by Fionna Farrell
photo from The Game, Kanye West - "Eazy" (Official Music Video)
[originally published March 11, 2022]
A few months ago, I made the rare decision to intentionally watch SNL. Although I only tuned in because the best Culkin brother (Kieran) was hosting, one of the skits featured a then-mildly-funny quip about the rapper formerly known as Kanye West—a remark that has since permanently imprinted itself onto my brain. “Kanye changed his name to Ye,” Dionne Warwick comments to a very confused Jason Mraz, “Is that after the sound people make when he leaves the room?”
That episode premiered on November 6th of last year, back when Ye was only making one or so headline a week. By that point, the media had sifted through the Donda residue and were now intent on showcasing their rapier-wit with all the name jokes. While we, as readers, viewers, listeners, consumers, felt like we had been through it all—in 2021, what was there new to say about the self-loving rap iconoclast? Kanye’s antics—excuse me, Ye’s antics—are that nebulous substance that seems to exist in the ether all around us.
But, over the past month, things have gone —forgive the unforgivable pun—south for West at a rate faster than it took him to drop Donda 2, which begs the question: what even constitutes going south for this man, who seems to defy the very notion of direction itself? Does it even exist, or will Ye stay at the top forever, even when he brings everyone he knows—and claims to love—down?
Indeed, Ye seems to have been doing that a lot lately. As is widespread knowledge to anyone with a smartphone, West was married to “mother, millionaire, law student, and billionaire” Kim Kardashian for around seven years. Kim filed for divorce from Ye in February of last year, and, for some time, the proceedings seemed relatively amicable. In fact, multiple sources claimed the divorce to be a mutual affair, one even citing that Ye let Kim file first “in order to give her dignity.” No one said Ye wasn’t generous.
Several Donda listening events later, after Kim continued to show support for Ye, things took a dramatic turn for the worse in early November. This is when Pete Davidson, comedian-turned-Ye’s-kryptonite, entered the picture. Even though Kim and Mr. Davidson were only “hanging out” at the time, gracing the Staten Island food scene with their presence, Ye took to sourly unfollowing Kim on Instagram. And that is only when they were in the liminal “talking stage” that haunts the rest of us mortals on Earth.
As Kim and Pete got more serious, steadily accruing the relationship milestones for famous people, Ye suddenly took it upon himself to become Kim’s knight in a black bodysuit. The notions of a “mutual” divorce flew out the window. According to Ye, that was just a media ploy. Also according to Ye, God told him that he needs to fight to bring his family back together. Not through honesty, communication, and humility, but rather, a string of fifteen cryptic Instagram posts on Superbowl Sunday.
Ye has since deleted those posts, in which he flaunted his new moniker for Pete “Skete” Davidson. But, of course, the internet has allowed them to live on in infamy. Many of the posts contained poorly-cropped images from seemingly private text conversations. One of these appeared to be a conversation with Pete himself, in which the latter appeared to offer West something of an olive branch—and was, of course, denied. Ye captioned the photo in his screaming letters: YOU WILL NEVER MEET MY CHILDREN.
It would be an understatement to say that Ye’s blatant attacks on Pete, along with his continued harassment of Kim and invasion of her privacy, is concerning. But “concerning” is a word that falls under the valence of the normal. It is something you use to demonstrate your empathy towards someone, who perhaps finds themself in a situation that you, too could experience. What’s happening here is nowhere near normal. Ye’s outbursts have bounded past the petty and unhinged; they are now downright deranged, with less-than-subtle insinuations at violence. It is not just concern, but fear we should feel for Pete, Kim, the West children, and—even if he’s all the way at the bottom of the list—Ye himself.
Naturally, the first real “threat” came in song form. On January 16th, Ye dropped a new single called “Eazy” with The Game. Some of the lyrics go a little like this: “God saved me from that crash / Just so I could beat Pete Davidson’s ass / And my new bitch bad / I know illuminati mad”. The new “bitch” in question might have been Uncut “Jamz” Gems actress Julia Fox, whom Ye dated and wore lots of latex with for roughly six weeks.
On the third of this month—coincidentally, the same day that Kim was declared legally single—Ye released a video for “Eazy” which is no less than disturbing. In the video, an animated West carries around a decapitated head and appears to kidnap, tie up, and bury alive a claymation caricature of Davidson. At the end, a title card reads: “Everyone lived happily ever after. Except you know who,” with “Skete” crossed out. “[Just kidding] he’s fine.” The video has already received backlash from virtually all directions. Many are calling West’s behavior scary and are encouraging Kim to get a restraining order.
But, others, somehow, are still worshiping the video for its artistic “vision.” And while the voices that scold Kanye seem to be the most popular, they are not always the loudest. On every Instagram post threatening to tear Pete down, you can find thousands of commenters declaring Ye the “GOAT” forever. “Ye da GOAT, no cap. Like if you love Ye. Like if you still love Ye.” Just over the past three weeks, Ye has gained three million Instagram followers—which may not seem like a lot to Kim’s 282 million, but definitely was to his twelve.
Like with so many celebrities, Ye’s life has become a spectator sport to us—but instead of watching him masturbate his own ego in a variety of eccentric ways, we now watch him destroy things and hurt others. That is not just Ye being Ye—it is harassment and abuse, and it demands our unanimous scorn. Ye is clearly a mentally ill man. But two decades of his every move being praised, written about, and subject for debate in high school locker rooms has definitely put him on a pedestal that is hard to get down from. Ye might believe he is invincible. Maybe we should stop thinking about him. Maybe we should stop writing about him. If there’s one thing that abusers don’t deserve to be, it’s relevant.