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Kanye West's 'SNL' tirade: Is it a '50% more influential' moment, or just a tantrum on tape?

One of the problems with being Kanye West these days? It's getting hard to tell a rant from reality.

Audio surreptitiously recorded before his "Saturday Night Live" performance last weekend has been billed as a "rant" — but if the context that's been presented by an Access Hollywood source is accurate, that verbal outpouring might fall in the realm of reasonable work-related complaint, verging on a tantrum.

Unless, of course, you listen to the second half of the audio, where he proclaims himself "by 50% more influential than any human being ... by 50%, dead or alive. By 50% for the next thousand years." He offers up Stanley Kubrick, Pablo Picasso and the Apostle Paul as examples of people whose influence he has exceeded. By approximately 50%. For the next thousand years.

So that part's a little rant-y. (You can listen to it, in all its profane glory, via Page Six.)

West was reportedly venting to his own team after the "SNL" tech team, for aesthetic reasons, did away with about half the set that he'd been rehearsing on in advance of his Saturday appearance on the show. A source told Page Six on Monday that "just moments leading into the live show, and during the live show, Kanye had a meltdown and threatened to walk off."

RELATED: Of late, it's been Kanye vs. Kanye, and no one seems to be the winner

In the recording, Kanye also brings up the specter of Taylor Swift, who apparently mentally haunts him behind the scenes as well as in front of the cameras. The country-turned-pop star, who two days later would verbally clock Ye in her album of the year acceptance speech at the Grammys, is a "fake azz," Yeezy says in the audio. "I went through six years of this [stuff that upsets me]." Presumably, he was referring to the recent lyrical diss of Swift that he says wasn't a diss, as well as the moment in 2009 when he interrupted her MTV Video Music Awards speech for best female video and, by storming the stage and grabbing the mike, initiated the feud that won't stay dead.

In all of this, the rapper remains at least occasionally self-aware. The following tweet went up Wednesday, the day the rant recording went viral.

And that same day on his way out of LAX, when he paused to chat calmly and promotionally with paparazzi instead of brawling with them, West observed that "there's people in debt that don't have a shoe. ... There's people in debt that don't have an album out," and suggested that while he wishes "the best for that person," he thinks most people don't give a fig about whether he and Taylor Swift are feuding.

Still, if West keeps up his recent pace in the public-eruption department — is it hope or dread we're experiencing — there'll be enough material for a Ye Rant of the Day calendar in plenty of time for holiday gift-giving. It's already on our wish list, right after the throw pillow with Kim Kardashian's theory of self promotion embroidered on it. Exciting.

Until then, here 's Yeezus doing "Highlights" and "Ultralight Beam" last Saturday on "SNL." Heads up: Hulu doesn't bleep all the questionable language.



Follow Christie D'Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ and Google+. Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter @LATcelebs.

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