On Thursday, Lots of people had strong reactions to Kanye West’s comments praising President Donald Trump during their White House meeting.
And then there’s T.I.
The Atlanta rapper, who collaborated with ‘Ye on the 2006 track “Swagga Like Us,” publicly unfriended West in an NSFW Instagram post.
“At one time it was a pleasure to work alongside you… now, I’m ashamed to have ever been associated with you,” he wrote. “I’ve reached my limits. This is my stop, I’m officially DONE!!!!”
T.I. prefaced his essay by saying, “Now I’ve been extremely patient and made it a point to not jump to any premature conclusions about Ye’ & his antics,” adding that he’d mishandled similar incidents involving his brother. “But now this (expletive) is next level, futuristic Sambo, Hopping Bob, Stephen off Django (expletive)…Ye!!!!”
The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., revealed he’d turned down West’s invitation to join him at the White House and called the meeting the “most repulsive, disgraceful, embarrassing act of desperation & auctioning off of one’s soul to gain power I’ve ever seen.” (Had he gone and West had behaved that “spinelessly,” T.I. said he would have felt “compelled to slap the (expletive) out of you, bro – for the people!”)
After accusing West of “bootlicking on a whole new level,” he declared, “I refuse to associate myself with something so vile, weak,& inconsiderate to the effect this has on the greater good of ALL OUR PEOPLE!!!!”
Next he addressed Kanye fans: “To all the people who follow Ye musically, socially, or even personally….who are confused, heartbroken, infuriated…. Let me make this clear… THIS (expletive) AINT COOL!!!”
The bottom line: “WE ARE NOT ON HIS MIND AS HE MAKES THESE COMMENTS AND DECISIONS. Don’t follow this puppet.”
Before dropping the mic, T.I. declared, “As long as I’ve lived I’ve learned that it benefits a man nothing at all to gain the world, if to do so, he must lose his soul. We just saw Mr.West’s soul on auction. If you listen closely you can hear the tears of our ancestors hit the floor.”
Kanye West’s long history of courting controversy via spontaneous outbursts
West has long been known for his tendency to make a public spectacle, whether through on the fly comments or behavior. There was 2004 when, after losing a Best New Artist Award at the American Music Awards, the rapper left the show, later telling reporters that he was “robbed.” One year later, West slammed media depictions of black hurricane victims and declared that President Bush didn’t care about black people during a telethon raising funds for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Then there was his 2009 outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards, in which he cut off Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to declare that Beyoncé had the superior video. The VMAs moment also put West in the path of another president, Barack Obama, who was caught on a hot mic calling the rapper a “jackass” for his outburst. West later referenced the incident in his 2010 single “Power” with the line, “they say I was the abomination of Obama’s nation.”
As each of these moments unfolded, West’s track record became a bit more clear. The outbursts showed that West was not only willing to blurt out what was on his mind at any given moment, but also that he was aware of how to take an event and put his thoughts and opinions front and center.
This belief, coupled with West’s larger than life self-image — the rapper wore a crown of thorns on a 2006 Rolling Stone cover and declared himself Yeezus seven years later— suggested that West wanted to wield influence over more than music. He wanted to be seen as a leader of American culture itself.
That belief was not entirely unfounded — West was one of the most prolific producers of the 2000s and helped expose a number of artists to the industry — and he’s become as well known for his outbursts as his own hits. But while West has always been controversial, his boasts and outbursts in the 2000s were seen as fitting into a broader commentary on race and racism that was at times reflected in his music, a reminder that one of the biggest artists of the decade was confident in his blackness and wanted to challenge those who he perceived as disrespecting that.