Kanye West’s latest Twitter rant makes a lot of claims that need explanation. In case you missed it, the sometimes erratic producer got wound up and went on a very long Twitter tirade, accusing his ostensible rival, Drake, of seeking clearance for a sample, using him for clout, and “playing industry games.” The accusations became even more alarming when he continued to say that Drake called him threatening his family, prompting him to evoke the injured people from Pusha T’s recently interrupted concert in Toronto, and tweeting straight up: “There would never be a drake without a Kanye west.” Eventually, the rant devolved into a series of tweets from Kanye denouncing Drake’s recent collaboration with Ye’s former protege, Travis Scott, on the insanely popular song “Sicko Mode.” Even his wife Kim got involved, backing up his claims of threats from the Canadian star and reiterating that Drake owes everything to Kanye’s influence.
Whew. There’s a lot to unpack there. If you want to read the whole, long string of accusatory tweets (and have the time to read what basically amounts to a longform essay in tweet form), we’ve embedded them into the above links, or you can just go to Kanye’s Twitter. So, now that we’re all caught up, let’s take a look at some of Kanye’s claims and see if we can unravel what it all means.
First of all, the most important thing to say is, I hope Kanye’s okay. Seriously, the last time he melted down like this, he ended up in the hospital. Whether or not you believe it was due to lack of rest, mental illness, or drug use, it was a scary time. For all of Kanye’s monomaniacal obsession with his own genius or his self-centered, stubborn support of Donald Trump and his racist-ass hat, you have to hope the guy is healthy or at the very least, gets the help he needs to get healthy, before it’s too late. 2018 had a depressingly high body count for hip-hop icons and no one else deserves to end up joining it.
With that out of the way, the next most important question his tweets raise is: Why? Why is he doing this? Why has Drake gotten under his skin so much? A few weeks ago, Talib Kweli, one of Kanye’s oldest collaborators and someone who might have at least a little insight into his behavior, hypothesized that having Drake in such close proximity in Calabasas, CA may have increased Kanye’s sense of pressure on himself to compete. After all, Kanye loves attention. He wants to be recognized as the greatest. Most of all, he wants to be liked.
Having Drake near him took attention away — especially since Drake has been so cool with Kanye’s extended Kardashian family for so long. Drake’s become a lot more culturally ubiquitous, especially in 2018, as he scored his first No. 1 record, then replaced himself atop the charts weeks later. And, in the wake of Drake’s tiff with Pusha T, in many ways, Kanye’s become the bad guy in the eyes of a lot of fans after being accused of leaking the info about Drake’s son and simply playing both sides of the squabble, all while manipulating the situation to his benefit. Stacked on top of his various social faux pas — including the one with Taylor Swift that made him a pariah in the eyes of many, the increased scrutiny has no doubt exacerbated Kanye’s self-professed insecurity.