On Monday, a new video emerged of Chicago rapper Kanye West sitting down with Atlanta native T.I. to discuss politics during a recording of their collaborative single “Ye vs. the People.” The video showcases a back-and-forth debate between the two artists as T.I. drills West over the social responsibility they have as artists, as well as the ramifications of West’s recent pro-Trump endorsements.
Over the past month West has returned to Twitter to both plug his forthcoming album (and a subsequent project with Kid Cudi), set to release in June, and also give a controversial endorsement to Donald Trump. In one of West’s pro-Trump tweets, the artist went as far as to say that he and the president are kindred spirits, saying: “We are both dragon energy. He is my brother.”
In another tweet, West flaunted a signed Make America Great Again hat, which has become a notable accessory in the rapper’s wardrobe.
The controversial tweets caused many celebrities to unfollow the musician on Twitter. Uproxx reported that the artist lost an approximate 10 million followers after his Trump endorsements, including notable affiliates like Travis Scott, Cyhi The Prynce, Pusha T, Kylie Jenner, 2 Chainz and even the official Adidas Twitter account. The backlash wave also hit the Chicago rapper Chance the Rapper after he defended West by tweeting out, “black people don’t have to be democrats.” Chance quickly clarified these statements on Friday, issuing an apology.
West and T.I. explore all of these issues in their new track “Ye vs. the People,” released April 28. In the track’s newly released behind-the-scenes music video, West defends the meaning behind his MAGA hat choice by saying: “Me putting the hat on forces an evolution … ”
T.I. argues that while West’s sentiment was in the right place, the direction he took to relay his message was, as he puts it, “thoughtless.”
West responds, “If I had not done what I felt, and I just thought, then it would have never happened. And when I wear that hat, it’s like a fight for equality. Like, ‘Oh, I can wear this hat too.’”
The video continues with the two rappers discussing these issues in full before sitting down in front of a microphone to lay down their verses for the new single. Whether West convincingly defends his actions is yet to be determined. As of this writing, a new video emerged in which West sat down with Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne tha God to discuss these topics more in-depth during an hour-long interview. Watch the full video down below.
While some entertainers like Stephen Colbert have said that West has “lost his mind,” the argument can be made that the whole thing is just a publicity stunt. Read Paste contributor Loren DiBlasi’s thoughts on the matter right here.
Watch West and T.I. discuss politics in the “Ye vs. the People” behind-the-scenes music video below, then listen to the artist’s collaborative single and see his Breakfast Club interview. Then, check out part one and part two of Paste’s best tweets about Kanye here and here respectively.