Leave it to Kanye West to upstage pretty much any major music industry event, which he did again last night (June 26) during a Lifetime Achievement award presentation for Sean “Diddy” Combs. West delivered an unannounced five-plus-minute speech at the show while wearing a heavy leather jacket, baseball cap, sunglasses and a black mask covering his entire face, a bizarre look he began sporting in public last year.
West, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, mentioned Combs’ penchant for altering his nom de plume and saluted his influence on his own music. He recalled being present while Combs filmed the video for his hit 1997 song “I’ll Be Missing You” and said Combs was his “favorite artist at the time.”
“Back then, there was so many rules to hip-hop and he broke all of them,” West said. “Understood contracts in a way a lot of us still don’t. Understood money in a way a lot of us still don’t. I go to him for advice to this day. He inspired so many of my choices. So many of my life choices. My wife choices. And here we are. Thanks for that, Puff.”
West couldn’t resist getting weird, as he correlated taking nitrous oxide while at a dental appointment to the concept of changing one’s name. “I wouldn’t suggest it if anybody is stressed out,” West said. “And I thought, I know how it is to want to change your name. You might know him as Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs. But when it’s hitting a certain point, I thought at the end of it, all is love — all of it. All we have is love. In Jesus’ name, bring out Love.”
West’s appearance came after a star-studded tribute to Combs featuring Nas, Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim, Busta Rhymes, Faith Evans and Jodeci as well as video speeches by Jay-Z and Babyface.