West spoke with the publication during a series of interviews, the first of which took place days after Bryant’s death in January. The 42-year-old recording artist called Bryant “one of my best friends,” and revealed that he lives near the site where the NBA legend and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died in a helicopter crash.
“So now there’s no way for me not to be determined as Kobe every time I drive down that street. It’s game time. There’s no move that we can’t make, or that we’ll wait to make. Everyone in our life is now a member of the Lakers on one of Kobe’s championship teams. The way that Kobe would say that we all have to come together and win this championship is the way I look at life now. To an infinite, other level.
“This was a game changer for me,” continued West. “He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’ facts! We got the commercials to prove it. No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together. And now it’s like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things but I’m not taking any mess for an answer now. We’re about to build a paradigm shift for humanity. We ain’t playing with ‘em. We bringing home the trophies.”
The interview included West’s political views, namely that he plans to vote for Trump, in part because the real estate market is “better now than when Obama was in office.”
“I’m definitely voting this time,” West proclaimed. “And we know who I’m voting on. And I’m not going to be told by the people around me, and the people that have their agenda, that my career is going to be over. Because guess what: I’m still here! ‘Jesus Is King‘ was No. 1! I was told my career would end if I wasn’t with her [Hilary Clinton]. What kind of campaign is that, anyway? That’s like if Obama’s campaign was like ‘I’m with black.’ What’s the point of being a celebrity if you can’t have an opinion? Everybody make their own opinion! You know?”
Speaking on being a born-again Christian, West explained that he was once serving his ego, “which his like working for the devil.” He has since turned his life over to Jesus and surrounds himself “with the highest level of healing possible: singing about Jesus Christ with my friends.” West went on to state that he’s a billionaire, but was discouraged from publicly claiming the title. “What is the point of being a billionaire if you can’t even say it out loud? We’re not completely free yet.”
The father of four also talked about his battle with alcoholism, not wanting to rap anymore (“I rapped for the devil so long that I didn’t even know how to rap for God”), and his infamous “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moment after Hurricane Katrina, which he now sees as a “victim statement.”
“This white person didn’t do something for us. That is stemmed in victim mentality. Every day I have to look in the mirror like I’m Robert De Niro and tell myself, ‘You are not a slave.’ As outspoken as I am, and the position that I am in, I need to tell myself.”