Kanye West is convinced his recent career break helped him "develop as a person" because he was finally able to heal following his mother's death in 2007.
The rapper hit headlines last year (09) when he stormed the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards and ruined Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. The subsequent criticism forced him to flee America and step away from the spotlight.
West spent time in Japan before moving to Italy to intern for fashion house Fendi and later working on his music in Hawaii.
And the Stronger hitmaker is convinced spending time on his own helped him cope with his mum's tragic passing in 2007, because he threw himself into work after the tragedy and never had time to grieve.
He tells U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, "I left America. I stopped doing music all together. I just took some time... It was the first time that I got to stop since my mom had passed. I had never stopped and never tried to even soak in what... had happened. It was time to take a break and develop more as a person, as a creator, and focus more on my thoughts and my ideas and what I wanted to bring to the world."