By Gil Kaufman
'Never think that I'm not from Chicago for one second,' West warned about his treatment by the paparazzi.
Let's get one thing straight. The Kanye West-Jimmy Kimmel feud was real.
When 'Ye appeared on Kimmel's show on Wednesday night to make peace with the late night host, it became clear right away — from Yeezy's posture and his seriousness — that despite some suggestions that their beef was a bit, Kanye was dead serious.
"I wish I had thought of that," Kimmel said of the public fight in his monologue. "I just didn't. You know honestly I've been too busy masterminding the giant prank going on in Washington D.C. right now. That one is going gangbusters."
It also became that the interview was going to turn into the latest Yeezus rant about art, culture, fashion and the celebrity world, and that Kimmel was going to have to sit back and let Kanye be Kanye. At the outset, the duo shared a hug and Kimmel immediately apologized for the misunderstanding, which was sparked several weeks ago when he aired a video spoofing West's hour-long interview on BBC Radio 1.
"I guess we should kind of talk about what happened because I do think that somewhere in you you want people to understand where you're coming from," Kimmel said. "Yeah, correct," 'Ye responded.
Admitting that he'd only seen snippets of the BBC interview before filming the spoof ("Yeah, that's what I thought," 'Ye said), Kimmel re-aired some of his bit. "The main reason that I did that is because I like to see kids curse," Kimmel explained, noting that he was not trying to position Kanye as a child.
And then it was Kanye's turn. "Everyone out there in TV world, real world, whatever world you stay needs to know that I've never done a publicity stunt in my life," Kanye said, debunking rumors that the whole beef was a prank.
Kimmel recounted the "bad" phone conversation they had after the skit and West talked about how the pair had previously met and Kimmel told him that he wanted the world to know the "good guy" side of Kanye.
To be fair, 'Ye did not watch the whole Kimmel skit either, out of fear of being even more enraged, but said he was hurt because he thought he could trust Jimmy. "This is the one person I know, so I can go and let out everything that I feel about every single bogus Weekly cover. Every single bogus skit... Every person who feels it's OK to treat celebrities like zoo animals, or act like what they're saying it not serious ... or their dreams are not serious," West said.
"Egos can flare up and we kind of just took it back to high school a bit," Kanye continued. "And I got beat up a lot in high school, so I didn't want to go back to high school," Kimmel responded, calling the zoo animal a perfect metaphor for the kind of constant tabloid scrutiny celebrities are under.
"Some of these things are hurtful and the truth is important," Kimmel said. "A lot of times I think you bring it on yourself this misunderstanding of you ... I don't know if you know this, a lot of people think you're a jerk," he added as West looked on with a blank expression. To the contrary, Kimmel said he's often told people what a good guy West is, throwing up a picture of a smiling Yeezy with his arm around Jimmy's dad at a wedding they both attended.
And then it got real. Kimmel replayed a classic skit with Josh Groban performing some of 'Ye's funniest tweets, admitting that the BBC bit was maybe a five on the funny scale. He then put up one of the since-deleted post-beef tweets from Kanye in which the rapper profanely compared Kimmel to SpongeBob Squarepants. "Do you really think I look like SpongeBob?" he asked. "I mean, it's the first thing that came to my mind," laughed Kanye.
"As we were writing it there was a frustration that was getting out," West said of the hard-hitting series of tweets railing Kimmel that he subsequently scrubbed from his timeline. "But also they were really funny to me and I just thought it was so amazing that I was saying this in real time, in real life. With my position, because people would be so scared to say anything as soon as you're a celebrity you're not allowed to say anything anymore. But to just completely wild out?" There was a second set of tweets, he revealed, which were apparently even worse, which he'll save for next time.
Kimmel ended by congratulating Kanye on the birth of baby North and gifted him with a pair of tiny leather jogging pants. That led to West, who was wearing ripped jeans and a light blue Ralph Lauren shirt, re-expressing his frustration about not being able to break through in the fashion industry (and bringing up his favorite movie, "The Truman Show," again), despite his "creative genius."
During his extended rant near the end of the chat, in which he touched on taste, culture and art, West noted that he stood up to drug dealers in Chicago and told them he'd die before giving them his publishing, and then took off on the paparazzi and his place in the cultural universe.
"It's about truth, it's bout information, it's about awesomeness ... Taste, culture, art ... just the quality of life. This is what I'm here to do. So when I compare myself to Steve Jobs, or Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, David Stern, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Jesus, I'm saying these are my heroes. These are people that I look up to. This is the type of impact I want to make on the Earth," he said.
"When people hear my music, they have a good time. And I should be respected as such when I walk down the street," West added, getting hyped. "Don't ask me a question about something you saw in the tabloids. Don't try to 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!"