Kanye West breaks 'hiatus' for Sean 'Diddy' Combs tribute, says he wanted to declare himself 'legally dead for a year'
An incognito, thoroughly swaddled Kanye West made a surprise appearance at the 2022 BET Awards on Sunday, where he presented friend and music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
West said he's been on a "little hiatus" in his speech, but that a persistent Combs emboldened him to attend the public event and speak in his honor. "I took a little hiatus. I said I wanted to declare myself legally dead for a year," West said. "Nobody missing me. You know, I just want to be off the grid, [but] Puff is pretty persistent."
If Combs "ever need us," West said, "we need to jump and be there." The rapper continued, "This man has been through and survived a lot of stuff. Broke down a lot of doors so we could be standing. I know for me, that I could be here today... he broke down so many doors of classism, taste, swag. Puff, if I never told you, I love you. You're my brother."
In a speech that began with a rhetorical "How do we crown our kings?," West commended Combs for breaking the hip-hop mold. "Back then there was so many rules to hip-hop, and he broke all of them," he said, adding that the mogul "understood contracts in a way a lot of us still don't" and "understood money in a way a lot of us still don't."
"I go to him for advice to this day," West continued. "He inspired so many of my choices. So many of my life choices. My wife choices." Later, West and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds presented Combs the award. In his speech, Combs thanked "everyone who played a part in my life," as well as late ex-girlfriend Kim Porter, who died in 2018 from lobar pneumonia at age 47.
"When I was a kid, I saw these images that were setting me up for failure, these images that were making me feel less than a dog," he said. "I was like, 'Man I'm not with that. I'm not with that.' I closed my eyes and dreamed and saw what I had to do. We here for ourselves, we here for our ancestors, you feel me?"
Watch Combs' speech in full above.
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