Kanye West's first album since going MAGA isn't MAGA at all

Kanye West released his new album, Ye, at a live-streamed listening event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Thursday...

Posted: Jun 2, 2018 10:18 AM
Updated: Jun 2, 2018 10:18 AM

Kanye West released his new album, Ye, at a live-streamed listening event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Thursday night. The seven-track mini-album is no My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or The Life of Pablo, but it's good, a worthy addition to the Kanye canon. Missing from the album, though, is any trace of MAGA.

West's embrace of President Donald Trump defined the lead-up to his eighth studio album. He called Trump his dragon-energy brother, and got a Twitter shoutout from @realDonaldTrump himself ("Thank you Kanye, very cool!"). But the closest Ye comes to Trump is a line about Stormy Daniels, and even then, it's used not as a comment on or about the 45th president, but because it rhymes ("If I pull up with a Kerry Washington that's gonna be an enormous scandal / I could have a Naomi Campbell and still might want me a Stormy Daniels" he raps on "All Mine").

Like a good pop star, West has evolved both his sound and his style over the years, using fashion to mark album cycles. There was the pink polo of The College Dropout and the shutter shades of Graduation. Latter-day Yeezy is oversized, torn clothing in neutral colors, and graphics in Pablo Gothic font.

For his latest evolution, West tried on a signed, red MAGA hat. It's turned out to be less a political statement than a fashion one, meant by West as something punk rock, and not an endorsement of Trump's stance on things like anthem protests or trade wars.

During his pro-Trump tweetstorm in April, West said his wife called to make sure he let everyone know he doesn't agree with everything Trump does. But he likes how Trump represents "the ability to do what no one said you can do, to do the impossible," he told T.I.

Although aligning himself with Trump and claiming slavery was a choice did not make West completely toxic -- the CEO of Adidas said the company stood by him and Christina Aguilera released "Acceleration," a song produced by him, as the lead single to her forthcoming album -- it didn't serve him well in the court of public opinion or on the charts.

A CNN poll found 52% of Americans who were familiar with West's comments on politics and slavery thought he was doing it for publicity rather than because he really believed what he was saying, and "Ye Vs. the People," a pre-album single in which he defended his Trump support to T.I., peaked at No. 85 on the Billboard Hot 100 before falling off.

The song's failure to take hold came as other black artists have used their music to elevate and celebrate the black experience, like Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer, Childish Gambino's No. 1 hit "This Is America" and the "Black Panther" soundtrack, featuring and curated by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar. For a rapper who's defined musical trends, from sped-up soul samples to earnest autotune and emo rap, West suddenly felt out of step.

So MAGA Ye appears to have been quietly retired, and "Ye Vs. the People," which does not appear on the tracklist for Ye, forgotten. It joins other songs seemingly meant to launch albums that flop and are are demoted from would-be lead single to stand-alone "buzz" single, like Britney Spears' "Pretty Girls" and Ariana Grande's "Focus."

There were only a few reminders of West's recent foray into politics at the listening event. The comments section on the livestream had a few references, but they were largely outnumbered by follow requests and comments about the Cavs-Warriors game. And Candace Owens, the Turning Points USA communications director West catapulted to fame when he tweeted he liked "the way [she] thinks" (that makes her to Ye what Bon Iver was to MBDTF, no?), was there, posting photos of celebrities to her Instagram story less than a year after saying on YouTube no one cares what celebs think.

But there were no MAGA hats in sight. West wore to the event a neon yellow shirt that said "Following The Light" and orange "Wyoming" hoodie that's available for purchase for $85 and comes with a digital copy of the album. And for his hat, he wore one that read "Kanye West Album Listening May 31 2018 Jackson Hole."

West Lafayette
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 76°
Kokomo
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Rensselaer
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Williamsport
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 67°
Frankfort
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 69°
Monticello
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Logansport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Warm-up again with increasing humidity & risk of storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events