After going dark on social media for the past week, Kanye West is back on Twitter to share a long, rambling missive that, like most things Kanye has done in the past year, likely does more to raise concern over Kanye’s well-being than it does enlighten his audience.
Much of the 10-minute video, which the rapper/producer recorded while in Africa, focuses on “mind control”—namely, how social media influences people to think monolithically, and how the need for social media validation can fuck with people.
“That’s mind control. When people try to influence you on social media or try to tell you what to do... That’s the echo chamber that’s trying to control you based off incentivizing you, based off getting enough likes, and that’s the poison that’s happening with social media,” Kanye said, essentially describing his in-laws’ entire business plan.
Ye then makes it personal, saying when “people try to tell me what to do, I feel like they’re touching my brain.” Throughout the video, he rubs his temples, looking at times as if he’s in pain or just plain exhausted (Kanye says he’s been struggling with sleep deprivation during the video.)
“These people, black people, people on social media, people trying to control us. ... They’re trying to control our mind,” Kanye says. “They’re trying to control my mind.”
Kanye, who has drawn a lot of criticism on social media following his recent, bizarre trip to the White House (quite a few of it from peers like T.I. and Diddy), meandered throughout the rant, taking a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook and bragging about his high IQ (“straight up Sigmund Freud, Tesla vibes”), comparing needing to have “control over his mind” to women wanting control over their bodies and urging viewers to say and do what they feel (unless, apparently, it’s to voice disagreement with him. Then, it’s mind control).
He also dispensed mantras and affirmations, repeating phrases and self-praise.
“Social media told you that nobody likes me, but everybody loves me,” Kanye said, later adding, “I am the best living recording artist.”
Towards the end of the video, Kanye then focuses on another aspect of control—creative and financial control—that he’s had trouble achieving: not owning the publishing rights to his music. It’s a valid gripe—though it gets lost in the narcissistic, self-congratulatory sauce that now defines Kanye.
Kanye claimed that despite having the money to buy his publishing rights (he quotes $8 million), he’s been denied the ability to own his music.
“I don’t need to say the S-word,” Kanye said, referring to the word “slave.” “I’m not Prince, I don’t need to write it on my face.”
It’s fair to be concerned about Kanye’s health. It’s also fair to be done with him, to chalk his latest outburst to a long, though increasingly erratic, history of Kanye being a jerk who manages to squander whatever public good will comes his way. What seems clear after watching this video, though, is that whatever’s in Kanye’s future, it will get worse before it gets better.