US president reiterates September 2009 statement, also says West is “very talented.”
Speaking to a reporter for The Atlantic during a New York fundraiser, US President Barack Obama was asked his preference between Watch The Throne collaborators Jay-Z and Kanye West. The head of state replied in favor of New York’s own Jay-Z.
“I like Kanye. He’s a Chicago guy,” Obama added, referring to the city he himself calls home. “Smart. He’s very talented.”
The reporter asked Obama to clarify. “Even though you called him a jackass?”
“He is a jackass. But he’s talented.”
The US president had previously, in September 2009, called West a “jackass” in the wake of the rapper’s interruption of a Taylor Swift acceptance speech at MTV’s 2009 Video Music Awards, an event for which the musician took much flak. That remark was caught during an off-air moment while Obama was recording an interview with CNBC. The characterization has dogged West ever since.