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Controversial, but iconic: On 'Drink Champs,' Kanye West is at his most Kanye

Kanye West's status as an iconic figure in music means he doesn't shy away from sharing his opinions, no matter how controversial they might be.  – Photo by Robertcastro / Wikimedia.org

Kanye West is an artist who has inspired multiple generations of people, but his latest interview with podcast "Drink Champs" shone an honest light on his negative thoughts and feelings on other pop culture figures and the artistic peers that he associates himself with.

Recording artist N.O.R.E and DJ EFN served as Kanye’s interviewees and moderators, and they shined in their role by both not interrupting Kanye and allowing him to finish his thoughts, as well as leading him through various topics. In the typical "Drink Champs" style, the hosts and Kanye also took shots and smoked throughout the interview, which worked to create a casual yet informative conversation. 

The podcast is his first public interview since Kanye's most recent album drop “DONDA," after a planned retreat from the spotlight after the album's release.

There were repeat mentions of other celebrities. While speaking about his tumultuous relationship with fellow rapper Drake, Kanye compared the two’s tit-for-tat shots at one another to psychological warfare.

Kanye openly claimed Drake deliberately moved into his neighborhood to antagonize him, and sabotaged relationships within Kanye's inner circle. Despite these powerful accusations, Kanye still expressed the desire to publicly reconcile with Drake even in the wake of their public feud and personal differences.

Kanye also threw shade toward producer Just Blaze later in the interview, and claimed Just Blaze copied his half of Jay Z’s 2001 album, “The Blueprint,” which Kanye and Just Blaze both helped to executive produce.

The album proved pivotal in revitalizing Jay Z’s career — it went double platinum by the Recording Industry of America and is deemed sacred by hip-hop fans. Kanye says, “Look at where I’m at today and look where he is today” in an unfair, egocentric comparison.

Kanye’s shots forced Just Blaze to publicly respond on his Instagram, where Just Blaze stated, “None of what was said tonight regarding me fits with any of our history or previous interactions.” Just Blaze also added that he is happy with his family and life in general, and found Kanye’s response uncalled for.

Kanye’s status of being “above” all of his peers means he rarely feels as though he ever has to deal with any consequences or repercussions for his actions. Whether it's in interviews for his albums or on the presidential campaign trail, Kanye often fails to consider the thoughts and emotions of the people he attempts to throw under the bus publicly. 

While speaking on his 2020 presidential run, Kanye lampooned his fellow G.O.O.D. Music signees that disagreed with him, and described taking personal offense to comments by artists who had a problem with his political views.

While speaking on Common and John Legend, he criticized perceived allegiance to the Democratic party. On Common, Kanye said, “The only thing I don’t like about (him) is that he works for the Democrats” and called John Legend a sellout for “doing whatever the Democrats tell him to do.”

Kanye felt as if Common and Legend owed him apologies for working against him and his campaign — and he clearly still holds unresolved grudges against his musical peers that don't support him. Kanye’s distrust of the left feels personally tied to the wealthy, famous people he associates with, and his decisions to think against the grain inadvertently reveal that Kanye possesses an ignorance toward politics in general.  

Kanye even openly admits to being only half-vaccinated while still describing his recent travels to Paris and other European countries. In the first hour of the interview, Kanye takes pride in naming the different amount of influential people he’s had meetings with — including Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, and Bernard Arnault, the chairman of Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company.

Kanye takes pride in listing his wealthy allies, and the "Drink Champs" podcast even adds in a “name-counter” in the center of the screen which serves as a tally of Kanye’s famous friends and associates. 

With every career move, Kanye continuously inserts himself into the center of music and culture. Everything he does receives attention, and his opinions are amplified and magnified endlessly within different media outlets.

While not everything Kanye says is accurate or morally justifiable, his words and opinions do carry meaning to millions of people. His latest interview serves as a snapshot of his mental health and his life at this point in his career, and fans of his will appreciate this interview both for and in spite of its sometimes controversial subject matter. 


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