Kanye West says slavery 'sounds like a choice’

Kanye West brazenly declared that slavery sounds to him like it was "a choice" during a contentious TV appearance.

"When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice," West said during an interview for "TMZ Live" Tuesday. "Like, you was there for 400 years and it's all of y'all? It's like, we're mentally in prison."

“I like the word prison because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks,” the rapper explained. “It’s like slavery, holocaust. Holocaust, Jews, Slavery is blacks. Prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites being one race.”

When asked to clarify, West responded, "Yeah, right now we're choosing to be enslaved."

The 40-year-old artist made headlines last week when he proclaimed on Twitter that President Trump is his "brother" and that they share "dragon energy." He also wore a "Make America Great Again" hat in a Twitter photo and later showed that the cap was signed by Trump himself.

West explained Tuesday why he felt inspired to share the tweets about Trump.

"It was really just my subconscious," he told TMZ. "It was a feeling I had. You know, like, people, we're taught how think, we're taught how to feel. We don't know how to think for ourselves. We don't know how to feel for ourselves. People say feel free, but they don't really want us to feel free. I felt a freedom in, first of all, just doing something that everybody tells you not to do."

He went on to say, "I just love Trump," during the interview and pointed out that Trump was popular subject matter for hip hop artists before he became President.

His appearance at the TMZ office escalated after he asked staff members whether they believed he was "being free" and "thinking free."

One member of the newsroom, who TMZ identified as Van, then retorted that he believes what West's behavior lately has actually been an "absence of thought."

"There is fact and real-world, real-life consequence behind everything that you just said," Van told the rapper, who looked serious as he listened on. "While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives.

"We have to deal with the marginalization that has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice," he said. "Frankly, I'm disappointed, I'm appalled and I am unbelievable hurt that you have morphed into something, to me, that is not real.

West then walked over to Van and said he was "sorry" he hurt him.