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December 03, 2015 01:00 PM

When Kanye West notoriously stage-crashed Taylor Swift‘s 2009 VMAs speech, he spent the time after it in a creative rebirth.

“After the infamous Taylor Swift moment, I sort of did a little self-exile, just to get away from paparazzi and to have people not, you know, just f—ing with me constantly,” West said Wednesday in New York during his acceptance speech at the Footwear News achievement awards, where he took home shoe of the year honors for his Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 collaboration.

So after the VMAs hullabaloo, the rapper, 38, spent time traveling with his creative director pal Virgil Abloh. The pair went to Japan, then Italy, where they spent time brainstorming designs at the Fendi headquarters. (They ended up “getting kicked out and stuff” for playing music too loud.)

In addition to fostering his passion for fashion design, West – who is expecting his second child with wife Kim Kardashian Westany day now” – also got back in the studio during his self-exile.

“I went to Hawaii and took all the creative energy that I wanted to express and we put it into an album called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” he added. “We have all these rules of what people can do in the studio, and I’m constantly concerned about what I’m wearing. But, it’s hard to really get fresh in Hawaii because you can’t layer up and everything.”

And while West got a ton of flak after interrupting Swift’s speech (they’ve since officially made up, buddying up at the Grammys in February before Swift presented him with the Video Vanguard Award in August), he says his self-exile wasn’t a gloomy time.

“We’d vistit Stockholm on the weekends. That was in my single days. It was fun. It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t as miserable experience as some might think. My exile was pretty fun and stuff: ‘What does Kanye do when he pissed every person off in the planet? He goes Stockholm and dances,'” West said, laughing.

Reporting by CHANCELLOR AGARD

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