"Y'all know what this is. It's a celebration, bitches!” Do I deserve to be Man of the Year? Of course I do. Keep in mind my Grammys speech, the release of Late Registration, my "Jesus Walks” performance, Common's [resurgence], and, last but not least, John Legend. That was all this year, man. The stars really lined up for me.

KING nominated Terrence Howard, Barack Obama, Jermaine Dupri, Jay-Z and me. Terrence is a great actor. When I saw him in The Best Man, years ago, I could tell he had that spark. Barack Obama? If this was KING's Public Speaker of the Year award I might not have won. I met him earlier this year right before the Grammys and I was so intimidated. I felt I didn't know enough to be in the same room with him. But I found out he's a fan of mine. All positive black people like me. Jermaine Dupri, he smashed the production game. I wish I could have sold like him—done a song like "Confessions,” and then turned around and done all those Mariah Carey hits.

Then there's Jay-Z. People call me cocky, but here's some next-level cocky shit: You could have given this award to Jay, and I still would have won. I'm signed to him. The fact that I'm on his resume alone is enough to make him Man of the Year! That's what I call a cocky compliment.

But I'm not gonna compare myself to any of those guys. When I used to play video games, I loved racecar games over fighting games, 'cause in fighting games, you had to beat someone else down, but in a racecar game you had to figure out your own technique, find your open lane and race to victory. By the time I got to 8th grade I'd won so many talent shows my music director had to tell me, "This isn't the Kanye West Show, it's a talent showcase.” But after I'd perfected my act—and knew I was gonna be number 1, hands down—I would help the other acts so the entire program was better. I'm not about bringing people down. I've never said, "I'm better than this person, I'm better than that person.” I just say "I'm the best.”