After spending over one year out of the spotlight, American rapper Kanye West is back, and as usual his return is causing all sorts of comment and controversy.
Kanye was last heard from at the end of 2016 during his Saint Pablo tour promoting his last studio album The Life of Pablo. The tour was cut short when on November 19 in Sacramento he walked off stage after only a handful of songs and was later hospitalized suffering from extreme stress and exhaustion.
This led to a long period in the wilderness, although late last year word did get out he was in Wyoming working on new music. He has since announced that two new albums are indeed on the way.
On April 13 he arrived back on Twitter, a platform he has not been afraid to overuse and tweet what he is thinking at any time of the day. You might remember when he was last on Twitter he got embroiled in several controversies, including when he tweeted that Bill Cosby was innocent, while also tweeting a picture of himself with Donald Trump.
This time around, it is Trump again who is getting Kanye into trouble. Not only has Kanye tweeted a picture of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, but he also declared Trump as his brother and that they were together “dragon energy,” whatever that means.
This has led fans and fellow artists alike to speak out against Kanye, while many on the right of the political spectrum have lapped up his “support” including alt-right TV host Alex Jones and Tump himself.
In response, Kanye has defended his motives tweeting that “the mob can’t make me not love him,” while also sharing a text exchange with his friend John Legend where he accuses Legend of manipulating his free thought.
But what is actually going on here? Is Kanye really a conservative Trump supporter? Remember this is the man who said George Bush doesn’t care about black people and has recorded music exploring social and political issues involving black America.
I for one do not think that Kanye is one hundred percent a conservative politically, but he is very much drawn to the idea of celebrity and big cultural figures like Trump. He has in recent times even framed himself as being somewhat of a cultural influencer. I mean you don’t write songs like “I Am A God” or release an album called “Yeezus” and not think you have an influence in some way.
In this respect, Trump and Kanye have a lot in common. They both are celebrities and they both think they have had a cultural impact on society. Trump in business and now politics, and Kanye through music and fashion.
Another reason why Kanye is drawn to like Trump can probably be put down to business and branding reasons. Kanye has Yeezy’s, the brand of shoes he is trying to market under his own moniker, while Trump has made millions of dollars selling property under the Trump brand.
This is business and Kanye is in many ways a businessmen like Trump. He has a series of albums coming up which he is trying to build hype and attention for, while he is also looking to expand the brand name Yeezy. Given this, there can be no doubt Trump has influenced Kanye from a business perspective hence his positive tweeting about the US President.
One final possible reason why Kanye looks up to Trump is the fact Trump used his celebrity and brand name to become the president. It is no secret Kanye has toyed with the idea of running for political office both in his hometown Chicago and on a national level and he might very well be drawing on Trump’s political success for his own potential political ambitions.
Evidence for this has already emerged both on Twitter where Kanye tweeted the number 2024, a year an election is scheduled for the United States, and in his new single, with the very notable lyric “ever since Trump won, it proved that I could be President.”
What will happen next though is anyone’s guess. Kanye will no doubt continue to tweet away in the leadup to his album cycle in June. Five albums are believed to be coming out, one solo, one collaboration with Kid Cudi, and three others which Kanye has produced with other artists.
What will be interesting is what direction his Twitter presence will take in the coming weeks. Will another Cosby-like Tweet emerge? Will he continue to address the backlash he has received and tweet about free speech? Will he continue to tweet his support of Trump and perhaps even meet him again in person?
Anything is possible at this stage and it seems at the moment that every day the life of Kanye West on Twitter throws up something new, while taking a different turn in the process. This is something I guess we all just have to get used to with this highly talented but very complex character.