Much has been made of Kanye West’s time after the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, when he interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. West didn’t do any interviews for months, but when news of RZA, DJ Premier, Pete Rock and others appearing on his album leaked, his name never left the headlines. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Kanye reflected on the incident and the subsequent hiatus he took to deal with some personal issues.

West called his interruption of Swift “very punk rock and revolutionary and idealistic and very angry in a way.” The incident angered both fans and fellow musicians, with racial epithets directed at West becoming a trending topic on Twitter. But Kanye revealed the experience taught him to be more humble and empathetic. Immediately after the 2009 Video Music Awards, West told Jay Leno he would take some time out to reflect on the loss of his mother and how it impacted him.

“People obviously know I lost my mother, and it was shocking,” West explained. “On one hand, I never really dealt with the loss, but in not dealing with the loss, I also didn’t completely deal with the responsibilities that my mother used to take. She was such an amazing, well-rounded person, and I was a spoiled brat.”

Kanye West also discusses why he recruited Q-Tip and RZA to help with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, what Jay-Z means to him and why he had diamonds drilled into his bottom teeth during the full interview with Vanity Fair.