For the lazy folk.
VIBE: What up sir?
Again, great work yesterday. You were definitely prepared, but loved the way you kept your pivot.
Thank you, man. You know what’s funny? Everybody kept saying ‘You were
prepared,’ but I’m a fan of the culture. We all sit back and hear
Kanye’s rants and interviews and wonder what happened to our guy.
When did you first hear that you were going to interview Kanye?
Friday [the station] hit me and said Kanye would be coming to the
station [on Monday] at 10am. My reply back was ‘Yeah, right. I’ll
believe it when I see it.’ That was literally my reply back, and I
didn’t think nothing else of it. On Sunday, we got a call from Def Jam
like ‘Kanye’s not going to do the interview unless you go see his show.’
I was like ‘I’m going to watch my Cowboys play the Giants.’ [Laughs
] I would love to interview him, but I’m not beat. Angela Yee ended up going to the show and he ended up coming.
To be honest, what Angela said about the show making you
appreciate the Yeezus album a little more is true. So were the Cowboys
the only reason you were against seeing the show?
I’m not on the Yeezus
tip right now. He put out an album that
didn’t shift the culture at all. He talks about it being a conversation
piece and polarizing, but everything that comes out, whether it’s a TV
show or book, is polarizing. So for that to be the selling point of his
album is not good. That’s regular. Saw the “Glow In The Dark
Tour”––amazing. Saw the “Watch The Throne Tour”––amazing. Just wasn’t
. Rather go see my Cowboys.
Kanye walks in for his interview. What’s his energy like?
First thing the label people asked was, ‘Charlamagne, you going to be
nice today? ‘Absolutely not,’ was my response. Nice to them is me
throwing softball questions and stroking his ego. That’s not what I do.
I’m either a fan or a disgruntled fan. With ‘Ye I was a disgruntled fan.
All year this guy has turned me off. I’m looking at him like ‘Who is
this guy?’ What is your agenda? If you’re upset because they won’t allow
you into the fashion world, that’s a Kanye West plight. That’s not a
black people plight. How does you not getting into the fashion world
effect us as a community?
It is his plight, but it seems as if he’s trying to motivate the same way he did on College Dropout,
where he spoke on folks wanting to him to only produce and not rap. Now
he’s a superstar rapper but still an artist who still wants to create
and be more. As on Dropout, he’s saying don’t let them tell you what you can’t be. He feels they’re putting him in a box, so…
He put himself in a box! You said he’s telling us not to let anybody
tell us what we can’t be, but he’s allowing them to tell him what he
can’t be. Kanye West is one of the most powerful people in music. He’s a
multi-millionaire, has tons of resources. Why can’t he do what Jay-Z
did? Why can’t he do what Diddy did? If you don’t want to have an urban
brand, don’t make an urban brand!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
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. 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
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
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
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
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 Brothas.’
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.
Edited by Random Thoughts - Nov 28 2013 at 3:58am