Have you seen the painting The Death of Socrates? The philosopher is a calm and bold figure at the center of a scene of anguish and chaos. He reaches for the poison hemlock with his right hand as he points to heaven with his left. He has chosen death over exile. Defiant that no thinker should fear death because the soul is immortal. He’d been convicted of corrupting the minds of the youth.
This is how Tim Pool’s kitchen looked in the moments after Ye walked off Timcast IRL on Cyber Monday. Nearly 100,000 people watched live as Ye left the studio twenty minutes into the conversation. Pool continued the show upstairs as Ye stood like the eye at the center of a hurricane.
Milo Yiannopoulos, the then-YE ’24 campaign manager, followed Ye out of the studio and joined him in the kitchen, hunched over the flat-screen TV listening intently to Pool as the show went on without them. Yiannopoulos’ body language suggested disappointment, trying to gauge Pool’s reaction while also, possibly, thinking about whether or not the night was salvageable. Nick Fuentes, the YE ‘24 communications director, later joined the scene in the kitchen—leaving three empty seats in the studio.
The internet was blowing up as Ye stood there freakishly nonchalant. He wasn’t looking at his phone. He wasn’t smiling, but he didn’t appear angry either. He looked straight ahead, past Milo, and seemed satisfied.
I decided to walk up to Ye. Aside from his stillness, the rest of the place felt like the inside of a hornet’s nest.
I walked past the armed guards and said, “I believe in you, and I believe a Ye presidency is inevitable.” He didn’t say anything, but he looked at me seriously and seemed to take an interest—so I continued.
“You have faced rejection and mockery in every industry you’ve been a part of. And every time you fall out of the good graces of the public eye, you find a way to skyrocket past all expectations and succeed. That’s why I refuse to discount what you’re doing. I’d love to see you go back on IRL and tell everyone else why they should believe in you too.” He nodded as if to say that all sounded correct — except for the last part. His decision was final.
Then I told him I enjoyed him making Trump look weak at the Thanksgiving dinner in Mar-a-Lago. Watching Trump stumble over himself on Truth Social seemed uncharacteristic. Ye laughed at that.
I was overdosing on adrenaline—so I can’t remember everything he said to me in that moment, but he brought up the media always taking things out of context, how he recently faced jail time for tax issues, and then made a joke (I think it was a joke) about making out with Ivanka Trump. He laughed, I laughed, then he walked around the kitchen and took some cookies off the counter.
I asked him about his opera, Mary. Specifically, one section of music that I said I wished he’d release officially. He asked me to pull it up on YouTube. Then he told Fuentes to take my name and number.
I told him I wished the show had gone differently and that I am grateful for his art. I didn’t tell him I’d been writing about his campaign for the past week, that I’ve reviewed his music for Pitchfork, nor that I’d been writing a novel that happens to feature him as the protagonist. It all seemed like too much, too real. I thought of the Philip Roth quote: “The idea is to turn flesh and blood into literary characters and literary characters into flesh and blood.” My love for Ye’s music is borderline obsessive, so much so that when the doctor told my wife and I that our daughter’s time of birth was 8:08, my wife said to me, “well, I bet you like that.”
So, yes, my admiration for his art is borderline insane. There’s no denying that. Back when I was a professor teaching English 101, I would have my students debate who was more relevant: Shakespeare or Kanye West. So, with all this in mind, it’s understandable that you might think I’m either the worst or best person to be reporting on Ye at this point in time.
(I do detest celebrity culture, though. I have no desire to meet celebrities. The only famous people I’d want to meet are dead writers and artists. Ye just happens to be the one living artist that I connect with on a major level. That said, I still couldn’t bring myself to ever watch The Kardashians.)
Before Ye arrived at the studio, I had just spent the day trying to convince colleagues why he could actually become president. Like it or not, anytime he’s said he’s going to do something, he does it. And my disgust with American politics runs so deep, I’m willing to throw support behind a campaign that could drastically shift the socio-political landscape—I think, for the better. I’m looking for something to completely root out the system. He doesn’t have political experience, but I don’t think we need someone who has that on the resume. We need a radical visionary who has operated at the highest levels of business.
People should have learned a long time ago not to write Ye off as unstable, mentally ill, racist, white supremacist, or antisemitic. From merely a fan’s perspective, your worst insults only help to fuel the man’s determination. He has yet to prove, to me anyways, that he is any of those things. Is his messaging always the clearest? No, but I believe he comes from a good place.
On July 23, 2022, I posted an image on Instagram that said: “Telling the universe, one day I will interview Kanye West.”
Now, on November 28th, 2022, I was walking him out to his getaway car as IRL went on without him. We shook hands, I thanked him again for the music, and then he told me I should fly to LA.
Four days later, at four in the morning, I get the OK from Ye’s team, saying that he has approved my coming out to interview him.
On my way to the airport, Ye was live on Info Wars with Alex Jones, Nick Fuentes, and Ali Alexander. Ye had on the black Balenciaga mask. It looked like Ye and his traveling circus had hijacked Info Wars.
Friends were texting me what he was saying to Alex. They said they’d never seen Jones look so uncomfortable.
“I like Hitler,” Ye said before a break—and it felt like a tectonic plate was shifting beneath the culture. Then: “I love Jews and I love Nazis.” And then, “Nazis did good things too.”
It seemed like every word he was saying was beginning to trend on Twitter. It also started to feel like I wasn’t going to get a meeting in LA. Ye was wyling. I messaged Tim Pool, who’d given me the chance to fly out and report on Ye’s campaign for Timcast, and said, “It feels like I am flying into a war zone.” He asked if I still wanted to go. I seriously considered turning the car around. Tim’s reported from actual war zones, and now he’s hitting me up in an almost brotherly way, like, if you don’t want to get in the middle of all this, I understand. But I said, “I’m willing…”
People were talking about it at the terminal. Everyone is on their phones. And my confidence in meeting Ye worsened. Close friends and family hit me up, saying they’ve finally had enough. “This is getting too dark,” one said. Another said, “I know you’re a Ye fan, but it’s probably time to jump ship.” No one other than Tim, my wife, my editors, Ye, and his small team knew I was heading out to LA.
One friend called and said, “You’re probably the last Ye fan on Earth.” It certainly felt like it—but longtime fans of Ye have become used to the feeling. This felt different. This was next-level total war. My Jewish mother wasn’t too thrilled. “I don’t like what he’s saying,” she told me as I sat in the terminal. “Does he know you were raised Jewish?”
But I have always admired people like Johnny Rotten, Marilyn Manson, Andy Kaufman, David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Pablo Picasso. I have always looked up to the most transgressive artists, agitators, disruptors, and people that constantly shove impossible conversations into the mainstream consciousness. But this felt like Ye had finally found a way to unite nearly everyone against him — and I was about to board a plane to possibly meet him.
No one that was with Ye was texting me back. I thought about not boarding the flight. It felt like it’d be a waste of time to fly to LA and not get a story.
Everyone was saying he’s insane. From people I know to well-known pundits. I wondered if I was insane for thinking otherwise.
— Shane Cashman (@ShaneCashman) December 4, 2022
As out of pocket as Ye sounded to everyone, I still had this ridiculous sense that Ye was speaking in a language that no one else was understanding. He might’ve been saying wild shit, but it seemed like there was more to it. I had to consider whether or not spending two decades defending him had calloused me to what should be plain and simple criticism. I felt like I saw something bigger operating behind the words he was choosing.
Regardless, everything felt dismal, but the zeitgeist reflects that chaos. I’ve been vocal about how the COVID-era ushered in an existential renaissance. Widespread nihilism sank its teeth into the culture—at every level.
I aim to see the current system destroyed so that American citizens can flourish. True unity cannot take place until that happens. We are in a doom loop. We are a country of poor, depressed, suicidal, drugged up, overweight, hopeless, divided, angry people. Of course, not everyone—but I’d argue that those negative qualities are the ones that the future will remember this era for the most.
President Biden promised unity at his inauguration, and within a few years, he gave a speech on a stage designed like a Nazi fever dream to label half of the country as “domestic terrorists.” There are people in power who despise their constituents. Left and Right. This country is submissive to a uniparty—Nancy Pelosi is just Mitch McConnell in heels. Very few in power want what’s best for us. It’s all power plays being made by greedy thugs who are in office for way too long.
The only way out of this disaster is to find a way to unity, but even unity has warped into a controversial idea.
I wrote this just a few days before meeting Ye at the IRL studio: A radical, eccentric visionary is the only way forward. If we don’t root out this system, we will be stuck in this nightmare where no one can work together, and everyone hates each other until the whole thing finally officially collapses. I do not want that.
As ridiculous as this might sound, I believed Ye could fill that void. After the Info Wars show, the chances of that seemed to drop exponentially. But I still had this psychotic optimism. It’s probably a personal defect to keep this kind of hope in the face of doom, but it’s how I keep going.
Something I think I have in common with Ye is his willingness to alienate himself from everyone if he believes he’s on a crucial mission; despite what the world thinks, he will go full speed. I’ve experienced that as well, to much lesser degrees, over the last few years by speaking out against medical segregation, lockdowns, and forced vaccinations.
Before I boarded the flight, Ye passed his phone around the Info Wars studio, allowing all the permabanned people like Jones, Fuentes, and Alexander to tweet from his account. Some of the most hated people on the planet were subverting the conversation through one of the most popular person’s phone. Even if it all looked mad to most people, I still saw something worth talking about. I saw a chance for radical forgiveness leading to radical unity. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
I took my seat on the plane, and as I waited to take off, I saw a headline about a quantum computer simulating a wormhole—and everything started to make perfectly absurd sense.
We flew 500 mph from DC to LA, and it didn’t feel fast enough.
I hadn’t slept in four days. I was a giant eyeball flying over LA. The cultural pendulum was swinging back and forth across the nation like an axe. The simulation was on fire.
The wi-fi on board wasn’t working, so I had no way of keeping in touch with anyone during the flight. I kept imagining Ye and his crew leaving the Info Wars studio, like that scene where Heath Ledger’s Joker leans his head out the window of a cop car racing through Gotham.
The moment we landed, I found out Ye had just landed in Miami. I was here for the weekend and still not hearing from anyone close to Ye. I figured that was that.
It rained that Friday. The sewers were overflowing on Hollywood Blvd., and I saw zero sun.
I paced around LA, trying to manifest the interview how I manifested Cyber Monday’s encounter. The editor-in-chief of Timcast News, Cassandra MacDonald, had some connections with other people who were also with Ye. She sent me one text that made it sound like it was off the table.
Later that evening, I got a text from Fuentes. He sent me an address and asked if I could show up Saturday afternoon.
My Lyft driver told me he couldn’t believe how much the neighborhood had changed where I was staying. He was a Hispanic dude in his thirties. He told me the 18th St. gang used to run this place. He remembered walking home from school one afternoon, and some gangsters beat him up real badly. One of the guys swung a 2×4 down over his back. His textbook saved his life, he said.
He dropped me at a big concrete building. Tall pine trees lined the street. Security let me in, and I’m greeted by Fuentes. He wore a black hoodie and white Yeezys. He said I could hang in the conference room with two long wooden tables. They were preparing Ye in another spot for an interview with Gavin McInnes.
Interviewed Ye in LA pic.twitter.com/1T5xcS7zb5
— Shane Cashman (@ShaneCashman) December 4, 2022
The space was minimally designed. Lots of natural light. There was Ye 24 merch and some dictionaries on a shelf. The building reminded me of something Le Corbusier would’ve designed. Something out of his proposed Radiant City—a dream community he never realized at large.
I wondered which Ye I’d be meeting. Mask on or mask off? Happy or hostile?
The “Jewish Media” had dominated the conversation. I don’t like lumping any one group by race or religion into a problem—despite some cliches being true—but I didn’t come out here to debate Ye. I came here to have a conversation. I wanted him to speak at length on anything—but especially his vision for the future. One of my favorite Ye lines is: “I’m living in the future, so the presence is my past, my presence is a present, kiss my ass.”
Eventually, Fuentes said they were ready for me. I walked further into the building and see Ye leaning against a wall, mask in hand. He’s got on the same outfit from the Info Wars interview.
When he saw me, he smiled and said, “I was just asking about you.”
I told him, “I always wanted the simulation to burn, and I’m glad it’s you who’s doing it.”
We immediately start talking about obscene art, degenerate art. A woman standing with us said art suffered during World War II, but I said, “what about Picasso?”
Ye seemed interested in the conversation about the relationship between art, war, and God — and what degenerate art meant.
We took seats at a giant table, where Nick and Ye sat across from me.
I brought up my favorite painting: The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch.
“You’re Catholic, right?” I asked Fuentes. He said yes.
“I get into debates with Catholics about whether certain art is objectively or subjectively good or bad.”
Fuentes wasn’t familiar with the Garden of Earthly Delights, so I described the painting to him.
“It’s like a beautiful triptych from the 1500s about the Fall of Man. And some people think it’s degenerate. I think it’s beautiful. The third panel is insane—it’s all Hell broke loose. The middle panel is depravity. And the first panel is Jesus with Adam and Eve in the Garden. But when it was made, some people said, this is disgusting.”
Ye was finishing a conversation on his phone when a woman joined us at the table.
“Christianity has a soft spot for the transgressive,” she said. “Ye going on Alex Jones was transgressive in the most Christian way.” She mentioned his idea of extending love to even the most evil humans in history—as in the latest Ye-ism: “I loooooove Hitlerrrrrrr” from two days prior.
“I think it’s fair to say that Christianity was the major disruption. To be Christian is to be a disruptor. It might not seem like that these days, but a lot of people forget that faith, Christianity, was at one point, the counter-culture,” I said.
When Ye ended the phone call, he asked me how long I was in town.
“Until Monday morning,” I said.
“So, we’re not in a rush,” he asked.
I shook my head no. His phone is constantly lighting up. The clothing designs he’s working on are laid out across the floor. He seems to be constantly working on something—all at once. Assistants come up with questions. He takes business calls. There is a good mix of natural and soft synthetic light in the headquarters, so what initially felt like a labyrinth started to feel like a monastery, despite the rush of energy that Ye displays.
“I feel like God is forcing me to stop having sex like Tesla did,” Ye said.
“Tesla stopped at 40… They call that semen retention,” the woman said.
“Do you know who collected Tesla’s stuff when he died?” I asked Ye.
“His semen?” Ye said and laughed.
“Nah,” I said, still laughing “Like his blueprints for his works? It was Donald Trump’s uncle…John Trump.”
Ye looked interested.
“There’s a wild theory about Trump being a time traveler because of his uncle having access to the Tesla material,” I said—hoping that if he did become president, he would look into this.
“You think Tesla had a little time traveling going on?” Ye asked.
“I think anything’s possible,” I said. “He saw things about this world that no one else saw or accepted to see. He thought the pyramids were something way different than what we think they are today.”
An assistant came to ask about lunch as I was about to go in on Tesla theories.
“So, the simulation shattered on Info Wars…” I said. This was the new White Lives Matter shirt—but times a thousand.
Ye looked as if he wanted to hear me expand on the idea.
“When I say simulation, I don’t think we’re like in a zeros and ones kind of simulation. I think base reality is God’s reality. And then the government, the media, they overlay this false reality on top of us. And that’s why I’m okay with anyone questioning everything. Even the things that are not supposed to be questioned. Everyone should be free to question whatever they want whenever they want… because we’ve seen the CIA and the FBI actually engineer false narratives. I think the establishment, with the help of the corporate press, has created an alternate reality.”
When I say things like this, I’m thinking of everything from the “experts” erasing vaccine side effects from the national conversation to how more than a dozen Feds helped plot the kidnapping of Governor Whitmer, to Jussie Smollet, to the Covington kids, to the pee tape, to “the good people on both sides” situation.
I turned to Fuentes and said, “I mean, you talked a little bit recently about what Japan did to China during World War II. That’s some of the most messed up stuff ever. And the American government gave those people amnesty and took their information for doing things like cutting people open and making them eat their own organs. It’s evil. So, it’s stuff like that why I’ve always wanted to see the system get destroyed. The evil things that happen in the dark—OK’d by governments. Even encouraged. So, to me, I think it makes sense what you’re doing. And people are pissed off, as they should be. But I also think things can get better. But… if you break the simulation, how do you reimagine things? How do you reimagine making America better?”
“I start with these vertically integrated communities,” Ye said. “Like Steve [Jobs] worked on the iPhone… we’re gonna save the world with this. The vertically integrated communities are a form of an iPhone, but it’s a community approached with a design language like an apple team would approach a phone. We’re God’s favorite creation. We’re God’s iPhone. If God was Steve Jobs, we’d be the iPhone. And also, Steve Jobs looked like an iPhone…” he said and laughed. “But it’s like what do we need to maximize our being… Water, food, shelter, medicine, and education are the five main elements. And people always correct me, they say I gotta say energy, too. Okay, but all those things are energy. We’re the most powerful energy. All those things are the things that power us. That’s why I think it’s interesting… that energy conversation. Because we don’t, we actually don’t need energy companies…” he said.
“Speaking of Tesla…” I said.
“Earth is a giant generator,” Ye said. “These are the five elements that the 1% use to control the dynamics… That sounds like something Bernie Sanders would say…” Ye said.
“That’s the old-school Occupy Wall Street days,” I said. “But there’s truth to that still…”
“So how do we run the country?” Ye asked rhetorically. “One thing that people talk about is ballot harvesting. And that’s what the Democrats have been doing to win the elections… People need this approach that we have. We need to use America as a platform to show people where the world should be in the 2000s… period… in the future. We need to push things into the future. There are so many things around us that are held back by capitalism, by greed, and by fear. You take away greed of capitalism and fear and only push forward serving God… Everyone’s got to get out of their way, like when I do these interviews, and I say, ‘Well, Nick, what do you feel?’ Then he just has all this information he’s brought to the table, all the information that we need. Like, Ray Kurzweil said, it’s all available, and we just need to group together and allow the people with the ideas to do that. One of the big problems I have is whether it’s Trump or Elon… and you know, this is not something to put into the universe, but I know it’d hit: Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, Elon, and Ari Emanuel all treat me like some stupid ass n**ger.”
“It’s ridiculous,” I said.
“And at the end of the day, people can have their followers. They can have their cars and Twitter. But I have the best EQ on the planet, the best gut on the planet, the best sensibility and taste… We’re only 30% verbal right now. If I speak, it’s a degenerate art for me to use English. So, if I give you a rap in English, it’s already degenerate. Because I’m not English. A 12-year-old English person from Britain is going to sound more intelligent than Jordan Peterson. Because they’re English right… But also pretty much everyone’s more intelligent than Jordan Peterson.”
“Stones thrown,” I said. “Look, I think we’re in a post-politics world. Trump’s comeback speech was boring. I didn’t vote in 2016, but I did vote for him in 2020. I voted for him because I was like, maybe this is crazy, but hopeful. But he seems weak now. And I feel sad about the state of the world because we have no good options. I’m literally considering you as a candidate. Like, I’m telling people they should take you seriously because, as I told you on Monday, you’ve always been rejected and always find success in the aftermath. Right now, everyone else sounds insane to me.”
“Why?” he asked. Before I could answer, he said, “Because it’s in English. Because what I’m bringing is something that’s universal, right? This is the pre-fall of Babylon… These are universal languages. When I speak in English, you know, words are like knives and guns; words hurt. I understand words can heal, but not as much as a hug. Human connection and knowing that there are people by your side and on the journey with you. That’s what I like about Nick and his journey… You know, I wish I was at the diner.”
He’s referencing an altercation Fuentes got into when someone attacked him, and he threw a bottle of Sprite back at them.
“[Us] coming around Alex [Jones] and saying, ‘Yo, you’ve been out here in this war for so long, and you got other people that are here, like, don’t give up on the fight, put down the alcohol, and don’t give up.’ That’s what we use to heal. People are our most important resource. And somehow, we rip each other apart, we tear each other down. Like I’ve said, Jewish people have so many skill sets that can be so helpful to the world moving forward. It just needs to be moved forward with Christian principles. Yeah, a Jewish person, even a godly Jewish person, will put screwing over a gentile in a deal over serving God. I believe it’s in their holy book that they’re allowed to do that… I want to use a word better than ‘screw over’ something even more elevated…”
“Exploit,” Fuentes said.
Ye repeated the word exploit.
“Look,” he said. “Stop making it about exploiting. We need a bunch of Jewish people now. And some feel like they’re going to beat me to a point where I say, ‘I’m sorry, can we work together now?’ No, I’m going to beat my point until they say, ‘I’m sorry, can we work together?’”
“I came here at the weirdest time in my life,” I said. “I was raised Jewish. My dad’s Catholic. I married a Christian woman. Our kids are being raised Christian. And I’ve been going to church. It’s strange to me that everything I have been thinking about is converging. From religion, to politics, to censorship, to you. When it comes to God, I noticed when I was still calling myself an atheist, I started feeling how necessary God is for society…”
I was about to go into an observation I had about what they’re saying versus my childhood, but someone sent Ye the clip of Elon Musk saying he wanted to punch him.
Ye played the audio.
“I personally wanted to punch Kanye, so that was definitely inciting me to violence. That’s not cool,” Musk said.
“I don’t really trust Elon,” I said. “I like what he’s doing to promote free speech, but I don’t like the Neuralink. You mentioned Ray Kurzweil, I think those guys are anti-human. They want to put stuff in your brain and make you immortal. That’s severing you from God. I don’t think people should be immortal. Unfortunately, as much as I love life, I don’t want to live forever. And it’s the saddest thing to think about because I want my kids to live forever, but it’s also like, life is precious, and unfortunately, life is temporary. And that’s what makes it beautiful. And when I hear people say they want to put stuff in your brain or upload your consciousness to a computer, I’m not so into that.”
“So, we should not research it at all?” the woman next to me asked.
“I don’t know about that,” I said. “I still think people should research. But that’s where the problem comes in — because how do you then restrict that?”
Even Elon has tried having this discussion about the limits of AI and the potential consequences.
Ye then questioned Musk’s authority to decide what is and isn’t good.
“He clearly takes this too personal,” I said. “I mean, his whole argument for keeping Alex Jones banned, while extremely sad, is based on subjectivity—his own feelings.”
“Now you got Ben Shapiro actin’ like my I’m gonna kill myself,” Ye said. “[I’m] happier than ever. I’m also happy, well, kind of happy, now that I actually know what Ben Shapiro looks like. You know, I don’t think I’m gonna hold it to memory, but for a brief moment,” he said, laughing.
“I think Shapiro is really smart on a lot of things, but he’s been wrong about some of the most important things. Trump, vaccines, and, I think, the way he sees you as mentally ill,” I replied.
“All these guys…” Ye said. “If you can see them, they’re being told what to say.”
“Speaking of choirs, do you know about Sacred Harp singing? It’s old school, Alabama. They’d stand in a square and sing in shape notes. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world. And your Sunday Service was like an extension of that,” I said.
“I want to see examples of other like amazing things,” he told me. “Like, you know, the Justin Vernons and the Caroline Shaws and Francis and the Lights and just other amazing musicians… where I can incorporate?”
“For sure,” I said. “Today’s politicians are allergic to collaboration. You made a career out of collaboration; you always take in disparate people…”
“Knowledge is the most important thing. The Jews have the high IQs…” Ye said.
“Jews are actually overrepresented in Ivy League universities by 1,900%,” Fuentes said.
“That’s not what Harvard is saying, though,” I said.
“Asians are overrepresented too,” Fuentes said, “but, you know, the argument is, look at the test scores. Of course, there’s overrepresentation because there’s disparities in performance. Well, Jews don’t perform 1,900% better on standardized tests. And I don’t have the figure with me, I have an article about it, but the point is, there’s such a gulf between 2% of the population and 2,000% overrepresented in the schools, and they’re performing significantly more poorly in the standardized tests than they were 30-50-80 years ago. There’s been a real decline in Jewish achievement over the last century. That’s something people don’t talk about. Darren Beattie talked about it on Timcast recently.”
“I don’t disagree with you guys on there being a lot of Jewish people in media and Hollywood,” I said.
“Being Jewish,” Fuentes said, joking, then he said sorry and smiled.
“You see what Ari Shaffir said?” I asked Ye, referring to a clip I saw of him talking to Theo Von.
“What’d he say?” Ye asked.
“He’s not offended. I mean, he just put out a special called ‘Jew,’ and he’s like, ‘I’ve been calling my agents Jews for years… even the ones that aren’t Jewish, I call them Jewish because they’re mostly all Jewish.’ But that’s just one clip, I don’t know what else he’s said. But I will say, like, from where I grew up, we were just always poor. And I tend to see this all like a class issue. I get it, there’s obviously a disproportionate amount of people who happen to be Jewish in some places of power. On the other hand, some people might get mad when we say like, ‘black people commit more violent crime, even though there’s about 15% black people in this country. So, if you’re just statistically speaking, we shouldn’t get mad. I don’t get mad. Like, it’s just the way it is. However, I also think about what was happening before MLK died. Wasn’t he going to start talking about the class issues in America? When I hear you say that a lot of Jews are going to schools and owning other industries, what I really see are the kids that I wasn’t with growing up… who were coming from neighborhoods I wasn’t from… who had money. I didn’t have a computer until I was 18. I was on a horse farm in New York. Just because that’s my experience doesn’t mean that means everyone. But I tend to think in terms like that. Class over race. But you should also be allowed to say things that are offensive to people, even if you’re questioning things that are set in stone,” I said.
“This is why I got a piece of information from the CIA playbook,” Ye said. “‘To directly oppose or discredit people who are exposing truth that attack the agendas they are using to control society to media….’”
“If you’re President, I’m begging you to break up the CIA,” I said.
“Let’s remove the if,” he said. “Of course, we’ve got to get the votes. We’ve got to create policies that are aligned with the Bible. We’re going to empower people in their fields. Great CEOs, great teachers, engineers, pastors, farmers. Let’s everybody join the 21st century. We dreamt about it in the Middle Ages. Now we’re here.”
“It’s because we’re in a pandemic of complacency,” I said. “No one wants to do anything or take risks.”
“We will change it collectively,” he said. “There’s a lot of information that you have in your back pocket; you lay it out, like how we lay these clothes on the floor. We’ll pick them through and make America’s new outfit.”
“In the public’s eye, I feel like when you have someone like Marilyn Manson at a Sunday Service, it’s you taking this person who has been cast outside the good graces of society and forcing people to listen or take someone seriously. It’s forcing the idea of redemption on the cancel-hungry. But more importantly, I think we have been living under tyranny. We’re going through an existential Renaissance, and this whole campaign seems prime for a country that feels like it’s on the cusp of a revival. People are begging for meaning again because there’s widespread nihilism. Everyone’s hurting, everyone’s really sad. There’s so much suicide,” I said.
“Nihilism… is that no respect for God?” Ye asked.
“It’s complete meaninglessness,” I said. “I think you’ve said it before about how the second you started saying ‘Closed on Sunday’ people came for you harder than they ever had before, in a whole different way. You have challenges in front of you guys, But I believe something good can come from this. Even as I was sitting in the airport two days ago, while you guys were on Alex Jones, I had friends who have been Ye fans forever saying, ‘This is it. I’mma head out.’ And they didn’t know I was coming here. No one knew. And for whatever reason, I truly believe you can make a positive impact on the culture…”
Ye said people are telling him that if he wears a mask, he won’t get votes.
“Biden did,” I said.
“What do you mean by Biden wore a mask?” Ye asked.
“COVID,” I said… “And his skin suit.”
“They forced everyone to wear a mask,” he said.
He also said people keep asking how he is doing. They’re mocking the thought of him being unstable. He can’t stand people asking about it, as if they have lost all confidence in him.
“I’m suicidal,” he said, joking. “I’m in an episode. Please give me some medication as quick as possible.” He laughed. To me, he seemed lucid and happy. Self-aware, maybe too much so.
“I don’t feel like explaining to people why I’m more happy outside of the Adidas deal than being a slave inside the Adidas deal,” Ye said.
He wished more people would be outraged about getting frozen out of his accounts.
“People try to bring down my confidence to protect me,” he said. “I walk around in America with the confidence of a white man.”
Ye read another headline: “We don’t need any more interviews with SBF and Kanye.”
“Who’s SBF?” he asked.
“The crypto guy,” I said.
“Sam Bankman Fried,” Fuentes added. “He’s like the Bernie Madoff of crypto.”
“So why are they putting me in that?” Ye asked.
“Because they’re saying, ‘we’re sick of these guys,’” Fuentes said.
“Are you going to run as a certain party?” I asked.
“Republican,” he said. “Because no one is explaining how we could win as an Independent.”
“Have you ever talked to Thomas Sowell?” I asked.
“I’ve heard the name; who’s that?” Ye asked.
“He’s an economist,” Fuentes said. “He’s been retired for years.”
“I think he’s one of the smartest people alive,” I said. “He’s like 90 years old now. He’s from Harlem. He talks about how he was a communist as a kid. And someone brought him to the library. And he started reading books, and it changed his life. He’s wicked smart. I think he’s one of the best doing it.”
“Can we reach him?” Ye asked.
“I’m sure,” Fuentes said.
“How do we utilize him?” Ye asked.
“He’s someone who’s spoken out for decades when it wasn’t the popular thing to say. And he has a keen sense of the economy,” I said. Then I told Ye about the YouTube videos he should watch of Sowell addressing Biden during the Bork confirmation hearings.
“Send me those,” Ye said. Then he shared his contact. He said he wants all the information.
So I brought up the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and noted that sometimes he will bring it up in interviews, like during Drink Champs, but he’ll say the word without expanding on it.
“People don’t know how horrific that truly was. They need to be made aware,” I said.
Ye replied, “America is a big Tuskegee experiment.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Ye’s lunch arrived, and we moved from the big table back towards the main entrance into the room I first set my stuff up in.
“Are you serious when you say you want to rewrite the Constitution?” I asked.
“We want to make the Constitution more Biblical,” Fuentes said. “How do we go about that. We amend it to where the country is Christian, the representatives are Christian, the laws have to be in accordance with Christianity. You can’t have a law that says you can abort babies… There needs to be an amendment that says it is not permitted to allow the murder kids…”
“Do you throw it to the States at that point?” I asked Fuentes. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you are more into a bigger government. And you and I differ a lot on this because my default is to be anti-authority. The individual has the most power, but I can also see how the individual is massively morally corrupted these days. I want a small government, but your argument is that certain things like abortion clearly need to be regulated on a bigger scale and must be outlawed, correct?”
“No state will be able to permit murder,” Fuentes said. “The Constitution is, as you know, what governs the government. In terms of the size and scale of government, I think that’s actually somewhat irrelevant in the sense of we can organize society in a way that is better. And that is going to have to come from directed willpower. The idea that things spontaneously will get better is not working. I’m concerned with is the government efficient, is it competent? Is it performing the things we expect from a government? The government’s role is to protect the people. The government has a role in protecting the people from pornography. Government has a role in protecting children in the womb from abortion. So, I don’t have the same view of limited government that a lot of people do.”
“And you want to impose people who are only Christian in the government? How does that work?”
“Yeah, I think that you should have to be Christian to be in the government. Because even the Founding Fathers said that the Constitution does not work if the society isn’t Christian, right? The Constitution doesn’t work without a religious population. If people are self-governing, people want to murder each other, and do drugs, and rape, and so on. The Constitution or a constitutional government will not restrain them, only a tyrant will restrain them,” Fuentes said.
“Then it’s like, are you a tyrant for restraining despicable things? Where do you draw the line of a tyranny?” I followed up.
“Gotta follow God,” Ye said.
“The problem is, you guys are facing a country that’s diverse. I hate that word. That word has been ruined. But there’s a good thing too, I think to diversity, like diversity of thought, which is I think, true diversity…” I said before Ye cut me off.
“I disagree with the word diverse,” he said. “DIE… VERSE..”
“I don’t like that either,” I said.
“You just said it was a good thing though!” Ye said while opening up his food.
“No, I’m saying I like diversity of thought and not the way we use the word today,” I said.
“Diversity is how I feel like about affirmative action,” Ye said. “It’s not about who’s the most qualified in this situation.”
“I agree with that, but how do you then take this country though, that is religiously diverse, and try to impose those things on the population?” I asked.
“Unification,” Ye said. “My answer to diversity is unification.”
He said people need to forgive each other.
“The Jews need to forgive Hitler,” he said. “These questions are needed for civilization period… to move forward. There’s so many places where we’re just stuck in a loop.”
“I think it’s a downward spiral,” I said.
“I believe in humanity,” Ye said.
“I do too… I’m psychotically optimistic.”
During lunch, we talked about keeping positive even after friends, family, politicians, and media pushed medical segregation, forced vaccinations, lockdowns —mutilating children’s lives.
“Isn’t it so crazy that you can stop society completely, anytime with fear?” Ye asked.
“If they know what you fear, they will control you,” I said.
“In all the superhero films I’ve watched, people beat the system,” Ye said, “and I believe that we’re the superheroes of the system. We communicate love. Or when it’s time to forgive. I forgive what Jewish people have done to me and it’s time for them to forgive Hitler. It’s time for them to forgive that swastika,” he said.
Ye borrowed one of his employee’s laptops and started playing one of Nick’s most recent livestreams.
The lady who had been sitting with us saw Nick in his suit and said he looked Jewish.
“Is that the big secret? Nick is actually Jewish?”
“I had two guys here. They’re film guys, and they are Jewish, and they’re friends of mine. And they never realized that part of the Shabbot ceremony is to break off the biggest piece of the bread, and they set that aside for the devil — so that the devil will leave them alone,” Fuentes said.
“I’ve never heard that,” I said. “I didn’t even think Jews believe in the devil.”
“They do,” Nick said.
I’m admittedly not well-versed in the Talmud. Nick says that he is. I wonder if sometimes his views of parts of the Talmud are cherry-picked and misconstrued in the same way most of the corporate media cherry-picks and misconstrues his own content.
Even if Nick is truly as bad as many believe he is, I’m taking a page from Ye and extending love to him. I don’t think he’s the boogeyman everyone makes him out to be. I think he’s a devout Catholic. He’s extremely smart. I don’t agree with him on a handful of issues. However, we do agree that there’s a rot in this country. I just think that our prescription is different.
He also makes jokes that he knows people will self-immolate over. He is a young man, 24, born into meme culture. Many argue that he couches true hatred in his brand of trolling, but overall, like he told Adam 22 during an appearance on the podcast No Jumper, as a Christian, he doesn’t view anyone as less than, he views the world through a lens of compassion. I guess he will prove his haters right or wrong the more we see from him with Ye.
His upcoming role as communications director is also symbolic, I think, to Ye. From the outside, it looks like Ye said that in order for someone to talk him, one of the most popular people on the planet, they’re going to have to go through one of the most hated.
“What’s good with church tomorrow?” I asked. “Is it cool if I go?”
Ye nodded yes, then said, “I really like the energy of the messaging—just the way you were speaking.”
“I appreciate that,” I said. “I love talking about this stuff. Have you ever read Franz Kafka?”
I know everyone’s going to say he said that he never reads books, but he has also admitted in the past to liking Powernomics— even gifting it to Jared Kushner.
“Kafka wrote as if the world had gone totally mad,” I said. “It’s like there’s one person who’s telling everybody that this this world is mad, but he looks crazy to everybody else. And that’s kind of how you’re looking right about now. That’s how the world’s looking. I see a ton of people dismissing you as crazy.”
“Aren’t we all kind of crazy?” he said. “All the people that change the world?”
Whether you agree with it or not, Ye hijacked reality, then shattered it.
He assassinates his own character and then finds a way to resurrect it. Or so we shall see.
“I appreciate the level of agitation,” I told him.
“My band of outsiders,” he said.
“Right—and you’re all marching out of exile.” Then I said goodbye.
They are fire starters, and sometimes I worry that I’m a pyromaniac.
Not long after I got to my room, I sent Ye a text with a link to a Thomas Sowell video and another link to one of my all-time favorite pieces of music: The Sacred Harp’s field recording of The Last Words of Copernicus.
Then he sent me the location of the church. Bible study’s at 9 am.
Editor’s Note: The title of this piece was changed shortly after publication in an editorial decision by Cashman.