The amount of stress and controversy accompanying the rollout of Kanye West’s TLOP follow-up is unparalleled. For the last five days, the Internet forums have been inundated with Ye’s wild internet gospels, polarizing support and critique of his seemingly Donald Trump alignment and discussions about the fine line between “free thought” and irresponsible trolling. Hopefully hearing some of the actual music from the forthcoming album will offer some sort of reprieve, especially if it involves the words of T.I.
Early on Friday (April 27), Kanye West had shared “Free Yourself”—a troll of a song that feeds listeners intentionally nonsensical bars—but that night, he shared the very real song, “Ye vs. the People,” featuring the outspoken Atlanta rapper. L.A. Leakers‘ DJ Sourmilk and Justin Credible premiered the song on-air, letting listeners in on what a back-and-forth discussion with Kanye in real time would sound like.
T.I. represents all the critics of Kanye West’s controversial new viewpoints (hey, John Legend), countering all of West’s laments against “groupthink” with reason. When Kanye says, “That’s the problem with this damn nation/All Blacks gotta be Democrats/Man, we ain’t made it off the plantation,” Tip hits him right back with bars like, “It’s bigger than your selfish agenda if your election ain’t gon’ stop police from murdering n***as.”
Buried in the healthy discussion, Kanye does make a valid point about the praised subject matter of today’s rap songs. People grow irritated with him for consistently playing Devil’s Advocate to logical thought, but when today’s young rappers—the same sort J. Cole points a finger at on KOD‘s “1985”—there’s no issue.
“I know everybody emotional/Is it better if I rap about crack, huh? Because it’s cultural?/Or how about Ima shoot you, f**k your b***h/Or how about all this Gucci, because I’m f**king rich?” he raps.
Touché. Is this a win or waste? Judge it for yourself below.