Kanye West gave his Kanye Best last Saturday at Saturday Night Live, performing two new songs, getting in a rap battle with Kyle Mooney, and then hyper-energetically announcing that his new album The Life Of Pablo was available for download "right now raiiiiaghgiaiiigh." But things weren't quite as smooth backstage: the Post reported that West had an "epic meltdown" minutes before the show started, and now the Post has put up leaked audio of said meltdown, which you can hear below.
This really isn't much of a "rant"—West practically turned rants into an art form over the course of the Yeezus tour in 2013, and this doesn't rank anywhere near those odes to Nikola Tesla and corporate branding—nor does West sound like he's yelling that much. He sounds frustrated by the situation, sure, but it ends up skewing more toward the funny/charming side of the spectrum, not that you'd get that vibe based on the Post's sensational headlines.
In the clip, West can be heard complaining ("Now I'm bummed") about SNL messing with the stage he was to perform in front of later in the show. He refers to the fact that he was planning to announce the album release at the end of the show ("We're breaking the motherfucking Internet") and something about Taylor Swift being fake. Then comes the real meat of the clip:
“Are they fucking crazy? [Bro] by 50 percent [I am more influential than] Stanley Kubrick, Picasso, Apostle Paul, fucking Picasso and Escobar. By 50 percent, more influential than any other human being. Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me. By 50 percent dead or alive, by 50 percent for the next 1,000 years. Stanley Kubrick, ‘Ye.”
To be fair, you'd do a lot of cocaine too if you were married to a Kardashian. pic.twitter.com/pZaLuFsGng
— brandon wenerd (@brandonwenerd) February 17, 2016
Putting aside the fact that "Stanley Kubrick, 'Ye" is a GREAT way to end a conversation, the Post's source claims that West focused his rage at the SNL production staff, and that he was calling them "white motherfuckers," something which isn't heard in the leaked clips.
A source told us, "It was like he was having an emotional breakdown. He was calling the crew ‘white motherfuckers’ and then said he was going to walk out. The only thing that stopped him from actually leaving right then was that nobody had access to the freight elevator. If he’d walked out on the live show, it would have been a disaster. And the whole meltdown was just because of the floor. ”
A second source told them that, "Kim, who was in the audience with Kylie Jenner, had to come down. Lorne had to personally talk to Kanye. There were a few really tense minutes...He freaked out about how the set was arranged. He was saying he’s ‘the greatest artist.’ He’s having regular meltdowns. Everyone’s walking on eggshells around him. He’s under a lot of stress between the new album and the fashion line."
My number one enemy has been my ego… there is only one throne and that’s God's …
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 17, 2016
Both TMZ and Complex have some conflicting reports on the details of the brouhaha: TMZ reports that everything went down 30 minutes before going live when producers "removed almost half of Kanye's set for aesthetics." They also say that West "threatened to walk and angrily vented, but only to HIS team...never to SNL honchos," and he spoke with Lorne Michaels, who agreed to put the set back together.
Complex's source adds that West felt blindsided by the sudden changes, and everybody left on good terms after the show: "This audio was secretly recorded while he was venting his frustration in a private moment with his team. He found out his stage design was changed and taken apart under the direction of the show's lighting director without anyone's approval. He had spent an entire day rehearsing and a lot of hard work into the performance."
So the real question we're wondering now is: who amongst West's team broke the Kanye omerta and leaked the audio?
The world is a better place with @kanyewest in it .
— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) February 17, 2016
This leaked clip is the cherry on top of what has been a very bipolar week for West. In addition to the long-awaited release of Pablo, there were more tweetstorms, vague promises of a physical/official album release, publicly begging Mark Zuckerberg for $53 million, and multiple People articles dealing with Kim Kardashian's disappointment in his "Twitter drama," the couple's extensive home renovations, and unnamed "longtime friends" speculating on his mental health.
And then there were all the late night hosts, including Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, who had some fun at this "visionary toddler's" expense. At least Colbert is really onboard for his "Emoji auto-correct" idea.