Kanye West cites Trump, #MeToo and his bipolar disorder on new album ye

West premiered his eighth studio album via live stream from his property in Wyoming

Kanye West has released his eighth studio album, ye, which references controversial remarks made by West in recent months, including a recent interview with TMZ in which he said that 400 years of slavery in America “sounds like a choice”. He premiered it via a live-streamed playback from his creative retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and it is now available on streaming and download platforms.

On a track called Wouldn’t Leave, West raps: “I said, ‘Slavery a choice’, they say, ‘How, Ye?’ Just imagine if they caught me on a wild day,” and alludes to his wife, Kim Kardashian West, calling amidst the controversy to tell him, “‘We ’bout to lose it all’”. On Yikes, West refers to music mogul Russell Simmons, who is facing multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault. “Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too / I’ma pray for him ’cause he got #MeToo’d / Thinkin’ what if that happened to me too”.

That track also references West’s apparent experiences with the psychedelic drugs 2C-B and DMT and his mental health struggles: “That’s why I fuck with Ye / That’s my third person / That’s my bipolar shit, nigga what / That’s my superpower / Nigga ain’t no disability / I’m a superhero, I’m a superhero.” The cover image is of a mountain range with the words “I hate being Bi-Polar it’s awesome” written across it.

On Ghost Town, West mentions the opioid painkiller fentanyl. In his recent TMZ interview, West revealed that his hospitalisation in November 2016 was due to opioid addiction.

Elsewhere on ye, West references Donald Trump’s alleged affair with the porn star Stormy Daniels, the relationship trials of the Kardashian clan and on opening track I Thought About Killing You, periods during which he says he contemplated taking his life. Violent Crimes concerns how having a daughter (four-year-old North West) has changed his view of women: “’Cause now I see women as somethin’ to nurture / Not somethin’ to conquer.’” He expresses his hope that she grows up with a body more like his than Kardashian West’s to avoid the attention of internet trolls: “I pray that you don’t get it all at once / Curves under your dress / I know it’s all pervs on the net.”

Kardashian West and West pictured with their first child, North, in February 2015.
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West pictured with their first child, North, in February 2015. Photograph: Craig Barritt/Getty Images

ye contains none of the music West released in advance of the album, Lift Yourself and Kanye West vs the People, the latter a debate with TI that included the line: “Make America great again had a negative reception / I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction”.

The album’s premiere took place around a campfire and was attended by celebrities including Kardashian West, Kid Cudi, 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Ty Dolla $ign and the pro-Trump commentator Candace Owens, whom West praised on Twitter and met in April. Chris Rock also attended, and said in a speech: “No black man has taken more advantage of his freedom than Kanye West.”

The cover image means West has abandoned his plan to use as its artwork a photograph of Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon who performed liposuction and mammoplasty on West’s mother, Donda, who died of complications related to the procedure. Kardashian West tweeted that the artwork is a photograph that West took on the way to the streaming party, which depicts a speaker in a field.

ye is the latest release in a creative streak for West. He produced Pusha T’s album Daytona, released 25 May, and forthcoming releases by Nas, Teyana Taylor and a collaborative album between West and Kid Cudi. He also produced Christina Aguilera’s recent comeback single, Accelerate.

  • This article was updated on Friday 1 June to add the confirmed track titles and artwork details.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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