Rapper Kanye West performs during 102.7 KIIS FM's 2015 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 9, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango)

How things have changed. Kanye West actually paid George W. Bush a compliment.

Speaking Monday at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received an honorary doctoral degree, West mentioned the former president after he called himself a "pop artist" whose "medium is public opinion, and the world is my canvas." He said, "People say, 'You should not be sorry for your opinions.' "

*Pause*

"George Bush ..."

*Another pause*

*laughter and applause as everyone waits to hear what the man who once said "George Bush doesn't care about black people" during a televised relief concert after Hurricane Katrina will say this time*

*More pausing*

*Nervous chuckling from West*

"...has some very cool self-portraits. I didn't know he was an artist."

It was brief! It was weird! It didn't really fit into the context of his rambling remarks! But the statement may be the beginning of a bridge once burned being rebuilt.


A wall of portraits by former president George W. Bush of world leaders and influential people he met throughout his presidency. (Kim Leeson for the George W. Bush Presidential Center)

West did not mention Bush again in the available audio recording of his remarks, nor did he mention any of Bush's other paintings, like his portraits of world leaders.

Rapper Kanye West talked about his rarely felt nerves as he accepted an honorary doctorate degree from the Art Institute of Chicago. (Reuters)