Most rappers are content to feud with other rappers, but Kanye West likes to aim bigger. He spent the last week exchanging words with former president George W. Bush via a series of interviews (though in the end, West established that he empathized with Bush), and over the past few days he has been involved in a flap with “Today” regarding how the show handled his interview with Matt Lauer (which was recorded a few days ago but aired on this morning’s episode).
Though West was game to answer any and all questions that Lauer had, he was put off by two production elements over the course of the conversation. When discussing his 2005 comment that the former president didn’t care about black people (which Bush referred to as “disgusting” and “a low point” during his presidency), Lauer asked West to watch the recording of Bush talking about the incident. “I didn’t need you to show me the tape,” West snapped. “I didn’t need you guys to prompt my emotions.”
That conversation segued into a discussion of the incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards that saw West hop on stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video. While talking about being labeled a racist himself, the producers ran the footage of the event under West’s answer, which also upset him. “How am I supposed to talk with this running under?” West asked in the middle of his answer. “Please don’t let that happen again. It’s ridiculous.”
Following a series of upset tweets from West (wherein he expressed his frustration with the way they handled the tape), Lauer defended himself, telling the home audience, “There was nothing improper or unusual about it.”
For his part, West has decided to take himself out of the interview game for a while. “I’ve decided to fall back a bit on interviews in order to ‘sell my album.’ I can’t come up with some magic trick to make people like me,” he tweeted. Later, he added, “I am a creative person. I’m not a good celebrity but I’m a great artist. I’m tired of using my celebrity to sell my art.”
Was Kanye West right to get frustrated on “Today”? Let us know in the comments!