Kanye West Audio Reveals 'SNL' Freak Out ... But Lorne Was Spared

2/17/2016 3:14 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
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021716-kanye-west-snl-tmz-02Kanye West had a Yeezus-like moment at 'SNL' over a last minute change to his stage, but in a very un-Yeezus move ... he didn't rage out at producers. 

According to multiple reports, the rapper went ballistic on show execs before 'SNL' started, but our Kanye sources say that's not exactly what happened. We're told 30 minutes before going live, producers removed almost half of Kanye's set for aesthetics. 

Kanye'd been rehearsing on the larger set all day, so he was definitely pissed. We're told he threatened to walk and angrily vented, but only to HIS team ... never to 'SNL' honchos. 

He did eventually speak calmly with Lorne Michaels, who decided to put the set back together. 

Still, the backstage rant was epic -- the NY Post got this audio of Kanye comparing himself to Stanley Kubrick, the apostle Paul and Picasso. Vintage 'Ye.