(AllHipHop Features) Fans of Kanye West know the name Malik Yusef. If not, that will soon change. Malik Yusef is a spoken word artist, a poet, a musician, and also a key figure in Kanye West’s inner circle. He has been down with his Chicago brethren since the beginning. Kanye set off a firestorm of controversy after a series of social media posts expressed extreme adulation for U.S. President Donald Trump. West referred to Trump as his “brother” and sported the signature red “Make America Great Again” cap in pictures. There is much more to say, especially about the supremely talented Mr. Yusef, but at the moment, the people need insight. Although there are serious issues like Net Neutrality, Syria, mass incarceration and the status of Cardi B’s baby (sarcasm)…we need to know as much as we can – at this time – about what is going on with Kanye West.
Malik Yusef talks to Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur and paints a very, very acute visual in this exclusive interview, which is a mere fraction of a longer, forthcoming conversation. Read on and stay tuned.
AllHipHop: what’s going on?
Malik Yusef: I just talk to him this morning before I got on the airplane. Kanye is an enigmatic creature, Which I think our people so dive deep into the Kanye West phenomenon. Kanye is an amalgamation of a bunch of peoples in his life. The influences of his father, his mother. Not just his father but his side of the family The influences of his father, his mother. Not just his father but his side of the family, the Civil Rights Movement – his father- and The Black Panthers or affiliated with the Panthers. His mother, with the Civil Rights Movement as he alluded to. At 6-years old, at the sit ins. At 10 years old he was an exchange student in China. He’s always been this kid who has always known that he was gifted always going to be great. And he’s been rapping since he was nine years old.
Having all those things inside himself, and the code-switching, trying to be an athlete in high school, you know, he was trying to figure out himself being raised by a single mother and had a stepdad. All these things that a lot of people go through but, also attempting ascend to the highest level of art too – in the world. If you’re growing around Stones (Almighty Black P. Stone Nation) and GD’s (Gangster Disciples) and being a producer for a group and being a rapper and then being a rapper/ producer. All of this by 40 years old. Having three kids and a wife and that wife is Kim Kardashian. I am also giving birth to John legend Kid Cudi a rebirth to Common, a rebirth to Twista, a rebirth to Malik Yusef, or a rebirth to Do or Die. Presenting the world with a Big Sean. Rebirth to Pusha T. Being signed to Hov (Jay Z) and Dame Dash. I think people are not looking at the speed and velocity in which this person takes place or in the public eye.
And then also, because of his lyrical content, where he’s from – Chicago- the lineage of revolution they expected him to kind of be the champion of their cause no matter what that cause is. And Coming from the home of Larry Hoover and Jeff Fort a.k.a. Chief Malik and Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr., Flukey Stokes – coming from that world. The machine politics of Richard Daley, Sr. (the 38th mayor of Chicago, who died in 1976) and then Richard Daley, Jr. A city where there are 60 games at any given time, active. But also, you’re trying to be a musician in a city where there is no music. New York, New Jersey – you can catch a bus and be at a label. You can catch a train and be at a label. In Chicago, that’s nonexistent. There’s two Chicago’s. There’s not two New York’s. And all of these dichotomies, all these polar opposites. It’s the gift and the pendulum swings both ways with that gift or at play in the brain at all times. Genius registers on the autism scale, like me. Autism is part of my genius. Genius is part of my autism, you know? Where do you have time to study politics Genius registers on the autism scale, like me. Autism is part of my genius. Genius is part of my autism, you know? Where do you have time to study politics when you are thrust into a world where people think you are politically astute? And maybe not so much.
Me and him have had these deep spiritual talks about the spiritual and extraterritorial/celestial universe as well as the fact that I’m a Republican. And why was that. “Malik, what’s the difference between a Republican and Democrat?” That’s a real question he asked. And we still do the song for Barack Obama.I got him to do a song with Barack Obama even though he was not immersed in the political process whatsoever. Doing voter registration doesn’t make you immersed in the political process. The political process is deep and there’s assigned to it, you know. When you are striving to f#cking survive, my ni##a, you don’t have time to do all that. You are trying to get food in mouth tonight! Do you need revenue. You can’t invest. You can’t invest time. You have to invest time to get food in f#ckin mouth. Life’s on. Period.
So as he got into the world with the political thing, he’s like “OK well let me see what I like.” What does Kanye like? Well Kanye likes people that speak their mind. That’s what he aspires to be calling somebody that says what the f#ck they want to say. Me and him: we always argue. There’s not a time in my life where I can remember we were not arguing. Not when we were first getting him built up to now. Today we had a super pleasant exchange about love. He’s like, “I know that you disagree with me, Malik. I know that you do.” Because I don’t like Donald Trump and I don’t hate Donald Trump either. And Donald Trump is a blessing.Because people say ain’t sh#t going to be done. I’m going to keep it a stack, my n#gga. I grew up on 128th and Wallace. That block ain’t changed since I was born.
We’ve done had all kinds of presidents. Bush twice. Clinton. Obama. And now Trump. My sh#t looks the same, Yo. I am a Republican because I was involved in the mother f#ckin’ international drug trade and Republicans, at the time, with the best mother f#ckin’ criminals in the country.And they were over about how they felt. The so-called liberals, this white liberal racism is real. They look down on Blacks and Browns, just as much, or worse (than Republicans). They think they are nice people.
So now what Kanye saying… Now Candace Owens, she’s clownish to me. He might like her. I like people that’s clownish too. I got an uncle that’s clownish. Uncle Joey been owing me $10 since I helped him to move when I was 10 years old. He ain’t paid me yet. I love him, but I’m not expecting him to be in a business situation that I have to be involved in. I don’t hate Donald Trump. I don’t manufacture hate in my spirit. I don’t hate anybody. I only manufacture love. That’s the only product you can get from a Malik Yusef – that’s love. Even when me and Ye argue, that’s love. Me and Ye might go two weeks without speaking and I’ll send him an email that says, “Hey man, congratulations..” or “I heard this happened to you. I hope you’re all well.” This might be two weeks that we ain’t spoke and other times, we’re together every day for a month. All day. 20 hours a day. That happens as well. And we still disagree. I disagree about music. We disagree about culture. We disagree about fashion. (Laughs) And we disagree about the political process.
I don’t share his views on the edification of Donald Trump. I just don’t. That to me. But guess what, yes he can like what Donald Trump stands for if he f#ckin’ wants to. I don’t particularly have an issue with how he (has an affinity for Donald Trump), I have an issue with how he lives his life. Or how Kanye West does what he does to help people or how Kanye West has changed peoples lives for the positive.
When I left the streets I signed to Kanye.The day I told Kanye that I was not on the streets hustlin no more, 2006 Grammy day, he said you might as well sign to the label. And people say:” of course you like Kanye. He did things for you.“ No. No. No. No. This is not a selfish situation. This is “self-hood.” He has a right to feel what he wants to feel and then I’ll just add context and framework to what he’s looking at. “OK you like Donald Trump for what reasons?” Because he proclaimed himself to be the president of the United States and he did it. Now I see a Hustle. I’ll see Hustle in the sh#t my n#99a. For real. I’m not gonna front. If he can get himself in that mother f#ckin’ White House, sheeeeeeeet…
He’s in (White House) paying hoes and running a sex (inaudible). Bringing in racist people. Unqualified people, giving them positions – letting them talk to Russians.It’s open. We’ve been lied to. We thought that the White House was some sacred position. It’s obviously not. It’s obviously not.
I was offered to work on Donald Trump’s campaign. And I didn’t do that even though the $5 million was attractive. I felt like I was going to hurt too many people. And that’s what I decided to do. I decided not to to hurt people’s feelings and and hurt their heart. The same time Kanye felt like, “Hey, I need…I don’t want to feel the pressure of not saying…(he’s not riding with Trump.)” He didn’t want to have the pressure of that. So, he tells people “I love Donald Trump.” Donald Trump is entertaining if you look at it through a lens where he don’t directly affect you. He’s entertaining. We were entertained by him up until he ran for president or up until he won the Republican nomination, I should say. Then we said, “Oh he’s dangerous. Now we’re scared of him.” People was loving Donald Trump. Supporting his shows. Putting him in rap songs.
AllHipHop: He wasn’t political then though.
Malik Yusef: It was political. I understand that. But he had the same views though. He still took out an article in the paper about the Central Park Five. He was still on that sh#t. I know rappers, not Kanye, that he’s given money to. I know actors that he’s given money to. I’m not gonna say no names and put them under the bus. He’s definitely helped people out so they feel beholden to him. I ain’t took no money from nobody so I can say what the f#ck I want to say. And Kanye – don’t think he’s taking any money from anybody so he can say what he wants to say too. Now we have diametrically opposed views on the sh#t. I think Candace Owens is a clown. She’s misinformed and she’s misinforming people. She has a jaundice view on things. A couple fact checks will help her out. Most people don’t want facts, Chuck. They want their beliefs fortified.