Kanye West gave a rambling, emotional and completely surprising acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs on Sunday night after Taylor Swift presented him with the Video Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. West commanded the stage after more than a minute of cheers, setting down his trophy and proceeding to speak for more than 10 minutes. But first, Swift revealed that she and the 38-year-old West had been friends ever since he interrupted her to praise Beyoncé at the same awards show in 2009. “Imma let you finish,” she joked, repeating West’s famous, meme-launching line from that night, before announcing: “Kanye West has had one of the greatest careers of all time.”
He wants to be president?
Despite earlier proclaiming: “I’m not no politician bro!” West clearly stated he’s going to run for the biggest office in the country in 2020. Wow, we did not see that coming. And we really didn’t guess it by his speech, either, even though he said: “You’ve probably guessed by this moment.” Judging from the look on her face, neither did his wife Kim Kardashian. If he wins, by the way, she’ll be first lady.
He’s always been hardcore
The depths of West’s obsessive creativity are well documented, but in her speech Swift reminded an audience of millions just how devoted he his: “Many of you may not remember that Kanye West wrote and recorded his first single with his jaw wired shut after a car accident. Or how he spent years studying the craft and art of fashion and even learnt to sew before launching his very own line that has been wildly successful.”
Swifty’s been a fan for a looooong time
"Kanye West's album College Dropout was the very first album my brother and I bought on iTunes when I was 12 years old … I have been a fan of his since I can remember, because Kanye defines what it is to be a creative force in music, fashion and, well, life."
He goes to the grocery store
And that’s where he communes with regular folk, winning America over one person at a time with casual banter about the various goods for sale. “When I’m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice, you know, and they say: ‘You’re not that bad, after all.’”
On interrupting Swift: “I think if I had to do it all again, what would I do different? Would I wear a leather shirt? Would I have drank half a bottle of Hennessy and given the other half to the audience? Ya’ll know y’all drank that bottle, too.”
He’s not afraid to bite the hand that feeds him
On his encounter with Swift six years ago and MTV capitalising on it ahead of the 2015 VMAs: “You know how many times MTV ran that footage again? Because it got more ratings? Do you know how many times they announced Taylor was gonna give me this award? Because it got more ratings?”
Beige track pants and oversized T-shirts: fine for the evening.
He still gets really upset about awards shows
"I don't understand how they get five people who worked their entire lives, sold records, sold concert tickets and, for the first time in their lives, stand on a red carpet and be judged and put on the chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser. I don't understand it, bro ... I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and CeeLo Green lose. Gnarls Barkley and the FutureSex/LoveSounds album, and bro, Justin, I'm not trying to put you on blast, but I saw that man in tears, bro. And I was thinking he deserved to win Album of the Year."
He cares what people think
“It crosses my mind a little bit, when I go to the baseball game and 60,000 people boo me, crosses my mind a little bit.” And later: “I’ve been conflicted, bro. I just wanted people to like me more.”