't Leave Him -- Because He Says So
When asked if he feels confident about being able to make a comeback if his black fans abandon him, Kanye confidently responded, "It's not going to happen."
"Like I said, wouldn't leave," he elaborated. "Like yes, got a bunch of different opinions. You're not always going to agree, but they're not going to leave."
His Slavery Comments Deeply Affected Kim
One of Kanye's most impactful songs on "Ye" is "Wouldn't Leave," in which he suggests that his controversial appearance on TMZ put his marriage at risk.
"There was a moment where I felt like after TMZ, maybe a week after that, I felt like the energy levels were low, and I called different family members and was asking, you know, 'Was Kim thinking about leaving me after TMZ?'" he said. "So that was a real conversation."
Dealing With Drake's Reign
Kanye said he had to cleanse himself of "jealousy and fear" to get back to a place of rhythm. He said he had to scrub the words "ruler," "king" and "crown" from his mentality.
"It was this thing where it's like O.K., you're not the No. 1 rapper, Drake's the No. 1 rapper, but you're the No. 1 with shoes, or this or that," Kanye said. "And it's like yo, no more No. 1s. What's the No. 1 tree over there? Just be one of them. All of them are beautiful. If you cut one of those trees down, what would it be worth? Those look like $400,000 trees, just one of them, and look at how many of them are."
Past friction between Kanye and Drake led to current friction between Drake and Pusha-T, whose recent album Kanye produced. Days after Pusha's "Daytona" dropped, Drake released "Duppy Freestyle," in which he took aim at Kanye, saying he'd written for him and "let him repeat."
Drake wrote for Kanye on "The Life of Pablo," and as it happens, he wrote for Kanye on "Ye" as well. The hook for "Yikes" is Drake's, and according to Kanye, he also wrote a whole first verse, though it didn't make the final album.
The Spontaneity of 'Ye'
Eight days before the release of "Ye," Kanye said he didn't have any of the lyrics for any of the album's seven tracks written. And he still went to see "Deadpool 2" -- twice.
Suicide Is 'Always an Option'
On the opener of "Ye" -- "I Thought About Killing You" -- Kanye says, "Today I thought about killing you, premeditated murder / I think about killing myself / And I, I love myself way more than I love you."
Kanye said of the track and of his real-life thoughts of suicide, "Oh yeah, I've thought about killing myself all the time. It's always a option and [expletive]. Like Louis C.K. said: I flip through the manual. I weigh all the options."
"I'm just having this epiphany now, 'cause I didn't do it, but I did think it all the way through," he added. "But if I didn't think it all the way through, then it's actually maybe more of a chance of it happening."