Admitting fault and seeking redemption. This is the road that Kanye West is apparently attempting to travel.
Months after becoming a tangential figure in the summer’s biggest rap beef and sparking outcry after telling TMZ that slavery sounded like “a choice,” West has been making the rounds, explaining himself and trying to make peace.
He fired off a series of tweets on Wednesday directed at Drake, including an apology for “stepping on your release date” (both rappers put out new albums in June). And just last week, Kanye visited a Chicago radio station to say “sorry for the people let down” by his slavery comments, among other things.
“Sending good energy and love to Drake and family and crew,” Kanye tweeted on Wednesday, alongside a screenshot of a Drake Instagram post that showed a recent concert. “I haven’t seen the show in person but the images look incredible online.”
Kanye added: “I understand where the confusion started.”
What confusion, you ask? Well — takes a deep breath — let’s get into it.
Kanye produced Pusha T’s album Daytona, which included some shots at Drake for alleged ghostwriting. Drake responded with Duppy Freestyle, in which he mentioned Pusha’s fiancee.
That was a big no-no for Pusha, who released The Story of Adidon. The track not only outed the fact that Drake had a secret child, but sparked controversy for the Toronto rapper; the cover art was an old photo of Drake in blackface.
Drake had to explain the blackface photo had been part of an art project about “how African-Americans were once wrongfully portrayed in entertainment,” and he confirmed the existence of a son on his album, Scorpion.
But there was still talk that Drake was sitting on a career-ending diss track that would have also been very bad for Kanye (and “definitely would’ve hurt families,” according to J Prince). People went berserk with theories: Was “Kiki” in Drake’s In My Feelings actually Kim Kardashian, and was this the source of tension between Kanye and Drake? On Monday, Kardashian herself addressed the rumour that she hooked up with Drake, writing on social media that it “never happened. End of story.”
So things had clearly gotten a bit out of hand by Wednesday when Kanye began tweeting about Drake.
“I did not have any conversations about your child with Pusha. I don’t play with the idea of people’s children,” Kanye tweeted.
Kanye also explained the release date for his album, and how he didn’t intend to put himself in direct conflict with Drake’s Scorpion. “When I put the dates up I was a bit ramped up doing 25 tweets a day,” he tweeted,” and “TMZ happened shortly after.” He also referenced conversations with Drake about collaborating.
“Since we were building as friends and brothers I should have spoke to Pusha about the Quentin Miller bar,” he tweeted about the song that resurrected the Drake ghostwriting drama. “There should have been no songs with my involvement that had any negative energy towards you.”
According to Kanye, he never listened to either Pusha’s or Drake’s subsequent diss tracks, but heard quotes from them.
Kanye’s attempt at reconciliation comes shortly after he tried to apologise for the fallout that happened in spring. Quick recap there: Kanye joined the pro-Trump internet, visited TMZ’s offices and said “when you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice” and posted an image of a Make America Great Again hat signed by President Donald Trump.
“I don’t know if I properly apologised for how that slave comment made people feel, so I want to take this moment right now to say that I’m sorry for hurting, I’m sorry for the one-two effect of the Maga hat into the slave comment,” Kanye said last week on 107.5 WGCI, in his hometown of Chicago.
“I’m sorry for people who felt let down by that moment,” he continued, “and also I appreciate you guys giving me the opportunity to talk to you about the way I was thinking and what I was going through and what led me to that.”
During the radio interview, Kanye brought up all the criticism he’s received lately, including people making fun of his slides being too small. He also spoke about coming back to Chicago to “hear three Drake records and I hear no ‘Ye records,” and made reference to his mental state. (In the midst of the fallout, Kanye had disclosed he has bipolar disorder.)
“There are times where I think people act out and do things because they’re lacking the love, and lacking the feeling and lacking the family environment, like the need to be around the friends, and energy,” he said, adding that he hasn’t had people around him who were “continuously looking out” for his best interests, which allowed the TMZ comments to happen. He specifically names his onetime collaborator, Don C.
“The downfall of Kanye West is directly related to Don C not being around,” Kanye said. The “mental health situation... I just told him I need him to be there for me” so things like this “don’t happen to me,” Kanye explained as he got visibly emotional.
Kanye thanked Chicago fans for sticking by him and made a promise: “You’re gonna see a new ‘Ye. You’re gonna feel the impact of the new relationships and the new ideas, and the exposure that I’ve gathered is about to be applied.”
How exactly will that play out? Chicago, and the rest of us, will just have to wait and see.