Kanye West Remembers That One Time R. Kelly Almost Signed Him

INDIO, CA - APRIL 15: Rapper Kanye West performs onstage with A$AP Rocky during day 1 of the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Club on April 15, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

Update: Working with Ikea is one dream Kanye West will have to put on hold for now. The furniture brand responded to his collaboration offer with a polite “no” in a statement to CNBC.

“Although we are really flattered by Kanye West’s high interest in IKEA and the speculation around a joint venture, we have no plans to collaborate at this point in time,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

On Sunday, Kanye West spoke with BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac for his first full interview since Kim Kardashian West’s Snapchat coup. As he’s wont to do, the artist spent the majority of the session “dreaming out loud” — his euphemism for delivering soliloquies, as opposed to participating in a standard interview.

West reiterated some of his plans during the 30-minute talk: bringing fashion to Payless ShoeSource, making furniture for Ikea, and his upcoming Saint Pablo tour. He also managed to synopsize his relationship with his critics.

“People say, ‘Kanye he’s so crazy, he’s this, he’s that,'” West said in the conversation. “People call you crazy so much you start to believe it yourself. You say, ‘You know? Maybe I shouldn’t have all these dreams and aspirations. Maybe I should’ve given up on life 10 years ago and stop fighting for my truth…'” After listing his artistic accomplishments, he went on to say, “I don’t feel crazy anymore. It could be either one of two things that’s happened: Either I’m crazy or everybody else is.”

He also shared a small glimpse of his struggles before he became a renowned superstar. He claimed that he almost got signed by fellow Chi-Town icon R. Kelly. The topic came up when West remembered how the music messed up at the start of his Glastonbury 2015 performance.

“It put me back in the position of when I was in high school and I got fired from my job, or when I played my music for R. Kelly and he told me he was going to sign me,” West said. “Then three months later I didn’t have any money, I couldn’t afford a haircut, I couldn’t take my girlfriend to the movies and I’m still in my momma’s bedroom, working on beats and I was that close to being signed by R. Kelly.”

Lastly, West’s 2020 presidential campaign is still on, although he’s neither declaring Democrat nor Republican.

“When I talk about the idea of being president, I’m not saying I have any political views,” West said. “I just have a view on humanity, on people, on the truth. We are numb, we’re numb to 500 kids getting killed in Chicago a year, we’re numb to the fact that it was seven police shootings in the beginning of July. If there is anything that I can do with my time and my day, to somehow make a difference while I’m alive I’m going to try to do it.”

Listen to the conversation in full here.


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