It’s very rare for a month to go by without any real Kanye West news – although to be fair, that news is now Ye news. The artist formerly known as Kanye officially changed his name to Ye late last year, a headline of its own. This month, however, Ye seems to be in overdrive, making headlines left and right. From making big career moves to – according to a report – meeting Vladimir Putin? We take a look at what Ye has been up to as he looks ahead to a new year and leaves his divorce behind.
From Russia, With Love??
Once news broke earlier this week that Ye was planning to meet with controversial Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the internet immediately lit afire with speculation. Was Ye cozying up to another dictator after famously befriending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un? Is this part of Ye’s World Tour of Bad Choices? Or were they getting together to drop a rap album with Putin spitting some mad lyrics?
Unfortunately, we’ll never know, because a representative for Ye says the meeting isn’t happening.
Billboard reported earlier this week that Ye had plans to fly to Moscow and meet with Putin as part of a business move. Per Billboard, “Travel plans are currently in the works for spring or summer, depending on Ye’s schedule, according to his confidant and strategic advisor Ameer Sudan, who’s helping to coordinate the arrangements with attorney Scott Balber. Balber is the managing partner of Herbert Smith Freehills’ New York office and is the law firm’s U.S. head of investigations and financial services litigation. Sudan says he and Balber are acting as liaisons between Ye and Balber’s clients Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire real estate developer Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov. Balber declined to comment. Ye’s personal and label reps also declined to comment.”
Well, now one of those reps has spoken. In a contact with Rolling Stone, we have a different answer; “But while Sudan appeared gung-ho about West’s potential goings-on in Russia, a PR rep for the rapper, Pierre Rougier, shot down the story, telling Rolling Stone in an email: ‘Entirely fabricated. Work of fiction or wishful thinking from these Russian people.”’
Which rep do we believe? Both Billboard and Rolling Stone are reputable, so it’s like the battle of the sources now. It would appear that it’s all just a fabrication, but if we’re being honest this kind of thing is exactly on brand for Ye – so time will tell. We’ll still keep our fingers crossed for that Putin/Ye single.
While we await that exciting development, we can take a look at career moves we can be a little more certain about. Ye was recently spotted having dinner with former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Antonio Brown at a West Hollywood locale. Brown was recently let go from his team after stripping down on field and storming out of the game. According to Brown, he had an injury the coaches were aware of and refused to get on the field – the coaches say they didn’t realize he was injured.
Leaning into his recent media image, Brown was shirtless when he was seen getting off a private jet after arriving in Los Angeles. The meeting with Brown is being talked about online as a signal that the pair may be collaborating on a song in the future. Brown is no longer a pro ball player, so what’s next? Rapping, clearly. Ye has been known to help launch a career or two, so this could be a part of his great plan to move forward.
That plan appears to include being as smooth as a baby’s bottom too. Ye received a shave while in the middle of dinner with Brown and Julia Fox – who we’ll get to in a minute. Brown shared a video of a stone-faced Ye being shaved by someone as the sounds of what is thought to be Craig’s clattered in the background – dishes, utensils and other cooking sounds instantly recognizable. We’ve all been there though, right? Can’t enjoy your dinner when your whiskers are getting too bold.
We also know Ye has been busy crafting fashion deals. At the same dinner where Ye got a shave and hung out with the former Buc, he was seen chatting with Fashion Nova founder Richard Saghian. It could be that Ye is planning a partnership with Fashion Nova, after all fashion is one of his great passions and the guy really does have a talent for it. Ye’s earliest career happened in parallel with legendary fashion designer and visionary Virgil Abloh – who recently passed away from cancer. So Ye’s fashion roots run deep, and they’ve sprouted new branches recently.
In typical Ye fashion, he announced his new plans cryptically a few days ago on Instagram with just a picture of a portion of a contract that appears to be between his Yeezy company, Gap and Balenciaga. We now know that it was an announcement for Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga, a collection that brings together fashion house Balenciaga with the Yeezy Gap line’s 10-year contract. We don’t know details of what the collection will include, but it should launch later this year – perhaps as early as June.
Relationship, Start of Another
While it seems that his professional life is headed in a basically linear direction – although who can tell if Russia is part of that journey or not – his personal life is a bit more confusing.
Ye’s ex Kim Kardashian initiated a divorce in February of 2021, and this year has been an awkward dance between Ye trying to win his family back and Kardashian trying not to rub in his face the fact that she’s clearly moved on with new beau Pete Davidson. Like most men who have accepted the end of their marriage, moved on, and look to the future, Ye bought a new house recently.
Of course, that house happens to be right across the street from the house where Kardashian lives with their children. So, maybe not on the “moving on” part. However, Ye is officially dating again – Julia Fox. Or maybe not? Ye tells people he has no plans to get into a serious relationship and wants to win Kim back – but is also dating Fox and is pictured everywhere getting hot and heavy with his new whatever-she-is to him.
Is it all a bid to make Kardashian jealous? It doesn’t seem to be paying off as the reality star and entrepreneur is getting happier in her relationship with Davidson by the day – but hey, love makes fools of us all. We just hope Ye ends up happy.