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Kanye West makes controversial remarks on slavery, reveals 2016 opioid addiction

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice," West said in an interview with TMZ.
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LOS ANGELES — Rapper Kanye West on Tuesday described slavery as a choice, praised Donald Trump for doing "the impossible" by becoming U.S. president, and attributed his 2016 mental breakdown to opioid addiction.

In the latest in a series of startling interviews, tweets and videos, West, 40, also revealed that he had undergone liposuction some years ago because he did not want to be called fat.

The Grammy Award-winning musician's most controversial comments came in a rambling video interview at the Southern California offices of celebrity website

West emerged from a year's silence on Twitter two weeks ago to post up to 20 tweets an hour on topics including politics, philosophy and fashion.

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At one point in the TMZ interview, shown on its website, West says, "When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice."

Amid a social media outcry, West later said on Twitter, "Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will. My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved."

The NAACP said in a Twitter response addressed to West, "There is a lot of misinformation out there and we are happy to provide insight. Black people have fought against slavery since we first landed on this continent."

In a recent video interview with television personality and radio host Charlamagne Tha God shot before West's TMZ appearance, the rapper took similar stances, but he also took some criticism. Charlamagne, whose real name is Lenard McKelvey, spoke to MSNBC's Ali Velshi on Wednesday, saying that West "looks ignorant."

He said West's remarks on slavery were not well thought-out — he meant to say that that African-Americans can sometimes limit themselves mentally and psychologically.

"He’s into clothing," said McKelvey, the host of the syndicated "Breakfast Club." "He’s got a factory. He watches people make clothes. When you see people cut fabric, they measure twice so they can cut once because they’re not going to waste that fabric. So don’t waste your thoughts like that. You have too big of a platform. You have too much influence. There’s people out there actually listening to you."

McKelvey said the rapper only admires the president for beating long odds and winning the 2016 election. "I don’t even think that Kanye is even aware of any of those [Trump] policies and ideologies," he told Velshi. "And that’s why he looks ignorant."

On the U.K.'s "Good Morning Britain" television show Wednesday, rapper of the multiplatinum pop act Black Eyed Peas said West's take on slavery sounded as if it came from "a different person."

"That broke my heart," said, whose real name is William Adams Jr.

"That statement was one of the most ignorant statements that anybody that came from the hood could ever say about their ancestors, that slavery is a choice," said Adams, who counts West as a friend.

Also Tuesday, West also gave the first details of his November 2016 admission to a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital after a series of curtailed concerts and political rants.

"I was drugged out," he said in the TMZ interview. "Two days before I was taken to the hospital I was on opioids. I was addicted to opioids."

He said he was given painkillers after undergoing previously unreported liposuction surgery, adding, "I got liposuction, because I didn't want y'all to call me fat."

In separate video released on Tuesday to match his new single "Ye vs. the People," West discussed the support he voiced for Trump last week, which caused controversy among many of his fans.

Asked what he admired about Trump, West told fellow rapper T.I., "the ability to do what no one said you can do, to do the impossible."

In the single, West raps lines like "Make America Great Again had a negative perception/I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction."