Over the past weekend, Kanye West released two new songs. One of them, “Lift Yourself,” is a dumb extended joke. But the other is “Ye Vs. The People,” and it’s the song where West and T.I. go back and forth, with West attempting to explain his recent embrace of Donald Trump and of various other far-right figures. T.I., for his part, makes absolutely no bones about calling West out on his own provocations, letting him know that there are real-world consequences for the stances that he’s taking. And today, West shared a behind-the-scenes making-of video that shows the song to be a musical reflection of a real-life conversation that T.I. has been having with West.
The video confirms that West made “Ye Vs. The People” in the few days since he posted the Twitter photo of himself in a MAGA hat. And it’s fascinating to see T.I., in a sort of disapproving-wise-uncle role, attempting to remain cordial with West while at the same time letting him know that what he’s doing is wrong. It’s a tense moment captured on murky, grainy video, and it’s almost exactly what you expect. West attempts to explain his Trumpism through motivational language, saying that he likes Trump because Trump did the impossible in winning the presidency, and T.I. responding that Trump has actual policies that West should be taking into account. In the background, a whole lot of people squirm silently.
Here’s West on his MAGA hat: “Me putting the hat on forces an evolution. Even for me, I’ve learned so much more in the past few days because I’m getting this energy, positively or negatively, agreeing with me, disagreeing with me… When I wear that hat, it’s like a fight for equality. Like, ‘Oh, I can wear this hat, too.'”
T.I., in response: “Your intentions, from what you tell me, are pure, but the direction that you took to get there is a bit unorthodox and kind of — I would say, some people would say — thoughtless… I just want you to consider all the people who might be terribly torn apart and hurt… I’m just trying to figure where you’re trying to go with this. Some things you don’t align with, and some shit you just don’t go against.”
You can watch the non-embeddable video here.