Ye’s drama used to happen in fits and spurts — a wise comment about President Bush here, an infamous speech interruption at the VMAs there, a falling out with the country’s biggest power couple to top it off. This particularly cursed year, though, ushered in a new era for Kanye West news items. This week alone, the Donda rapper found himself in the eye of multiple storms, from his businesses to his personal life. Usually we’d just let it be, but with the next season of The Kardashians already here, it felt like Ye’s turn to be kept up with … Here’s the rundown, below:
Kanye West founded a religious school that families must sign NDAs to attend. (True-crime podcasters: Write this down, write this down!)
West’s first large-scale religious event was his Sunday Service, a Christian church service where congregants wear taupe clothes and sing God’s praises. Now he’s pivoted to Donda Academy, a Christian prep school named after his mother where the students’ parents have to allegedly sign NDAs, per a September 15 Rolling Stone report. Details about the institution remain murky, and the school is not yet accredited, though it did apply for accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Located in Simi Valley, the academy aims to “prepare students to become the next generation of leaders,” according to its website. Lessons include “full school worship; core classes of language arts, math and science; lunch and recess; enrichment courses including world language, visual art, film, choir, and parkour” for the price of $15,000 with scholarships and other funding available. Ye also managed to recruit top-ranked high-school basketball players to make the school a sports powerhouse.
The current principal of Donda Academy has no formal teaching experience, while the assistant principal worked as an elementary-school teacher in Chicago, according to Rolling Stone. Producer and longtime Ye collaborator Malik Yusef is also involved in the project, and some students are friends of the rapper (Keyshia Cole, get your kid out of there!).
The Lea Michele literacy allegations probably inspired Ye to come clean about his own selective illiteracy: “I actually haven’t read any book.”
Maybe reading books would have led the rapper to agree to more advantageous contracts. On an episode of Alo Yoga’s Alo Mind Full podcast, West told Alo co-founder Danny Harris that conversation, not books, are more of his thing. “I actually haven’t read any book,” West said on the pod, which aired September 16. “Reading is like eating Brussels sprouts for me,” West continued. “And talking is like getting the Giorgio Baldi corn ravioli.” The founder of an entire school also revealed he reads only the first and last sentences of long text messages.
Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel and Ye might be an item.
The new dating rumors don’t have Julia Fox energy, but they exist nonetheless. Ye is now rumored to be in a relationship with Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel. The rumors emerged on gossipmonger DeuxMoi’s Instagram Story, and fans reposted the screenshot on Reddit. Comments claimed to have heard the rumor two months ago, while a different poster said, “It’s true y’all.” The couple was spotted together September 13 at an event for Yeezy Gap sunglasses, which Swanepoel had modeled. Two days later, the model shared an Instagram Story of her and the rapper behind blurred glass, a picture West reposted on his own social media. Swanepoel previously joined Kim Kardashian’s Skims campaign.
The rapper ditches Gap and feuds with Adidas over his Yeezy partnerships.
Ye formally terminated his contract with Gap on September 16, citing a breach of contract, according to documents reviewed by the New York Times. “It was always a dream of mine to be at the Gap and to bring the best product possible,” Ye told CNBC’s Closing Bell that same day. “Obviously there’s always struggles and back-and-forth when you’re trying to build something new and integrate teams.” From the pricing to the color ways to the progress of launching physical stores, West was dissatisfied. “Everyone knows that I’m the leader. I’m the king,” Ye added. “A king can’t live in someone else’s castle. A king has to make his own castle.”
He had inked the partnership with the brand to produce the Yeezy Gap line in 2020 with the possibility of lasting ten years and the hope of generating $1 billion in annual sales. The affordable collections were supposed to be his pivot to the mass market with lines for all ages and genders. But Ye claimed Gap failed to stock the products in stores and did not open specific fronts for just Yeezy stuff. Items didn’t hit stores until July 2022, after he collaborated with Demna on Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga (this collaboration will not be affected by the contract termination as it falls under a different agreement). Lawyers for the rapper sent the breach-of-contract notice August 16, giving the retailer 30 days to “cure its breaches,” which Gap responded to in a letter on August 23, but to no avail.
The CNBC interview wasn’t his last word on the matter. In a now-deleted Instagram post, Ye declared “war” with Gap. He shared subsequent posts that list the retailer’s board of directors. “Magically No production companies have been willing to produce my YZYSZN9 fashion show in Paris on October 3rd,” one caption said. “Funny that Bob Martin called me and said we are amicably ending our deal,” he captioned the final post, using the same image of the board-of-directors list. “But I can’t do a fashion show but they can keep selling my product hmmmmm.”
Adidas, another Ye fashion partner, is also catching strays. In a September 19 Instagram post, he called out Adidas Originals’ senior vice president, Torben Schumacher, for allegedly stealing designs and halting business plans. An additional post of a text-message screenshot appeared to point to future legal action against Adidas. “Who are the real decision makers at adidas?” he wrote. “Torben is a fucking idiot. Torben stole my designs. Adidas stole my designs. They did the Balenciaga collaboration without my knowledge and then stopped my Balenciaga Gap shoes from going to market. Nobody call me and ask me if I’m sleeping. It’s war. We deaded Gap now it’s Adidas time.” The caption read, “WAR TIME MY FAVORITE TIME.”
In the midst of a fight over his music catalogue, Ye empathizes with Taylor Swift (Irony: 1, Kanye West: 0).
Billboard published a story September 19 detailing an effort by West’s representatives to sell his publishing library. Per sources, the catalogue generates around $5 million in revenue for the rapper. Apparently, the valuation is quite big: as much as 35 times the net publisher’s share, or gross profit (a rare multiple — Bob Dylan’s reportedly went for 28 to 29 times the net). But Ye responded to the report by saying the potential sale was news to him. “Just like Taylor Swift my publishing is being put up for sale without my knowledge,” West wrote in an Instagram Story on September 20. “Not for sale.” (The difference between West and Swift, however, is that Swift’s music was sold after an offer from Scooter Braun and was not the result of an alleged campaign to shop the catalogue.)
Let’s hope this scoop never comes to fruition: The last thing we want is a “Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Kanye’s Version).”
Ye sits down with Good Morning America to talk about co-parenting with Kim Kardashian (and to compare their children to his “war” with Gap and Adidas).
In a wide-ranging interview with the rapper, West apologized to Kardashian, saying he has “new respect” for his ex-wife. “This is the mother of my children, and I apologize for any stress that I have caused, even in my frustration, because God calls me to be stronger,” he said in the September 22 sit-down with Good Morning America. “I need this person to be less stressed and of the best, sound mind and as calm as possible to be able to raise those children at the end of the day.”
He also discussed feeling unheard in his effort to co-parent their children, comparing his attempts to have a say on child-wardrobe matters with his Yeezy battles. “There was a parallel to what was happening at Gap, what was happening at Adidas, and what was happening in my home,” he said. “It was all a disregard for the voice of something that I co-created. I co-created the children. I co-created the product at Adidas. I co-created the product at Gap.” According to Ye, these parallels also touch on the issue of discrimination both within the brand deals and his marriage. His parenting struggles segued into a discussion about Donda Academy, where Ye said he has to “fight for a say-so” to send his children there.
Aside from comparisons of flesh-and-blood children to fashion-brand deals, the famous “How Sway?” meme made its way into the interview. Recall Ye’s 2013 interview with Sway, when the radio host implored the rapper to sell his products directly to consumers, a suggestion that led Ye to utter that iconic memeified clapback. Anyway, the new Yeezy reality has proved Sway right. “I will go ahead and say that Sway had the answer,” he admitted on Good Morning America. One last admission? He said he’s not done with his political aspirations. So we’ll still be keeping up with Ye in more ways than one.