Rapper Kanye West had just learned his grandfather was dying when he lost his temper and clashed with a paparazzo outside Los Angeles International Airport in July.
West is facing battery and attempted grand theft charges after he allegedly tried to grab snapper Daniel Ramos' camera and wrestle him to the ground during an altercation this summer.
In court papers, West claimed he acted in self-defense after fearing his safety was at risk, and now he has opened up about what prompted him to spin out of control, insisting Ramos purposefully tried to get a reaction out of him -- and he succeeded because he was so upset.
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Speaking to a X17 videographer at a gas station in Calabasas, California on Friday, he explained, "The guy (Ramos) set me up at the airport the other day. You know he was [expletive] laughing and [expletive]... That's the day that I found out my grandfather was not gonna make it. He passed two weeks later. But when I'm coming out the airport, because it's Kanye or whatever, (paparazzi think), 'We're gonna [expletive] with him, we're gonna antagonize him.'
"I tried to stop his camera and stuff, he fell down, faked it, then people are talking about, 'Oh, yo, why'd you hit that guy?' I obviously didn't hit the guy, but I'm going through [expletive] (in my personal life)..."
West also admitted he wanted to stand up to the rude snappers to protect his baby girl with girlfriend Kim Kardashian after hearing how one photographer had called Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' daughter Suri a "dog, a little brat kid" during a summer outing in New York.
He added, "My family is growing up. If you had a daughter, and you guys say crazy [expletive] to me all the time, and you say it to my family... I couldn't imagine my daughter being four years old and you guys screaming at her. I think somebody screamed at Tom Cruise's daughter or something like that...
"We're in this together; you guys help me influence, you help with the family, you help Kim's power and everything, so I'm not trying to [expletive] be at you guys in any type of negative way and I don't want you guys to be negative at me and I would prefer if we just had a decent relationship, you know?"
The rapper faces up to a year behind bars if convicted of the battery and theft charges.