If you happen to be one of the 9.82 million subscribers to the largest podcast on planet earth, you’d know that Kanye West is a bucket list guest for Joe Rogan and his Joe Rogan Experience.
Well dreams came true for Rogan on Saturday with the release of his interview with West, and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as one might have thought. In fact, if you can accept Kanye’s religious beliefs and his self-confidence presenting as arrogance, you’ll find that this is one of the best interviews he’s ever given.
Admittedly, the first 30-40 minutes of the interview were the weakest points for ‘Ye. West talked endlessly without interjection about why he decided to run for president, conversations with Oprah, comparisons to Ronald Reagan, and the parallels between the music industry and government. While much of his soliloquy was hard to follow, West made some very cogent points, especially with regards to the similarities in corruption between the music industry and government.
Around the 40-minute mark Rogan seemed to realize that his interview was derailing, or at the very least hard to follow, and reigned Kanye in with questions about his mental health, medication, and how he thinks.
“Whenever anybody talks about you to me,” Rogan told West, “they say, ‘he’s all over the place. And I say, ‘I think that he’s got a different power source.’ Like, if you look at the way everybody interfaces with the world, if there’s a universal power, most people have a 20-watt charger. The way I describe you, I say, ‘I think that motherf*cker has got like a 150-watt charger and these ideas are just coming at him,” to which West seemingly agreed.
“So you do go on these rants,” Rogan continued, “that sometimes need to be dissected into individual things, but overall, you’re incredibly productive. So my question is, why do people think there’s something wrong with you?”
It was at his point that Kanye gave a proper answer to the question that millions have asked rhetorically over the years.
“I think very three-dimensionally. I don’t think in the black and white lines that I’ve been programmed to think in, and I think in full color. So when I talk I have to describe a thought in five ways.”
While that answer does seem a bit metaphorical, given the full context of the interview, it makes more sense to the viewer as they power their way through the three-hour conversation—assuming, of course, that they can ignore their preconceived notions for the time being to accurately assess Kanye’s beliefs and thought process.
Halfway through the JRE, Kanye shows a bit of self-awareness during a laughable moment where he acknowledges his tendency to go off on tangents. Then, later on in the interview, West actually spills the beans on a soundstage project in Atlanta, GA that he claims he was not supposed to mention.
“I also, in the past couple months, have been going to Atlanta for two days a week or three days a week because I’m building this 120,000—oh I’m not supposed to say that I’m building—we’re building a soundstage.”
Possibly Kanye’s strongest portion of the episode, however, came in the final hour when he and Rogan discussed racism, his net worth, and his thoughts on the national budget, foreign policy, and meeting with foreign leaders.
“When I meet with leaders in Africa, when I meet with leaders in, uh—I didn’t really have a good next thing, I wanted to sound good and like name another,” ‘Ye joked in one of the more laughable and personable portions of the interview.
His point was clearly articulated here, however. After that self-aware moment, West discussed how he met with the President of Haiti and learned more about how aid to the country following disastrous hurricanes actually put them in a worse spot. He told Rogan how he envisioned foreign aid that was more beneficial to the people it is intended to help, and sets them up for future success.
During this portion of the interview he also touched upon race relations and how Black Americans are seldom selected for board positions with major companies, and specifically his partnership with Gap Inc.
“Michael Jordan had to break down walls and Michael Jackson had to breakdown walls for us to break down the next walls, and the next walls are the board room. Because you know what the board room is? It’s an opinion. See, people are fine for [black people] to play basketball and, you know, rap, and make clothes. But, society as it’s set up is not really used to, or fine with us, actually having an opinion,” he asserted.
“And I can understand why, because what is our opinion based on if we grew up thinking we were slaves? If our opinion isn’t based on, ‘Hey my dad taught me how to run this company,’ you know my dad is smarter than me and everything he wanted to do, black people thought he was crazy. And he had to do it with white people who thought he was incompetent because he was black.”
This moment of self-reflection showed insight into West’s thought process for how he would build his entrepreneurial empire. He took it upon himself to help break down the barriers that Black Americans face in this country, doing things that many thought, and still think to this day, were impossible.
“I was working with a guy that’s helping me build some of [my] factories, you know, he’s an older white gentleman…And he just matter-of-factly says… ‘Adidas will never put you on the board.’ And I’m like, ‘this wall has to come down… How could you not have the guy that has the best ideas [on the board].'”
Whether you’re a Kanye diehard or can’t stomach the guy, one thing is clear: He believes he is trying his best to break down racial barriers in a country that has historically struggled with such issues. One may disagree with his approach, or maybe even hate the way he carries himself, but this podcast showed a different side of Kanye that many may have not seen, and it is totally worth a watch.
Check out the entire podcast below, and head to the PowerfulJRE YouTube page for the latest episodes as they become available.
Joe Rogan Experience #1554 – Kanye West