Kanye West reportedly idolized Adolf Hitler and even wanted to name his album after the Nazi leader.
Amid the fallout from his anti-Semitic comments, several people who were once close to the rapper told CNN that West has “long been fascinated” by Hitler.
“He would praise Hitler by saying how incredible it was that he was able to accumulate so much power and would talk about all the great things he and the Nazi Party achieved for the German people,” said one business executive who used to work for West.
The individual, who left his job and settled with West over workplace complaints, said Ye spoke openly about reading Mein Kampf, Hitler’s 1925 autobiographical manifesto, and expressed his “admiration” for the Nazis and Hitler. West’s inner circle was allegedly “fully aware” of his interest in Hitler.
Four sources told CNN that West even wanted to title his 2018 album Hitler before he eventually changed it to Ye. The individuals declined to be named over concern of retribution from West.
In the wake of West’s hate-filled outbursts, former TMZ staffer Van Lathan claimed that the Yeezy designer professed his love for Hitler and the Nazis during the same 2018 interview where he said slavery “sounds like a choice.”
“I already heard him say that stuff before at TMZ,” Lathan said during his “Higher Learning” podcast earlier this month. “I mean, I was taken aback because that type of anti-Semitic talk is disgusting. It’s like, I’m taken aback any time anyone does that, right? But as far as [West], I knew that that was in him because when he came to TMZ, he said that stuff and they took it out of the interview. … 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. It wasn’t my decision.”
On Tuesday, Adidas ended its lucrative partnership with West and condemned his recent behavior. Balenciaga and CAA have also cut ties with West, and Gap and Foot Locker announced that they would remove Yeezy merchandise from their stores.
Def Jam, which used to distribute West’s music, said that the company’s relationship with his G.O.O.D. Music label ended last year.