Kanye West has clarified his notorious slavery comments in an interview with the New York Times.
"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," Kanye explained. "I never said slavery itself—like being shackled in chains—was a choice. 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."
Here's what he said to TMZ earlier this year.
"When you hear about slavery for 400 years … that sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally in prison. I like the word prison, because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks. It’s like slavery, Holocaust, Holocaust, Jews. Slavery is blacks. So prison is something that unites us as one race … the human race."
His original comments were widely interpreted as an argument that those who were literally enslaved made a "choice" to stay in their shackles. And Kanye did nothing to dissuade that notion at the time.
But the "400 years" he started with should have tipped everyone off that maybe that wasn't what he was inarticulately trying to argue.
400 years is the period of time the first slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia (1619) to today. If you think about his comments that way, it becomes clearer that he was talking about what he thinks is a "choice" black people have made to continue to focus on slavery in the present day.
That's a perspective many folks will still disagree with. But it's less controversial and better reasoned than saying it's a slave's fault he is enslaved.
In the same New York Times interview, West confirmed that Drake wrote the hook to the Ye track "Yikes" and also had a verse on the original, unreleased version of the track.
He also explained Ye's odd opener, "I Thought About Killing You."
"Oh yeah, I've thought about killing myself all the time. It's always an option and [expletive]. Like Louis C.K. said: I flip through the manual. I weigh all the options."
Later, he added: "I'm just having this epiphany now, 'cause I didn't do it, but I did think it all the way through. But if I didn't think it all the way through, then it's actually maybe more of a chance of it happening."
What do you think about that, and Kanye's clarification of his slavery remarks?