God On Yeezus: Charlamagne Talks Challenging Kanye On The Breakfast Club
November 27, 2013 - 5:29 pm
He’s saying to design at a Raf Simons or Versace level, he needs the best and to pay for the best he needs money and access. According to him, the gatekeepers aren’t giving him the access, thus no power.
Tommy Hillfiger isn’t even on a Versace level. I just read Mark Ecko’s book, where he says Tommy Hillfiger told him he’d never be a Ralph Lauren and Mark Ecko told him, ‘But you’re not even a Ralph.’ It’s like, who cares? You’ve got to build your chessboard. You can’t compare your level of success to other people’s level of success. I just don’t think he has a plan. When somebody asks what do you want to be in 10 years and you say Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Michael Angelo, you don’t know what you want to do. You can’t talk to the universe like that. You have to be specific with the universe. 10 years ago he said he wanted to be the greatest rapper, an icon. He was specific about it and became that. But guess what? He wants to be Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and Michael Angelo; my brother, you ain’t even conquer the world of hip-hop yet. Let’s be clear! Kanye ain’t Jay-Z. Kanye hasn’t accomplished what Diddy has accomplished, what Baby has accomplished. He’s on his way, but he’s 36. Those guys are in their forties. It didn’t happen overnight for Jay. Jay put himself in position for these things to happen. That’s what Kanye has to keep doing, but now he’s putting himself out of position. What corporation is going to put you in position when you’re barking at them?
Why do you feel Kanye isn’t Jay-Z right now?
Hmm. Why is he not Jay-Z? That’s a good question. My personal opinion is it’s his attitude. Not only is Jay the best rapper on the planet, Jay’s a nice guy. Not only is Jay a nice guy, he tells you exactly where he is in his life on every album. Kanye has yet to tell any stories? Do we really know how he feels about his mother’s passing? Do we really know how he feels about North West? The difference is Jay-Z show and proves with actions and deeds and Kanye show and proves with words and lip service.
You’re tough. Getting back to the interview, Kanye walks in and…
He gives me a pound. That was the last time he looked me in the eye until the interview was over.
Ha! I saw that. Wasn’t that planned?
After the interview, I said we should stare at each other. He’s like ‘Yeah, like me and 50 Cent [on the Rolling Stone cover] Then he says, ‘You know the whole time my plan was not to look at you.’ There’s a picture I posted on Instagram of us laughing. That’s what we’re laughing at.
Do you feel ‘Ye’s obsession is only money or the evening out of wealth and its power?
Bonsu, check this out: Black people were oppressed for 400 years. We’re not going to catch up to people who are 200 years ahead of us. We need to realize that here in America we’re first and second generation millionaires. 15-20 years from now, there’s going to be more generational wealth amongst African-Americans. We just got our first black president; we’re just beginning to own NBA teams. We’re just starting to put ourselves in position, but like I said, you can’t compare your success to others.
OK, but you can’t deny that blacks, at every level, are still being treated, somewhat, as slaves. For a designer to tell a black rapper that he can’t attend anyone else’s show––when he wouldn’t demand the same of any equal in fashion––or Puma to say we’re trying to find a way to control you screams white entitlement and plantation psychology.
I don’t think it has anything to do with racism. I’ve been doing radio for 16 years. I’ve had program directors say ‘We need to control you,’ or ‘We need to make sure you’re not out of control.’ That’s not a black thing. That is Charlamagne has a reputation of slandering these artists or barking on the police. They have to protect their license. They don’t want to be fined by the FCC. So if Kanye goes on stage and curses out all these corporations, he’s messing up business. If we’re in business together, you’re not going on stage to mess up my business.
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You don’t see any plausibility in what Kanye feels is trailblazing or even activism?
Only because he’ll be like we need more black ownership then say ‘cause Louis Vuitton wouldn’t take a meeting with me, don’t go to Louis Vuitton in Atlanta. Meanwhile people are protesting over Stop & Frisk, Trayvon’s family is still out here fighting for justice, but you want to use your voice to tell people not to go to Louis Vuitton because they wouldn’t take a meeting with you? How self-serving is that? Not, ‘Don’t go to Barneys because they’re racial-profiling.’
Can’t argue there.
Kanye’s going around telling people he can’t do this or that because they won’t let him. That’s not the Kanye we’ve known over the past 10 years. The Kanye we knew would do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. He was on Sway’s show saying he lost $13 million of his money to start a clothing line. He should’ve learned from the white man and, instead of using his money, got investors. He’s just confusing. Like when he says he doesn’t listen to old people. Who don’t listen to old people? The know-it-all knows nothing. Kanye is not some great intellectual. He’s a smart dude who is lost because of the industry.
Did you hear about him calling out Google head Eric Smidt to sponsor DONDA at Saturday’s show?
He’s begging! That’s wack! All I ask is that Kanye stop acting like what he’s going through is a plight for all black people. One does not have anything to do with the other. Truth of the matter is even if one of these corporations backs you, you’re still not going to be an owner. You’re still going to be working for Adidas and Universal Def Jam or AEG or Live Nation when you go on tour. So stop with the BS. Kim doesn’t own !E. And to denounce real revolutionaries like Barack Obama, real people who are going to be in the history books in the future is wack. Money does not evoke change. Martin didn’t have money. Malcolm didn’t have money. Elijah Muhammad didn’t have money. They still created movements.
Martin and Malcolm still produced niche change. Martin essentially benefited off of America’s marketing because he had the non-threatening message. I honestly feel Kanye is trying to reach more people, more racial ground than Malcolm and Martin. That’s why he’s so fixated on raising capital to fund this never-before-won war.
This is crazy that we’re even using Kanye’s name in the same sentence with these guys. They were really…
You’re right. It is borderline blasphemy. I’m saying while I agree ‘Ye’s agenda is a bit self-serving…he used the word “marginalized” a lot over the past two days and what it seems like is because he’s not risking his life the Che Guevera way, you’re marginalizing him as a revolutionary.
But Bonsu, what’s the revolution?
The revolution is equality. True revolutionaries don’t fight for causes with deadlines in mind. It’s about the progress because the revolution normally outlives the revolutionary. His fight is to even the playing field.
The playing field is never going to be even because they have us by 200 years.
But imagine if Malcolm or Martin would’ve thought like that. There would be no Barack 40 years later!
No, I’m with you on that. But Kanye’s not leveling the playing field. Oprah is with OWN. Diddy is with Revolt. Michael Jordan is by owning the Hornets. Magic Johnson is by owning the Dodgers. Jay owns Roc Nation. Kanye doesn’t even know what he wants to own. He keeps talking about slaves, but he keeps begging to be accepted by his master. He’s begging for white privilege to accept him and embrace him. So if they do accept him, the fight’s over. ‘Time to go home. I’m in so we’re good.’
He’s definitely not saying he wants to be accepted by white privilege to forget about blacks.
Man he told y’all ‘I only care about God and my family. I care about North West being able to eat.’ Not once did he say he wanted to create any jobs for black people. Not in one interview will you find him saying that.
So you don’t remember his DONDA rant on Twitter?
What he say?
He was talking about building a creative empire to serve as an incubator for visionaries like himself. He said plainly that he wants to create jobs. He also said he was the next Steve Jobs [Laughs]
Well guess what? Visionaries are creating their own jobs. You don’t see Tyler The Creator complaining. You don’t see Mac Miller complaining. They’re making their own TV shows and movies and putting them online. They’re not waiting for any billionaire backing. I don’t know what Kanye is waiting for.
So after the interview, he seemed a bit warmer. What was the off-air conversation like?
Well on-air I said he didn’t have any real dudes in his circle so he walked outside to the dudes he had waiting for him and he said ‘What’s up my non-real niggas.’
Ha! Was Don out there?
Nah, I didn’t know who these dudes were. I was trying to get their names so I could put them on blast this morning. I mean, nobody real gonna let you jump out there like he does. He says the most outlandish stuff. He said Kim Kardashian is more influential than Michele Obama. Like what are you on?
Do you realize you got Sway spazzed on?
Now that’s super corny. How you scream on Sway? Sway’s like the nicest guy in the world. Sway didn’t say anything to him that me or anybody else hasn’t said to him: empower yourself. But that struck a nerve cause he lost $13 million.