Mr. West, whose Yeezy line is partnered with Adidas, has long harbored a grudge against Nike for failing to empower him within the company after he designed a successful Nike shoe. “I love Nike — I loved Nike. I had to put the -ed on it for the stockholders,” he said. “It was heartbreaking for me to have to leave Nike, but they refused to allow me to get royalty on my shoe and I knew I had the hottest shoe in the world.”
But he addressed the company’s chief executive, Mark Parker, with some regret. “I just got to speak out as a parent and apologize to this man for ever speaking ill on his name and his company,” Mr. West said. “Because he gave me that shot.”
As for Puma, another possible partner, Mr. West said: “The dude that didn’t sign me at Puma definitely needs to lose his job. I’m not going to say his name but, can you imagine?”
On his fractured relationship with Barack Obama
Mr. West spoke at length about his relationship with the former president, which was damaged after a video leaked in 2009 in which Mr. Obama, reacting to Mr. West’s infamous outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards that year, referred to the rapper as a “jackass.” Mr. West traced his relationship with the former president back to its roots in their shared home of Chicago, where he says Mr. Obama, while still a senator, visited him and his mother to ask for support. “I am his favorite artist of all time. Because I am the greatest artist of all time. It only makes sense — he’s got good taste,” Mr. West said.
Mr. West expressed resentment that Mr. Obama never called him to apologize after the video went public, but he also made an attempt at magnanimity. “Nobody’s perfect,” he said. “I love Obama. I’m sure we’ll hang out, go to Richard Branson’s island. It’ll be cool. I just think that we were in a period where he had so much stuff to do that he couldn’t deal with a wild card like me.”
It irked Mr. West that Mr. Obama maintained relationships with other members of the hip-hop elite. “I’m your favorite artist,” he said. “You played ‘Touch the Sky’ at your inauguration. And now all of a sudden Kendrick and Jay, all the people you invited to the White House, now these your favorite rappers now?”