Kanye West wanted to title his 2018 album ‘Hitler’

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By Mira Fox, The Forward

Rapper and fashion designer Kanye West has been in the news for the past several weeks, thanks to numerous antisemitic and otherwise hate speech-filled rants he has posted to Twitter or delivered on talk shows. 

According to CNN, “several people who were once close to the artist” told the news outlet that the rapper’s antisemitism is nothing new. In fact, according to several sources, West wanted to name his 2018 album “Hitler.” (The album was ultimately released with the title “Ye,” after West, who legally changed his name to Ye.

A business executive, who spoke with CNN under the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution from West and because of a confidentiality agreement, showed the news outlet the settlement he reached with West over workplace complaints including harassment. 

According to the source, West is “obsessed” with Hitler, read “Mein Kampf” and often praised the Nazi leader for “all the great things he and the Nazi Party achieved for the German people.” The source also said that West was particularly impressed by the Nazi use of propaganda; West’s own antisemitic statements use many of the same ideas and stories as Nazi propaganda against Jews in the 1930s.

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The anonymous business executive is not the first to note that West’s antisemitism goes back to at least 2018. Van Lathan Jr., a former employee at gossip site TMZ, recalled an infamous interview West did with the site in which he said slavery was “a choice” Black people made. 

On an episode of the podcast “Higher Learning,” Lathan alleged that during the same interview, West also made numerous antisemitic statements that were edited out, while a number of anti-Black statements were aired. (Another source present at the interview also told CNN that West had spoken favorably about Hitler while there.) 

“He said something like, ‘I love Hitler, I love Nazis.’ Something to that effect when he was there. And they took it out of the interview for whatever reason,” Lathan said. 

The sources’ claims raise numerous questions about his collaborators in business, fashion and music, as well as the Kardashian family — namely, whether a large number of people had been aware of West’s beliefs for years, and had brushed them off, helped West hide them or, perhaps, shared the rapper’s antisemitism.

What anyone could have done to dissuade West, however, is unclear; in a song called “No Mistakes” on the 2018 album nearly titled “Hitler,” the artist rapped: “I don’t take advice from people less successful than me.”

This article was originally published on the Forward.