“Where cultural studies often miss the mark, Robert Beshara fuses the academic study of philosophy, religion, history and psychology. The author provides a psycho-analytic study of one of the world’s most prominent musical icons, this book offers a “cathartic” introspection into the complex mind of a genius.” ~ Julius Bailey, author of Philosophy and Hip Hop and The Cultural Impact of Kanye West

“Beshara’s text should be required reading for anyone interested in listening at any level to the cultural production of Ye Kanye West. I say cultural production rather than music because the experience that this text charts allows readers to navigate the thicket that is the oeuvre of Ye: music, fashion, film, social media, and counting while at the same time giving voice to the totality of emotions that accompany even cursory involvement with this world. This book is an essential installment in the canon of texts taking up the Black Aesthetic for all of its philosophical impact, a must read.” ~ Michael E. Sawyer, author of Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X

From Kanye to Ye: The Legacy of Unconditional Love

From Kanye to Ye: The Legacy of Unconditional Love, which begins with a foreword by Tommy J. Curry, can be described as a theoretical biography of Ye. I particularly focus on the 5-year period from 2016 to 2021 (The Shaky-Ass Years) in an effort to think psychoanalytically about his complex subjectivity, his struggle with manic-depression, the thin line between the personal and the political when it comes to celebrity culture, and, of course, his aesthetic productions–be they in the form of music, video, or fashion–which I regard as also ethical and political projects/objects.

The book is structured into five chapters. In chapter 1, I introduce some of the key terms in my analysis (e.g., subjectification and unconditional love) and review the psychoanalytic literature on manic-depression. In chapter 2, I turn my attention to Ye’s nervous breakdown in 2016, which was framed as “temporary psychosis” at first and then as “bipolar disorder,” in the context of the release of The Life of Pablo album and its acompanying Saint Pablo Tour. In chapter 3, I consider the U.S. media’s pathologization of Ye, particularly as a Black man, and his reconstruction of his manic-depression. In chapter 4, I address Ye’s identification with Trump and the significance of his use of the MAGA hat, which I regard as a form of appropriation. In chapter 5, I conclude the book by briefly surveying his conscious turn to Gospel music and his failed Presidential campaign in an effort to pay more attention to his latest magnum opus, Donda–specifically, the three public listening parties. My effort throughout the book is to take what Ye is saying seriously as opposed to dismissing him using stigmatizing terms. I specifically aligned my desire with Donda’s in an attempt to see him from her point of view, that is, through the legacy of unconditional love.

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