The 45-year-old rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, paid a tribute to Diddy via a speech.
“How do we crown our kings? How do we appreciate our kings? To think how far we could just make if off of inspiration, to hear the way somebody chopped a sample in… rushing to see who could get the Bad Boy mixtape and play back the original version of ‘Benjamins,’ over and over, thinking I was one of the Hit Men,” Ye said.
“To see Puff in real life at the ‘Missing You’ video, just like me tapping free like a little kid… I just need to meet this man. This is my favourite artist. You see I’m saying favourite artist, everything, not specifically production, the trip. Back then there was so many rules to hip-hop and he broke all of them.”
Speaking of how Diddy understands contracts “in a way a lot of us still don’t”, Ye added: “I go to him for advice to this day.
“He inspired so many of my choices. So many of my life choices. My wife choices. And here we are. Thanks for that, Puff… I was signed to Puff without him knowing… That statement is not legally binding!”
In his acceptance speech, Diddy pledged to donate $1m to Howard University and another $1m to coach Deion Sanders and Jackson State University.
He also remembered Kim Porter, who died in 2018.
During the star-studded awards ceremony, Diddy also performed his tracks “I Need a Girl”, “Pass the Cîroc” with Busta Rhymes, and his new song “Gotta Move On” with Bryson Tiller.