How Charlamagne’s Kanye West Interview Happened
Charlamagne Tha God made headlines this week, not for his appropriate “Donkey of the Day,” but for his candid sit-down with rap’s most controversial artist, Kanye West. While the conversation gave fans wonderful insight into Kanye’s thought process, VIBE spoke exclusively with Charlamagne to get the radio personality’s perspective on Ye and the interview. During our discussion, he also revealed how the viral moment came to be.
Charlamagne and Kanye’s relationship traces all the way back to when he appeared on The Breakfast Club in 2013 and again in 2015. From there, the two continued to have communication via email. “I’ve always called him to tag on various things,” he told VIBE. “Especially when he was trying to be one of the heads of these fashion houses. I would always call — No one wants to hear that [your rich man problems]. I don’t care about your fashion, not saying that you can’t do it, I just don’t want to hear about it. I want to hear about your music.”
When it came time to do the most recent interview however, it was Kanye who made the first move. “He hit me up back in February,” he recalled. “That’s why when everybody said this is a publicity stunt for his music, I don’t necessarily think so. I keep hearing the rhetoric of ‘Kanye West only talks to people when he got something to sell.’ Kanye was selling sneakers all last year. Everybody who is rocking Yeezy’s you didn’t hear from them.” Unfortunately, both of their schedule’s didn’t permit them to meet until Apr. 2018.
Fans who watched the nearly 2-hour conversation may have noticed that Charlamagne wasn’t exactly his usual punchy self, but that’s because the personality had a very laid back approach. “My approach to talking to everybody nowadays is just to have a conversation,” he explained. “One thing I’ve realized is that you never know what people are going through anymore. Even if you have an opinion, you can express your opinion but I strive to do it more respectfully nowadays.”
Charlamagne also admitted that the interview was not to demonize Kanye or interrogate him. By contrast, he genuinely wanted to check on Kanye’s wellbeing. “I just wanted to have a conversation with him because last we heard from him, he had a mental breakdown, a breakthrough in his words,” he continued. “To me, that’s something I take serious. By the way, this was April 18, so this was before the whole ‘I love Trump’ and MAGA hat. I did hear him say that he wanted to vote for Trump, but I wanted to know why.”
While he may not agree with everything Kanye has said in the last month, Charlamagne admitted he is a huge fan of Ye’s craft and concerned for him. “I’m a fan at the end of the day.”
Watch our exclusive interview with Charlamagne Tha God in the video above.