No stranger to bizarre statements about politics, society, and culture, rapper Kanye West, who has now changed his name to Ye, last year likened himself to a “young Putin”, in a perceived reference to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, when it comes to culture.
Rapper Ye, more commonly known as Kanye West, known for his world-famous hip-hop music and designer items, is planning a trip to Moscow later this year to meet with President Vladimir Putin and hold Sunday Service performances, according to his associate cited by Billboard.
The musician’s trip is currently being planned for spring or summer, depending on Ye’s schedule, “strategic advisor” Ameer Sudan told the outlet.
“Russia is going to be ‘a second home’ for Ye… He will be spending a lot of time out there,” said Sudan.
Ye purportedly hopes to expand his business in Russia with the help of Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire developer Aras Agalarov, president of the Crocus Group, one of Russia’s leading developers.
With a portfolio of businesses that boasts shopping centres, fashion brands, department stores, boutiques and much more, the Agalarovs’ Crocus Group is responsible for an estimated over 4 million total square meters of developed property in Russia, states the company’s website.
Ye is working on new business deals with the Agalarovs, according to Sudan, which are projected to increase the rapper’s wealth to over $10 billion.
Ye was worth $6.6 billion thanks to lucrative deals with Adidas and Gap, Bloomberg reported in march 2021.
Furthermore, Ye also ostensibly plans to collaborate musically with Agalarov’s musician son, Emin, who was trained by the late legendary Soviet-era baritone Muslim Magomayev.
Since launching his career in 2005, Emin Agalarov, who goes by EMIN, has released over a dozen albums and toured internationally. Ye is said to be planning to raise Emin’s profile in the US.
The Sunday Service shows in Russia will be Ye’s first performances in the country, according to Sudan, and something the artist has considered doing since he debuted the project in 2019. Ye allegedly plans to invite President Vladimir Putin to attend the gospel performance as a special guest.
Last November, Ye, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and generally known for outlandish statements on politics, society and culture, called himself “Young Putin”, purportedly in a reference to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, during an interview on the popular Drink Champs podcast, telling hosts, “Culture is an oil. Culture is an energy, and I’m the king of culture for the past 20 and the next 2,000 years.”
Regarding the artist’s mulled plans to visit Russia, Sudan was cited by Billboard as saying:
“This is Ye, Ye is going to get there regardless. What are they going to say? He’s going to be a special guest of the Agalarovs… Kanye knows what’s going on more than the average human being, he’s well aware of things. And it’s nothing against the United States or to cause conflicts, but Ye is Ye — he can’t be controlled.”
Netizens weighed in on the report, with some suggesting that the artist was simply an “attention seeker”.