In his first interview since the release of DONDA, Kanye West detailed the tensions between him and Drake, unloaded on Talib Kweli, sent a stray at Just Blaze, revealed the surprising origins of his billion-dollar brand’s name, and burned more bridges than you’ll be able to keep up with.
In the months following a painfully long release campaign for his new album, Kanye West has been mostly off the grid. Not unlike the tactful silence proceeding most of West’s project drops, the controversial rap and fashion mogul seemed to very intentionally fade from the spotlight once DONDA had finally landed on streamers (which he alleged was done without his consent.)
He was bound to resurface, but a Drink Champs appearance, arguably the worst possible venue for someone with West’s particular strains of delusion and detachment, wasn’t exactly what we were expecting. And yet, here we are, examining nearly two-and-a-half hours of a wild, weed-and-liquor-fueled, interview, in which there was seemingly nowhere Kanye wouldn’t go. And it wasn’t like N.O.R.E. or DJ EFN were going to stop him either, even though it was pretty clear they were going to put up numbers regardless of whether they ever lit the joint for an openly bi-polar man.
So needless to say, West’s first post-DONDA interview covered a ton of ground. He goes from detailing a menacing relationship with Drake (framing their tensions as a bout of psychological warfare,) to sending strays at Just Blaze to revealing the surprising origins of his billion-dollar brand’s name to unloading on Talib Kweli and praising the Blackstar sequel in the same breath. Countless bridges were burned and a lifetime’s worth of memes were created.
It’s hard to call them highlights, but there were certainly some confounding comments from the interview worth taking note of.
Watch Kanye West’s full Drink Champs interview below and scroll on for some of the wildest moments.
Kanye describing a flimsy (at best) concept of “classism.” (3:00)
As a general rule, you should probably always be wary of a billionaire volunteering their thoughts on classism. And Kanye kinda proves precisely why that’s the case, especially when he admits to taking cues from “trust fund kids” on how to travel the world without ever actually paying for it.
Admits to being only half-vaccinated. (5:10)
Joining an ever-expanding roster of vaccine-adverse rappers, West openly cops to being “half-cinated” while discussing a traveling loophole he took to get to Paris recently.
Being genuinely convinced Drake is waging psychological warfare. (14:20)
When the conversation pivots to his archnemesis, West details years of perceived torment by the Certified Love Boy rapper, alleging Drake had intentionally moved to his neighborhood and turned his inner circle against him in a bid of sabotage. Later in the interview (around the 55:00 mark,) West claims Drake implied he’d been intimate with West’s then (and allegedly still legal) wife in subliminal shots directed towards him.
Trashing Talib Kweli for challenging his political affiliations and claiming the Blackstar sequel is one of the best albums My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. (1:20:30)
During one of the Drink Champs‘ recurring segments, West is asked to pick between Talib Kweli and fellow Chicago rap star, Common, which launches him into a 10-minute rant on why Kweli is unqualified to comment on his current status musically or politically. “Kweli be getting up, and like ‘Come back home.’ Home where, n***a? You know what I’m saying? It’s like when I got a difference of opinion or a Trump hat. Kweli, you singlehandedly kept baseball caps in business. You the last n***a with this type of hat on trying to tell me where to come home to,” West passionately rebuked just before he championed the still-unreleased Madlib-produced Blackstar album as “the hardest album since Dark Fantasy.”
Just Blaze catching a stray. (1:43:00)
In one of the stranger turns in the interview, West sends a shot at Just Blaze, claiming the producer “just copied my half” of JAY-Z’s The Blueprint, which West is also prominently featured on. “Look where I’m at today and look where he at today,” the rapper says, drawing a line between their respective levels of success. This obviously got around to Just pretty quickly and on Instagram this morning, the producer fired back, openly attempting to grasp what might have sent West off. “None of what was said tonight regarding me fits with any of our history or our previous interactions,” Just wrote. He went on to describe fairly recent instances in which West reached out to him to work on projects (ie DONDA,) and explains how he’s “quite happy where I am creatively, with my family, and my life in general.”
You can disagree with Kanye’s political beliefs, just don’t take it public. (1:27:00 and throughout.)
The biggest takeaway from Kanye’s Drink Champs interview is just how seriously he took his 2020 presidential run and just quick he is to call out anyone who openly opposed it. Namely, a bunch of his former G.O.O.D. Music labelmates. At various points in the interview West goes after Common (“The only thing I don’t like about Common is he, like, works for the Democrats,”) Big Sean and John Legend, who he charges with getting “used by the Democrats to come at they boy who actually changed they life.” West then demands apologies from both of them and calls them “sellouts.” Legend, in particular, appears to have gotten under Kanye’s skin, as he’s made out to be a puppet of the Left on a number of occasions. As for Sean, West claims signing the Detroit rapper was one of the “worst things” he’s done in his career, but it’s unclear whether it’s because of sales or political leanings.
Revealing Beanie Sigel was the first one to call him “Yeezy.” (1:33:00)
Finally, the last real bombshell in the interview arrives at the beginning of the final quarter. When West is asked to choose between The Game and Beanie Sigel, he reveals the Roc-A-Fella rapper inadvertently came up with the name for West’s billion-dollar brand when he started calling him “Yeezy,” for which Kanye seems genuinely grateful. So much so that he claims to owe Sigel a check. Here’s hoping Sigel’s legal team is already on it.