The new season of David Letterman’s Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, has arrived and its first episode guest is one of the biggest stars in the world. Snippets of Letterman’s conversation with superstar rapper-producer Kanye West have trickled out all over the past few weeks and now, the full, hour-long interview is available for streaming. The duo discuss a wide range of topics, from Kanye’s beef with Drake to his relationship with his dad and his obsession with James Turrell, and touch on Kanye’s recent bipolar diagnosis and support of Donald Trump, showing just how wild his 2018 really was, in his own words.
At one point, Kanye describes feeling connected to the universe whenever he “ramps up,” comparing having bipolar disorder to having “a sprained brain” and lamenting society’s poor treatment of folks with mental health issues. He also briefly touches on the “Me Too” movement, decrying the climate of fear he feels it generated among famous and powerful men, to some pushback from Letterman, who pondered how much more fearful the women coming forward must feel.
Kanye and Dave also get into a semi-heated debate about the nature of Kanye’s support of Trump, with Dave wondering, “If I see a person I admire talking about ‘Donald Trump can think whatever he does,’ I wonder if those thoughts indirectly aren’t hurting people who are already being hurt.” Dave empathizes with why some people say they voted for Trump — wanting a businessman to run the nation like a business — but points out that those are the very people who are being hurt, not by what Kanye calls “bullying,” but by the administration they voted for.
The full interview gives plenty of insight into Kanye’s state of mind over the past year: He certainly makes some excellent points about the ready availability of mental health drugs for people who aren’t famous television show hosts, while his diagnosis of the “Me Too” movement seems off-the-mark. In all, it’s a prime example of why Letterman was long considered one of the best talk show hosts in the business, giving Kanye plenty of time to talk — but not letting him dominate the conversation.
You can watch the full episode on Netflix.