An award show isn’t quite an award show without a Kanye West moment to spice things up, and at this year’s Grammy Awards, he delivered on the goods. Sure, Yeezus took the stage twice to perform never-before-seen material—a solo set for “Only One” and with Rihanna and Paul McCartney for “FourFiveSeconds”—but neither of those aren’t the golden moment we’re referring to.
To the surprise (and chagrin) of many, Beyonce actually did not take home the Best Album win she was expected to snag. Instead of Blue Ivy inheriting another golden sippy cup for her mom’s self-titled surprise album (you know, the one that literally broke the internet), Beck’s Morning Phase beat out Beyonce, with Ed Sheeran’s X, Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour and Pharrell’s G I R L.
While viewers at home and in the building grimaced, ‘Ye felt the spirit of 2009 VMA’s past and stormed the stage, prepared to grab the mic during Beck’s acceptance speech and insist that Beyonce deserved the coveted award. But he stopped short once he got there and turned back around with a chuckle. Collective viewer thoughts ranged from being excitedly instigating Kanye’s next controversial moment to relief that he was only “joking.”
Jay Z and Beyonce were visibly mortified at the possibility of witnessing Beck get Taylor Swift’d. That is, until they saw the humor in the act, right?
Wrong. A later post-show interview with E! would reveal that no parts of Ye’s almost-stunt was a joke. He was dead serious. Kanye said what a lot of people where more than likely thinking, and he spared none of the bark and bite that polarizes his fans and critics.
“The Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us,” he said before having all four E! news correspondents remove the company logos from the mics. “We ain’t gonna play with them no more. ‘Flawless,’ Beyoncé video. Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé, and at this point, we tired of it. Because what happens is, when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in their face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration.”
He continued by explaining why he decided not to go through with the would-be controversial moment live on stage.
“We as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place,” he said. “Then they [the show’s producers] do this whole promotional event, they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want commercial advertising. Like, no, we not playing with them no more. By the way, I got my wife, my daughter and my clothing line, so I’m not going to do nothing to put my daughter at risk but I am here to fight for creativity. That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight. But you all know what it meant when ‘Ye walks on the stage.”
Preach, ‘Ye. Was Kanye right this time around?