After a week of controversial Twitter postings, Kanye West has defended his support of the US president in a new song.
The track Ye vs. The People sees the star trading lyrics with fellow-rapper T.I., who takes him to task over his support of Donald Trump.
“You representin’ dudes who seem crude and cold-hearted,” argues T.I., adding that West is emboldening “white supremacy”.
But the star stands his ground, insisting that he’s “fighting for the people”.
Alluding to a photo he posted of himself wearing Donald Trump’s famous Make America Great Again baseball cap, West raps: “Wearing the hat will show people that we are equal.”
my wife just called me and she wanted me to make this clear to everyone. I don't agree with everything Trump does. I don't agree 100% with anyone but myself.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
End of Twitter post 2 by @kanyewest
“I love Hillary too,” he added in another post.
If your friend jumps off the bridge you don't have to do the same. Ye being Ye is a fight for you to be you. For people In my life the idea of Trump is pretty much a 50 50 split but I don't tell a Hillary supporter not to support Hillary
I love Hillary too.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
End of Twitter post 3 by @kanyewest
‘Kind of a big deal’
Nonetheless, the president has seized upon this rare, A-list endorsement and tweeted his approval.
“Kanye West has performed a great service to the black community,” he wrote on Friday. “Big things are happening and eyes are being opened for the first time in decades – Legacy stuff!”
“Kind of a big deal,” added his son, Donald Trump Jr, on Instagram. “Seems like a cultural turning point.”
Kind of a big deal. Seems like a cultural turning point. Nice to see some real influencers push back on the nonsense narrative and actually push for free speech and thought and not just thought that falls totally in line with Hollywood’s and the far left’s ideology. #kanyewest #maga
A post shared by Donald Trump Jr. (@donaldjtrumpjr) on
End of Instagram post by donaldjtrumpjr
However, West has come in for criticism from fellow musicians, including his friend and former protégé John Legend.
Legend pleaded with the rapper not let his support for Trump tarnish his “legacy” in a private text message, which West later posted online.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 26, 2018
End of Twitter post 4 by @kanyewest
“Think freely,” he advised West. “Think with empathy and context too. Your words and actions have consequences.”
Fellow Chicagoan Chance The Rapper initially defended West, saying “Black people don’t have to be democrats”.
But after President Trump praised his comments, the star issued a clarification.
“Unfortunately, my attempt to support Kanye is being used to discredit my brothers and sisters in the movement and I can’t sit by and let that happen.”
A prolonged publicity campaign?
Ultimately, it’s possible the entire controversy has been a bizarre, prolonged publicity campaign for West’s new music; but the exchange of views seems genuine.
T.I. even hinted that Ye vs. The People was recorded just two days ago, amidst the fallout of West’s return to Twitter.
“Yesterday spent the day with Kanye,” he wrote on Instagram on Friday.
“Still optimistic something from our discussion gon stick… I refuse to just give up on him.”
Before the release of Ye vs. The People, West trolled his fans by releasing another song – Lift Yourself – filled with nonsense lyrics.
The track opens with a sped-up sample of the 1973 Amnesty song Liberty, a soulful call to arms that states, “we need to strive for more liberty”.
However, West’s sole contribution was a verse built around the lyrics: “Poopy-di scoop / Scoop-diddy-whoop / Whoop-di-scoop-di-poop.”
The two releases are West’s first new music since 2016’s Life Of Pablo album.
He has hinted he will release a new album on 1 June, followed a week later by a collaborative record with Kid Cudi.
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