Kanye West caused a stir during his appearance Tuesday on "TMZ Live" - but it's perhaps a lesser-known show employee, Van Lathan, who dropped the mic.
West, the rapper and entertainer who brought renewed attention to himself over the past week with his controversial tweets - which included his feelings on President Donald Trump - surprised TMZ employees with a particularly polarizing thought: that American slavery was a "choice."
"When you hear about slavery for 400 years - for 400 years?" West said. "That sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years and it's all of y'all? It's like we're mentally in prison."
"Do you feel like I'm thinking free and feeling free?" West later asked TMZ employees.
That's when Van Lathan fired back with an answer that embodied what many confused and disappointed fans have been thinking in the days since West returned to Twitter, where he's posted a nearly constant stream of abstract musings, many outlining his support for Trump, whom the rapper called his "brother."
"I actually don't think you're thinking anything," Lathan said.
"I think what you're doing right now is actually the absence of thought. And the reason why I feel like that is because, Kanye, you're entitled to your opinion. You're entitled to believe whatever you want," he said.
Over the years, West has made headlines for some of the controversial comments he has made, including his 2005 claim that then president George W Bush doesn't care about black people".
After his TMZ appearance, West took to Twitter to defend himself.
once again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas
"Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will," he tweeted.
"My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved."
to make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will
My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved
"They cut our tongues so we couldn't communicate to each other," he added. "I will not allow my tongue to be cut."
They cut out our tongues so we couldn't communicate to each other. I will not allow my tongue to be cut
The Washington Post and IOL