Kanye West Gets Candid on Nike, Twitter & Politics in New Interview

Kanye West has something to say.

The rapper finally released his nearly two-hour-long interview with Charlamagne Tha God from iHeartRadio’s The Breakfast Club — and as expected, there a number of controversial soundbites. From his views on therapy and his on-and-off friendship with fellow rapper Jay-Z to his support for President Donald Trump, West didn’t hold back from tackling hot-button issues.

The sneaker mogul even took some time to stage a throwback, bringing up his past relationship with Nike and the milestones that led to the development of his Yeezy brand. Here, the interview’s main takeaways.

On that catastrophic Yeezy Season 4 fashion show:

“I was 45 minutes late, and they LeBron-ed me, bro. Like when LeBron went [back] to Miami, and they just killed him and burned his jersey… I felt it was the fashion community getting the right to say ‘n****r’ without saying it, to be like, We know you come through stepping on necks… but if you get out of line, boy, we’re gonna roast you. It affected me because I’m an artist.”

On his recent polarizing posts on Twitter:

“I’m not doing it as a form of personal therapy. It’s just an innate feeling. I want to express… I’m not trying to say the right thing; I’m just saying exactly what I feel out of love.”

On his loud political views:

“I actually think that the rants came from a place of bravery, and I had enough of the politics. That’s the world that we’re in right now. People are speaking their truth; people are expressing themselves. I’ve been waiting for this.”

On designing the very first pair of Yeezys:

“Phil Knight, who I have the most respect for, and I have respect for everyone at Nike, too. These guys, Mark Parker — I just gotta speak out as a parent and apologize to this man for ever speaking ill on his name and his company because he gave me that shot when we did the original Yeezy at Nike… I was on a plane with him, I was sketching, and he said, ‘Look at this sketch, I’m gonna give this guy a chance.’ He put me next to Tinker Hatfield. It’s me and Don C making the first Yeezy with Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker. That was the squad that made the original Nike Yeezy. So I always wanted to express that as a father. When my karma comes, I’ll accept it in real time, like ‘Kill Bill’… If Mark Parker hadn’t given me that moment then he helped turbocharge me. And the combination of Louis Vuitton. I had the Louis Vuitton sneaker and Nike sneaker come out at the same time.”

Yeezy, Kanye West
Yeezy designs, as pictured in Kanye West’s interview with Charlamagne Tha God.

On leaving Nike:

“When I was at Nike, they weren’t willing to change anything… It was heartbreaking for me to have to leave Nike, but they refused to allow me to get royalty on my shoe. And I knew I had the hottest shoe in the world. I knew Yeezy was the hottest brand in the world.”

On his brand’s worth:

“Yeezy’s a unicorn. It’s a billion-dollar company. We were at $15 million — two years ago? And we’re gonna hit a billion this year. It’s never ever been heard of.”

On where he sees Yeezy in the future:

“The reason why we went into fashion wasn’t to stay there, be there, just do cool, high-price stuff. It was actually to take the incredible HSP — highly sensitive people — that usually end up in a fashion house and bring them to some place where they can consistently connect with the public… Yeezy eventually will be closer to like a relief company. If there’s a disaster we’re gonna dress, we’re gonna bring clothes and water. The same design perspective that can sell a $300 T-shirt, we’re just gonna give it, and eventually that’s who we’ll be. You’ll look up five, 10 years from now, and Yeezy will be the biggest service provider of apparel.”

Watch the full interview here.

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