According to Kanye West, he wasn’t joking when he nearly crashed the stage ahead of Beck’s album of the year speech. For a moment, it looked like West would repeat his infamous Taylor Swift interruption at the 2009 VMAs, but he aborted with a smile.
On social media, many viewers believed it was a joke, but appearing after the Grammys on E!, West said he was for real — and he went on a rant to prove it. Appearing with his wife, Kim Kardashian, West said he believed Beyonce should have won in the category (as he said back in 2009).
“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists, to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more,” he said, upset that Beck beat Beyonce in the category. “And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”
He went on to say he and other artists were “tired” of being disrespected by the Grammys.
“Because when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in their face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration,” said West. “And we as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyonce album and they feel like it takes them to another place.”
He said the reason he decided not to crash the stage was out of consideration for his daughter, North, and his wife, as well as his clothing line.
“I’m not gonna do nothing to put my daughter at risk, but I am here to fight for creativity,” he said. “That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight, but you all know what it meant when Ye walked out on that stage!”
He also took issue with E!’s microphones, which displayed the network’s logo.
“Who designed these mics that you see? I took the E! off my mic. Okay, we know, it’s gonna be E! already! It’s gonna be E! at the bottom of the screen right here,” he said, pointing into the camera. “We need to step up the taste level across the board on all networks. So you can see these outfits! Never before in your lives have we witnessed such beauty. Now we have to keep complimenting that, from the people who produce these shows, from the Grammys to E! — respect artistry, respect visuals, beauty is important! I mean, the Kardashians wouldn’t be famous if beauty wasn’t important! It’s very, very important! The eyes, the eyes!”
He then had the afterparty special co-hosts Terrence Jenkins, Khloe Kardashian, Christina Milian and Zanna Roberts Rassi remove the E! logo from their mics. When Jenkins briefly protested, West told him, “They need you! Y’all are the personalities, E! needs y’all! The Kardashians have a percentage of E!. That’s what I’m saying, they need y’all!”
West was then asked to breakdown the designers of his outfit, which he did much more lightheartedly, and Kim recounted how he picked out her outfit for the night.
Before he and Kim left to catch a flight to New York, he said, “Don’t let them put that E! back on though!” (They did anyway, and Khloe told the panel that she responded to a text from West and sister Kim that they did so against their wishes.)
Feb. 9, 5 a.m. Updated with more quotes.