For the past two months, Kanye West dominated the headlines for an unbroken stream of misconduct. What started as a controversy over the rapper’s ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirts has turned into a torrent of antisemitic remarks before it appears on The Alex Jones show in early December praise the Nazis and Hitler. “I see good things about Hitler,” West said during the bizarre three-hour interview where he falsely claimed Hitler invented the highways and microphones.
West’s remarks mirrored earlier claims from former business and music industry sources. CNN and NBC this fall — that the musician had praised Hitler and made several anti-Semitic comments over the past five years, paying at least two severances to former employees who alleged he made such remarks at the workplace. work.
But as nearly half a dozen sources who have worked with West say rolling stone, his alleged obsession with Hitler and the Nazis goes back even further than previously reported. They claim that West discusses his admiration for Hitler and what he sees as positive achievements of Nazi Germany over nearly two decades, describing it as a well-known but well-kept secret within the rapper’s inner circle.
Beyond mere fascination, according to two sources, West was inspired by Nazi propaganda strategies and power-gain tactics to achieve his own fame and success. “It’s no exaggeration now to compare Kanye’s ‘by any means necessary’ methods and tactics with those of Adolf Hitler,” a former longtime aide said. “To know that a Hitler/[Joseph] Goebbels playbook was a central source of inspiration for Kanye’s own multimedia playbook, helping to bring a lot of clarity to the exact types of moves he’s made over the course of his career. (West did not respond to rolling stonerequest for comment.)
“It’s no exaggeration now to compare Kanye’s ‘by any means necessary’ methods and tactics with those of Adolf Hitler.”
Former long-time collaborator
In the years leading up to the release of West’s 2004 Grammy-winning debut album University dropout, West’s success as a rapper was unclear. While he was a wunderkind producer, music label executives believed West’s semi-preppy looks and suburban upbringing didn’t fit the image of the gangster rapper of the early 2000s. took over when he signed with Roc-A-Fella in 2002 and soon began working on his debut album. It was during those early studio sessions that the 26-year-old frequently discussed Hitler and the Nazis and asked others about their thoughts, according to a 2003 music industry source who claims to have witnessed the first-hand conversations. “It was like a daily thing,” the source said.
The topic was not brought up in general conversation, the music source said. Instead, West reportedly approached collaborators and industry executives and ambushed them with questions — apparently trying to catch people off guard. “Going to someone like, ‘So what do you think of the Holocaust?’ explains the music source.
Until West received a response he was happy with — which would include some form of acknowledgment of the “good” the Nazi leader had done — West would continue to pressure people until he felt his opinions were validated, according to the music industry source. “It got heated at times depending on the person,” the source explains.
West took a particular interest in Nazi marketing and propaganda techniques, according to a second former longtime aide, who estimates in the four years of working with West that the rapper spoke positively about Hitler at least half a dozen of times.
“[West’s] model talking about it in the studio [or] the workplace was reasonably cohesive,” says the former longtime collaborator. “If he felt you were trustworthy…there was a reasonably high likelihood that he would attempt to engage with you and evangelize you about his beliefs about Hitler and the Nazis.”
A third longtime music collaborator recalls having a brief and tense conversation with West about Hitler around 2014, with West allegedly trying to explain the “good” Hitler had done. “I think my exact words were, ‘What if Hitler did some good shit. So what?'”
“It’s almost unfathomable that anyone could call [Hitler] anything other than a murderer.
Former Business Associate
Others didn’t feel so comfortable challenging West. Although the longtime former aide said they found the conversations and mentions of Hitler extremely disturbing, they felt there was “absolutely no reasonable capacity” to push back without risking getting fired. “When those things happened, if you still wanted a place in that group, you would just stifle your worries, keep a smile on your face, and move forward as if nothing had happened,” says the former collaborator.
West praising Hitler stunned a former business associate, who claims at a high-level meeting in fall 2015 that West called Hitler a “marketing genius” within the first 15 minutes of the show. ‘call. “In my more than 25 years in the business, I have never heard anyone say that name out loud in a business meeting,” says the associate.
To save the meeting, the businessman remembers correcting West and trying to move the conversation, only for West to say, “No, [Hitler] really figured out how to engage people in a way that no one has ever done. “Hearing this, it is almost unfathomable that anyone could call [Hitler] anything other than a murderer,” the former partner explains, adding that it was “without a doubt the most disgusting thing I’ve heard in my life.”
The following year, West released “Famous,” a track that rekindled his longtime feud with Taylor Swift. An early version of the song that was leaked online contained anti-Semitic lyrics and West complained that he couldn’t talk about Hitler, The envelope recently reported. “The World Is Slowly Going Black” western raps. “Where you can call niggas ‘niggas’ but you better not mention Hitler. So tell me who runs the labels, where do the guns come from?”
West’s comments about Hitler nearly spilled over into the public forum again in May 2018 during a shipwreck interview with TMZ where West crudely stated that The painful history of black enslavement in the United States “feels like a choice”.
During this rant, West allegedly talked about loving Hitler and the Nazis, former TMZ staffer Van Lathan Jr. said on his podcast “Higher Education” in October. However, Lathan said, TMZ removed the offensive remarks from the video. (Two people familiar with the incident said rolling stone they had also heard about West’s remarks in the offices of TMZ.)
Behind closed doors, according to two sources, West continued to talk about Hitler and the Nazis with those around him at the time – escalating when the rapper told his team he wanted to name his eighth studio album Hitler. (CNN first reported that West wanted to name the album after the Nazi leader.)
“If you give a maniac a large audience – like Hitler – bad things happen. There are people who listen and buy into it because Kanye said it and what he says is rubbish .
Former Business Associate
But two industry sources say West’s admiration for Hitler and the Nazis is beyond shock value or talking points; rather, they claim that West attempted to emulate Nazi techniques—such as demanding ultimate control, dominating a press narrative, and propaganda strategies—for his own personal and professional gain.
“I feel like he used those techniques to get where he is, to be honest,” the music industry source explained in 2003. “He was so fascinated by [Hitler] – someone who can have total control over people and how he did it. I think maybe it was the understanding of who Hitler was and how he created his army…I think [West] started to almost correlate how he could manipulate things to be, not on the same level, but how he could try to get people to be his “army”.
The former longtime collaborator recalls West frequently talking about “building an army” and inflating his team by calling them “assassins”, equating the “work we were doing with a war”.
Those who have watched West praise Hitler on podcasts and interviews fear that he will end up influencing even the smallest number of his fans. For them, it’s not an eccentric and provocative entertainer who grabs the headlines, it’s an amplification of harmful and dangerous beliefs.
“No one should view his behavior as simply ‘Kanye being Kanye,'” the former collaborator adds. galvanize with the goal of amassing power and influence, then tried to convert that – with absolute seriousness – into a race for the US presidency. .”
“Between his notoriety, social networks and traditional media, he has a very big microphone,” adds the former business associate. “It’s reckless and dangerous because in some ways it legitimizes the fact that there was justification [for Hitler’s actions] … If you give a maniac a large audience – like Hitler – bad things happen. There are people who listen and buy into it because Kanye said it and what he says is bullshit.