Ye Is Already Letting Drama Overshadow His First No. 1 Record in 13 Years

“Carnival” is Ye’s (the artist formerly known as Kanye West) first No. 1 single since being featured on Katy Perry’s “E.T.” (his first as a lead artist since 2007) and it seems like he’s back on top. Musically, at least.

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“Rich, Ty, Carti and the supporters that stood by us through everything, this No. 1 is for you. It’s for the people who won’t be manipulated by the system and f*ck adidas and everybody who works there or with them. Anyone who goes to school with anyone whose parents work at adidas, just know they tried to destroy me and here we are with the No. 1 song in the world,” he posted in a since-deleted statement on his Instagram account this week.

If you thought Ye wasn’t going to be cocky after earning his first No. 1 in 13 years, you thought wrong. He clearly feels that him sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 is a huge deal. And to be fair, it is. At 46 years old he’s the oldest rapper to achieve this feat — and doing so after some of the most tumultuous years of his career makes this achievement even more unbelievable.

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But the question on everyone’s mind right now is: how long will this last?

We’ve seen this movie before. Granted, this time it’s been both amplified and accelerated, but the general idea remains the same. Ye does something to infuriate a large group of people which puts his career in peril. When the peril seems all too real, he shows contrition either through an apology or through a piece of art that tries to explain why he did the thing that infuriated all those people in the first place. And eventually, after some passage of time, he winds up back in everyone’s good graces. Most people think of him on stage at the VMAs and the subsequent release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as the precedent of this cycle.

That was all a long time ago, though. His legacy has taken a major hit over the years as his erratic and, at times, offensive behavior has overshadowed his art. Back in 2016, things got shaky for Ye when some of his Saint Pablo Tour performances were derailed by rantings and ravings. This was blamed on exhaustion and dehydration and led to him being hospitalized and forced to cancel the remaining legs of the tour. That same year he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and pledged his allegiance to Former President Donald Trump. Ye then became a born-again Christian and started to share some of his religious beliefs, like his pro life view on abortion.

Then came his very public divorce from Kim Kardashian and his run of antisemitic remarks that resulted in adidas dissolving their groundbreaking partnership and other companies like JP Morgan Chase severing ties with the artist. Amid all of this, the music he was releasing wasn’t getting the critical acclaim his earlier work received. Ye, Jesus Is King, Donda 1 & 2, and Kids See Ghosts all got mixed reviews. The combination of his controversial opinions and the stream of mid music resulted in fans starting to completely tune him out. History has proven that hit records can fix a lot. But smashes can only do so much—they ain’t magic wands.

It’s clear Ye has amassed a new legion of fans who are more tolerant of his antics off the field; ones who are able to excuse his bigotry and abrasiveness. But his older fans (I’m one of them) have been mostly turned off by his shenanigans in recent years and it’s going to take a lot more than a hot song to win us back. When I first ran through Vultures 1, “Carnival” didn’t immediately jump out to me as a song that had the potential of becoming a hit record. I thought “Paid” and “Vultures” were the “ones” off this album, and even then I didn’t believe either of them would hit the top of the charts. However, in hindsight, I underestimated “Carnival’s” anthem potential and the power of a #veryrare Playboi Carti feature.

Now, that said, even with “Carnival” going number one, I have to say that on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m at around a five when it comes to Ye continuing this run of success. I’m just not sure he’s into traditional success anymore. He seems to love the drama more than the music these days.

Just look at what’s happening with this Julieanna Goddard debacle. Instead of people talking about his first No. 1 in over a decade, people are talking about a controversy involving members of his Yeezy team. On Tuesday, Ye publicly distanced himself from the Miami-based marketer better known as YesJulz, posting an Instagram Story that read, “We have decided to no longer have YesJulz involved in the role out of Vultures. All the activity on her page and with our fans in the past few days has been unauthorized.” Then an email floated around—allegedly from Chief of Staff Milo Yiannopoulos, yes the far right commentator who managed Ye’s presidential campaign—saying she had been fired and will be fined $7.7 million for violating her NDA, even though she didn’t sign her contract. I’m no legal expert, but I don’t think you can violate a contract you never signed. YesJulz then went on the offensive and shared several screenshots and emails from Yiannopoulos which contained disparaging remarks about Ye’s fanbase. And, frankly, It’s all a sh*tshow.

We should be talking about Ye’s return to form, instead we’re trying to piece together why Milo Yiannopoulos is back on his team and if the original email is even legit or not. Ye eventually deleted his posts about YesJulz, but the damage has already been done. No one knows what’s really going on over there, but one thing is for sure: Ye is addicted to drama. How long before he makes more disparaging remarks about people he perceives to be against him? If his celebratory Instagram caption is any indication, it won’t be long at all. If he’s not able to get his house in order and focus on the art, his first No. 1 in nearly a decade and a half will mean nothing and he will only have himself to blame.

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