The public perception of Kanye West might be summed up as follows: his music’s great, but his world view ain’t.
In a wide-ranging interview on David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, West has powerfully pointed out this truth – the public demands West’s cutting-edge music but would prefer he shut up and be quiet otherwise.
Discussing his bi-polar diagnosis and how it affects his creativity, West said:
“Oh yeah, that’s just the reality. You know, if you guys want these crazy ideas and these crazy stages, this crazy music and this crazy way of thinking, there’s a chance it might come from a crazy person. [Laughs]”
It’s more complicated than that, of course. West has been known to make seriously inflammatory comments, the most damaging of all perhaps being that hundreds of years of enslavement of black people in America was a “choice”.
Nevertheless, Kanye’s point is worth reflecting on. In an age when we expect our musical artists to be utterly authentic, isn’t the mind who gave us Runaway, Flashing Lights and Father Stretch My Hands just giving the people what they want with his unfiltered, unpopular opinions?
In the preview of Kanye’s conversation with Letterman, which drops on Netflix on June 1 in Australia, the husband of Kim Kardashian wasn’t afraid to discuss his mental health.
“You can become almost more adolescent in your expression or border into places. This is my specific experience that I’ve had over the past two years, because I’ve only been diagnosed for two years now,” he said.
“There’s no dumb easy way to explain, it’s just something that you know we’re going to have to take time to understand,” West continued. “There’s things where you would’ve just locked your—you know, a hundred years ago they may have locked your uncle in the room…”
West, a father of four, also described his frightening experience being handcuffed and drugged upon being admitted to a mental health facility after having an episode.
“They handcuff you, they drug you, they put you on the bed, and they separate you from everyone you know,” he said. “That’s something that I am so happy that I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment … when you are in that state, you have to have someone you trust. It is cruel and primitive to do that.”