Kanye West praises Tupac Shakur for helping ‘thugs’ achieve success

'Yeezus' man also rants at Grammy Awards organisers again in new interview with '12 Years A Slave' director Steve McQueen

Kanye West has hailed Tupac Shakur for helping ‘thugs’ achieve success in a new interview with the 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen.

West paid tribute to the late rapper for giving artists on the street or ‘thugs’ – including fellow ‘Watch The Throne’ collaborator Jay Z – a chance to be noticed. He told Interview Magazine that he’d been watching old interviews with Tupac. “I watched them, and one of the things that Tupac kept saying is that he wanted thugs to be recognised. Now, Jay Z is a multi-hundred-millionaire who came from the streets, so Tupac’s mission, in a way, has been realised.”

He added: “But my mission is very different from Tupac’s—and I’m not Tupac. But I think that when I compare myself to Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, or whoever, it’s because I’m trying to give people a little bit of context to the possibilities that are in front of me.”

Shakur was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in 1996.

West also laid into organisers of the Grammy Awards again for not including his latest LP ‘Yeezus’ in their Album of the Year category and pigeonholing the rapper. “I wasn’t even nominated for Best Album this year,” West moaned. “This year, I only got two nominations by the Grammys: for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song.”

He continued: “I’ve been nominated for Best Album maybe three times. I made ‘…Dark Fantasy’ and ‘Watch The Throne’ less than a year apart and neither of them got nominated. But let’s go into the fact that I have the most Grammys of any 36-year-old or 40-year-old or whatever, and I’ve never won a Grammy outside of the Rap or R&B categories.”

Last December, West had an onstage rant at the Grammy organisers onstage during a gig in Phoenix, Arizona. You can watch footage of his outburst below.