As part of what was described as a “rambling” four-hour interview with Forbes earlier this week in which Kanye West laid out his plans for a purported presidential run, the rapper also briefly dipped back into his day job as an MC, dropping three ragged freestyles for the financial magazine that touched on the COVID-19 pandemic, his struggle with addiction, the O.J. Simpson verdict and the death penalty.
In the absence of any concrete policy prescriptions and lacking any semblance of a traditional campaign staff, the three off-the-top raps are a stream-of-consciousness addendum to the interview, in which Ye bounced from dissing presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to disavowing his MAGA mania and describing his dream of an administration based on the fictional Black utopia Wakanda from Black Panther.
In the two-minute rhyme Forbes referred to as “This is What the Covid’s Made,” he raps, “This is what the COVID list made/ All this hate/ This is what the COVID list made/ All this pain/ Try to keep us quiet cause riots (2x)/ Look at what the COVID’s made/ This hate/ That the COVID made.”
Sounding breathless over the phone, West goes on to suggest we change our diets and come up with a real plan before taking a seeming swipe at Pres. Trump — who, until this week he was an avowed supporter of — with the line, “How about we stop hiding in the bunkers/ And be a real man.” Unless that line is also a dig at Biden, who has been lambasted by the right-wing press for staying locked down at home in his basement in Delaware during the pandemic while avoiding large gatherings.
He seemingly promises his mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, that “we about to go big,” also shouting out her late husband Robert Kardashian, as well as their son, Rob, before promising to take his Sunday Service series to the Vatican.
In “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” West discusses the death penalty and his family’s reaction to the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict. “Robert Kardashian/ Before/ Now I’m not saying if O.J. did it or O.J. did not/ Do it/ I do not know/ But I know, that when I lived in my father’s house/ And I saw that verdict come/ As a black person, we felt that it was a victory/ For all of the times that a black person was wrongfully accused/ And sentenced to death,” he says, not rapping so much as speaking haltingly, before going into a disavowal of the death penalty and a plug for returning prayer to schools.
The third freestyle, “This is Earth,” finds West bouncing from an apology to God for the way humans have turned “dirt” into a negative word for the Earth, to a shout to outsider artist Damien Hirst and then an apparent nod to his struggle with prescription drugs. “They try to put our mind to work/ They try to influence the hurt/ Tell me what’s the purpose/ Look at all the perks/ I was addicted to percs,” he raps. “Drug addiction/ For the devil it works/ Look at all the jerks/ Now we make it hurt/ Nah, now we make it love.”
Check out the freestyles below.