T.I. Says Kanye West Is ‘Certainly Serious’ About Running for President
By Meredith B. Kile
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment
After another controversial week in the world of Kanye West, the rapper’s recent collaborator T.I. is opening up about “Ye vs. The People,” West’s latest hot-button statements, and more.
"I call it the greatest debate," T.I. told Hot 97 on Tuesday of the pair’s new collab track, which he explained came together quickly "at the end of a four-hour discussion."
"He and I stepped outside, and I said, 'What's up, bro? I'm sure you've got it all figured out. What's the punchline?'” Tip recalled of his recent meetup with the Life of Pablo artist. “And he was like, ‘Yo, free thought man. I felt free to be an independent thinker.’”
West made headlines this week with another storm of tweets, as well as two lengthy in-person interviews: one with Charlamagne Tha God, and another on TMZ Live, in which the rapper opened up about everything from his plastic surgery and opioid addiction to his thoughts on President Donald Trump and a controversial opinion on slavery being “a choice.” But according to T.I., it’s hard to glean the meaning of the rapper’s incendiary statements without a lengthy sit-down like the two had last week.
"The longer I spent talking with him, the more I started to see what he was saying,” he said of his meeting with West. “If you just hear him say something in 10 seconds or 15 seconds, you're going to think he's lost his mind. But the more he speaks about it, even when I don't agree with it, I feel like he's working through his own personal journey."
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T.I. clarified that he disagrees with a majority of West’s political points, but added, "I think he's on a personal journey and he's doing something that none of us understands. We've just got to make him aware of the things that could potentially hurt [people]."
The “Whatever You Like” rapper reiterated his point in an interview with The Breakfast Club on Wednesday, saying, "I think he's a phenomenal talent of our generation that deserves to be heard and considered, no matter how preposterous it may be."
"I disagree with it emphatically, you dig what I'm saying? But first of all, this is Kanye West we're talking about here,” he added. “It ain't but maybe one percent of the population of the Earth who speak the language of Kanye West. And the problem is, the stuff that comes in his head, when it comes out of his mouth and makes it to the air, it's totally different than it was in his head. He kind of needs a translator."
T.I. went on to say that a few of the points he made to West during their meeting included his opposition to Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban -- West’s response, according to Tip: “What’s the travel ban?” -- and pointing out why fans may have been dismayed to see him gleefully sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat.
“‘Man, my subconscious spoke to my conscious and it just moved me to wear the hat.’” West reportedly said of his decision to wear the hat. “‘It’s like we did [with] the word ‘n***a.’ We took the power from the word, and now we use the word as our own.’”
“‘Imagine what a white supremacist would do if they saw me wearing it, they’d want me to take it off,’” he added, according to Tip. “‘Maybe you wanting me to take it off and them wanting me to take it off, is enough to bring us together.’”
When it comes to what’s next for Kanye, T.I. told Hot 97’s Ebro that the rapper is "emphatically certainly serious” about running for president in the future. “This is a real thing. He's deada**."
And as his friend, T.I. said he’s “not giving up” on speaking to the “Lift Yourself” rapper about his own political beliefs.
"We, as the black delegation, we can't afford to lose Kanye West,” he added. “What you talking about, man? That's a catastrophic loss we're talking about!... Hell nah. I'm not going for that. I've invested too much time."
See more on Kanye’s recent controversies in the video below.