Kanye West has had a turbulent summer, to say the least. And, it's been a turbulent season for any and all fans of West, whose characteristic erratic behavior reached an all time high in late April. He gave a controversial interview to TMZ during which he implied that slavery was "a choice." Then, he released his new album Ye — to middling reviews and mounting scrutiny. West is enigmatic as ever. In his first extensive interview since, West opened up to New York Times critic Jon Caramanica about depression, thoughts of suicide, and his relationship with Donald Trump. (Another part of his controversial month included West showing off a "Make America Great Again" hat. The hat bore Trump's signature.)
"I felt that I knew people who voted for Trump that were celebrities that were scared to say that they liked him. But they told me, and I liked him, and I’m not scared to say what I like," West told Caramanica. West tweeted in May that he and Trump had the same "dragon energy."
When West was asked to explain, the musician clarified that he likes Trump even though the president has done some objectively "bad" things. Said West, "I have a cousin that’s locked up for doing something bad, and I still love him, so I don’t base my love for a person on if they doing something good or bad."
West's unravelling brought with it a lot of speculation about the rapper's mental health. So much so that his wife Kim Kardashian chastised the media for making light of it. "Your commentary on Kanye being erratic & his tweets being disturbing is actually scary," she wrote. "So quick to label him as having mental health issues for just being himself when he has always been expressive is not fair."
On Ye, West said he'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Then, in a radio interview, he confirmed that he had a "mental condition." Speaking to the Times, he confirmed once more that he'd been diagnosed as bipolar, likely around mid-2017, the same time he started exploring Wyoming. These days, he told the Times, he's trying not to be on medication. "I took one pill in the last seven days," he said.
West also revealed that, like his song "I Thought About Killing You" states, he has thought about death by suicide.
"Oh yeah, I’ve thought about killing myself all the time," he said. "It’s always a option and [expletive]. Like Louis C.K. said: I flip through the manual. I weigh all the options."
He added, “I’m just having this epiphany now, ’cause I didn’t do it, but I did think it all the way through. But if I didn’t think it all the way through, then it’s actually maybe more of a chance of it happening.”
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
If you are struggling with bipolar disorder and are in need of information and support, please call the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NAMI” to 741741.