“I’m sorry, daytime television. I’m sorry for the realness.”
That’s how Kanye West ended his seven-minute monologue (you really can’t call this one a rant) on “Ellen” Thursday, in which he explained what you might call the theory of Kanye.
Ellen DeGeneres started out by asking Kanye if he ever regrets any of the things he tweets (he doesn’t) and if he should think more about any of his statements – for example, his infamous pro-Bill Cosby tweet.
“What’s the point of thinking?” Kanye said.
He seemed in a good mood, standing up and telling the audience, “Ye is in the building – throw your motherf—— hands in the air right now!”
when you send something risky af…..
….and she replies back. pic.twitter.com/XzpAsVcOLr
— Complex (@Complex) May 19, 2016
Instead of getting defensive, Kanye simply laid out his creative process and why he says the grandiose things he says that people mock. He’s thinking, after all.
“I feel if I had more resources I could help more people,” he said. “I have ideas that could make the human race’s existence in 100 years better, period.”
Of course, this kind of naked ambition and self-regard is taboo, but Kanye delivered a point, too, under a lot of references and name-dropping – including director Steve McQueen, Michael Jackson, Phife Dawg, Picasso, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Russell Simmons, Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Zuckerberg, the Will Smith film “The Pursuit of Happyness.” West even managed to rap a couple bars of Eric B. & Rakim’s “I Ain’t No Joke” to help make his point.
“I was raised to make a difference,” Kanye said. “I don’t care how much you sold, if you’re on the radio. Are you connecting?”
He mentioned how, back in the ’80s, Michael Jackson struggled to get his videos on MTV because he was categorized as “urban.” Ignoring black artists was a sad spot on the network’s history that David Bowie once called out.
Like Jackson, Kanye wants to “break open doors” for people like him who aren’t supposed to do certain things. In his case, for example, altering the direction of the fashion industry when you’re thought of as “just” a music visionary.
“I want to take away bullying!” Kanye said, veering to another ambition without much of a segue.
That was the only moment when the audience responded in applause, agreeing with whatever vague consciousness-raising mission he’s on. Ellen DeGeneres just sat in dazed silence, realizing it was good TV, even if it wasn’t “daytime TV.”
Still, it was probably Kanye’s most earnest defense of the Kanye West mission. It didn’t always make sense, but if you’re a Kanye fan, it was at turns delightful, confusing, and moving – the trifecta at which he excels. Like Michael Jackson or Steve Jobs, he’s at least never boring.