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.