West received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from singer Taylor Swift six years after he famously interrupted her acceptance speech for an award at the same ceremony.
In a long and rambling speech at the ceremony in Los Angeles, West admitted he had smoked something before arriving to calm his nerves.
Addressing Swift, he said: “I often think back to the first day I met you. You know I think about it when I’m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice and they say to me, ‘Oh you’re not that bad after all’.
“I think about it sometimes, it crosses my mind a little bit when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me. It crosses my mind a little bit. I think if I had to do it all again what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt, would I have drunk half a bottle of Hennessy and given the other half to the audience? If I had a daughter, would I have gone on stage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s?”
Watched by his pregnant wife Kim Kardashian, he continued: “I still don’t understand awards shows, I don’t understand how they get five people who work their entire life, sold records, sold concert tickets, to stand on a red carpet, to come and for the first time in their life stand on the chopping block and be considered a loser.
“I don’t understand it, I’m conflicted bro. I just want people to like me more but f*** that bro.
“I will die for the art, for what I believe in and the art ain’t always going to be polite. I bet they are thinking right now if I smoked something before this and the answer is yes, I rolled up a little something to take the edge off.”
After holding his head in his hands for an extended period of time, he added: “It’s about ideas, people who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could have guessed, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
Announcing West as the winner of the award, Swift said she met the rapper for the first time when he walked on to the stage at the VMAs in 2009 as she was receiving the best female video award.
He interrupted her speech to declare Beyonce was the more worthy winner.
Swift told the crowd: “I first met Kanye West at this show six years ago and since then we have a had lot of time to talk about a lot of things. The whole world knew about our exchange at the VMAs but most people don’t know his album College Dropout was the first album I bought on iTunes when I was 12.”
Referring to West’s rant when he interrupted her speech six years ago, she added: “I guess I have to say to all the other winners, I’m really happy for you and I’m going to let you finish, but Kanye West has had one of the greatest careers of all time.”