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Kanye West Addresses Virgil Abloh Friendship, Reworks Slavery Comments In ‘New York Times’

On the heels of his latest album release for Ye, Kanye West sat down with The New York Times for a candid interview. During the conversation with reporter Jon Caramanica, the rapper touched all the bases, addressing his collaborative relationships with Drake and Virgil Abloh. He even managed to elaborate on his original comments about slavery.

Kanye had a lot to unpack in regards to his friendships. Fans assumed there was some tension between Kanye and his longtime friend and creative collaborator Virgil Abloh after the designer was hired to be the creative director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear department. In the April 2018 interview with Pret-a-Porter, Kanye hinted that he was annoyed with how the media was labeling their work relationship. That assumption was supported even more by Drake’s line in the “Duppy Freestyle,” in which he accused Kanye of holding his friend back because he made him nervous.

“I don’t know what might have been in your mind, but there might have been someplace where you wonder if those dudes still talk like that. And you saw, we do,” Kanye said of his relationship with Abloh, referencing their emotional moment at the LV show in Paris earlier this month. He went on to explain how he had to cleanse himself of “jealousy and fear” in order to reach a better place with Abloh, as well as Drake, who had surpassed him in No. 1 records.

Elsewhere in the article, the “Yikes” artist spoke about his now infamous slavery comments. Ye initially made headlines in May 2018, after he suggested America’s legacy of slavery was merely a choice made by thousands of black people. While he seemed to double down on his statements at the time, primarily marketing it as “free thought,” the rapper switched up his tune in the Times story. He stated that his words were taken out of context. “I said the idea of sitting in something for 400 years sounds — sounds — like a choice to me, I never said it’s a choice,” he explained. “I never said slavery itself — like being shackled in chains — was a choice.”

When asked if he would “rework” his statement to make it clearer, Kanye said, “I wouldn’t frame a one-liner or a headline.” He added that he felt like his arm was being twisted to package his own words in a way that would please others. “What I would say is actually it’s literally like I feel like I’m in court having to justify a robbery that I didn’t actually commit, where I’m having to somehow reframe something that I never said,” he added. “I feel stupid to have to say out loud that I know that being put on the boat was — but also I’m not backing down, bro. What I will do is I’ll take responsibility for the fact that I allowed my voice to be used back to back in ways that were not protective of it when my voice means too much.”

Kanye also addressed his mental health and creative process in the new interview. Read the full story here.

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