At around 10:30 on Thursday morning, the crew heading up the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York City reportedly received word of any event organizer’s nightmare: Kanye West had just confirmed that he would indeed be attending the festival in less than two and a half hours. True to his word, West arrived at 12:45 and proceeded to have a 40-minute conversation with the writer Mark Wilson and the Yeezy shoe designer Steven Smith which—on an entertainment level, anyway—did not disappoint.
The question isn’t so much what West talked about, but what didn’t he talk about over the course of that 40-minute block. Let’s start with Yeezy—which, according to West, is now the “Apple of apparel.” It’s also now apparently based in Cody, Wyoming, on a 4,000-acre ranch. “We’re going to be farming and going seed to sow and have our own cotton, hydroponic farm, hemp farm, and wheat farm,” he said, adding that the company is looking into moving all of its manufacturing to North and South America and reimagining a more sustainable version of its dyes. In other semi-sustainability related news: They’re also planning to grow and create foam from algae on the farm, which will apparently be incorporated into the soles of those infamous new Yeezy crocs.
Naturally, West also raised the topic of his potential bid for presidency. “When I run for president in 2024,” he began, at which point—in an echo of Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner’s appearance at the Emmys—a portion of the audience erupted into laughter. Apparently flummoxed, West paused and asked, “What y’all laughing at?”
Nevertheless, he persisted. “When I run for president in 2024,” West continued, “we would create so many jobs that I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk. What I’m saying is, when y’all read headlines—’Kanye’s crazy,’ this and that—one in three African Americans are in jail and all the celebrities are in jail also ’cause they can’t say nothing, they got no opinion, they’re so scared!” (As Complex noted, the statistic he cited was inaccurate.)
West also made it clear that Forbes‘s recent move to deny ranking him on its list of the richest artists in hip-hop is still fresh on his mind. “When I did Forbes, I showed them a $890 million receipt and they still didn’t say ‘billionaire.’ They don’t want us to know that we can buy land. They don’t want us to have the 100 percent ownership I have at Yeezy.” To West, it was a move with historical precedent: “Martin Luther King didn’t get killed because he had a dream; he had something else he was gonna to talk about: black empowerment, economic empowerment.”
Returning to the topic a few minutes later, he kicked things up another notch: “When people say it’s crass to call yourself a billionaire, I say I might legally change my name to ‘Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West’ for a year until y’all understand exactly what it is,” he proclaimed. “It will be on the license plate.”
In case you missed it, that was just a portion of Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West’s spontaneous two-day tour of wreaking havoc across New York. Perhaps inspired by a trip to the newly redesigned Museum of Modern Art, around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, West reportedly hatched a plan to rent out a Burberry store and throw a party that very night. Somehow, it all came together, serving as a screening for the music video of his new song “Follow God” and a chance for West to spread the news of Yeezy’s new Wyoming headquarters to a new audience.
Kim Kardashian even got to share some insight into life on the ranch: “There’s like 10 wild horses and they just had three ponies, and they just live there and you can go up to them and feed them and it’s really crazy,” she told the crowd, adding that they were heading back to Wyoming the next day to name their new furry friends. (A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator, both of whom were in attendance, lobbied to have horses named after them.)
They may have returned to the west coast by now, but chances are, Kimye will be back in town soon: Earlier that day, Kardashian Instagrammed a photo of herself and West out and about in the big city, captioned “I’ve been spending more time in NYC and I love it here!”