Kanye West believes he has a similar personality to Nat Turner, who led a slave uprising in Virginia in 1831.
The rapper sat down for a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times about his new album Ye, his support for President Donald Trump and his controversial statement that slavery “sound like a choice.”
When asked about the slavery comments he made while visiting TMZ in May, West said his statements were misunderstood.
“I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds — sounds — like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice. I never said slavery itself — like being shackled in chains — was a choice.”
He continued: “That’s why I went from slave to 400 years to mental prison to this and that. If you look at the clip you see the way my mind works.”
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West faced immediate backlash after the TMZ interview.
He told The Times he learned from the experience, then compared himself to Nat Turner.
“I learned so much. I learned about the context of the idea of the word slave,” he said. “I didn’t take it in that context. I think that my personality and energy mirrors Nat Turner, or it had in the past, but that showed me that also that Nat Turner approach would land me in the same place Nat Turner landed, and that I would be legendary but also just a martyr. But I guess we’re all martyrs eventually, and we’re all guaranteed to die.”
As for his support of President Donald Trump, West said many celebrities back the president.
“I felt that I knew people who voted for Trump that were celebrities that were scared to say that they liked him. But they told me, and I liked him, and I’m not scared to say what I like. Let me come over here and get in this fight with you,” he explained.
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Still, the Stronger rapper admits he was taken to task for backing Trump.
“Man, I had my [expletive] [expletive] castrated: ‘You have to like Hillary. That’s got to be your choice.’”
He said it’s unfair that he was expected to support Hillary Clinton simply because of his race.
“Because you’re black, because you make very sensitive music, because you’re a very sensitive soul, it was like an arranged marriage or something. And I’m like, that’s not who I want to marry. I don’t feel that. I believe that I’m actually a better father because I got my [expletive] voice back, I’m a better artist because I got my voice back,” he said. “I was living inside of some universe that was created by the mob-thought, and I had lost who I was, so that’s when I was in the sunken place. You look in my eyes right now—you see no sunken place.”