Kanye West’s political career just got a boost from none other than Barack Obama. Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in San Francisco on Saturday, Obama offered West some adivce, “in case Kanye is serious about this whole POTUS thing, or as he calls it, ‘Peezy.’”
“First of all you got to spend a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they’re on a reality TV show. So you’ve got to be cool with that,” Obama said.
“This is the second important tip: Saying that you have a beautiful, dark twisted fantasy – that’s what’s known as off-message in politics,” the president joked, referencing West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “You can’t say something like that. There are a lot of people who have lost their congressional seats saying things like that. You don’t do that.”
The third tip from Obama was more of a question: “Do you really think that this country is going to elect a black guy from the South Side of Chicago with a funny name to be President of the United States?” Obama said as the crowd cheered. “That is crazy. That’s cray.”
Back in August at the MTV Video Music Awards, West said he was planning to run for president in 2020. “As soon as I said that, it was like, ‘Wait a second, we would really be into that, because actually if you think about it, he’s extremely thoughtful. Every time he’s ever gotten in trouble, he was really jumping in front of a bullet for someone else. He’s probably the most honest celebrity that we have,’” West told Vanity Fair last month about his political aspirations. “I didn’t approach that because I thought it would be fun. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, let’s go rent some jet skis in Hawaii.’ No, the exact opposite. I sit in clubs and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’ve got five years before I go and run for office and I’ve got a lot of research to do, I’ve got a lot of growing up to do.’”
Obama and West have had a turbulent relationship over the last few years. The president famously called West a “jackass” for interrupting Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMAs. In 2013, meanwhile, West told a Philadelphia radio station that he was no longer going to mention Obama in conversation.
“People was fine with me being everyone’s punching bag for about five years. ‘This is the person we love to hate, so if you want to distract people from everything that’s going on […] just say you hate Kanye and there’s going be 30 other people who say they hate Kanye,’” West said. “That was kind of my position in culture and [Obama] kind of used that too. ‘Oh, he’s a jackass,’ because that’s how the world felt. […] But no, I’m not gonna mention him no more, I’m passed that. That’s out my thoughts. That’s lowering my priority of thinking at this point.”
But this year, after West said that he’s received phone calls from Obama, the president told Jimmy Kimmel that wasn’t actually the case. “Look, I love his music. He’s incredibly creative. I don’t think I’ve got his home number,” Obama said.
Watch Obama joke about West in the video below.