Kanye West continues to deliver sensational details about his 2020 presidential run, despite an apparent lack of an actual campaign.
The rapper, 43, said in a "rambling" interview Tuesday with Forbes that he contracted the coronavirus in February, no longer supports President Donald Trump and plans to run as a member of the "Birthday Party."
And on Thursday, Forbes released audio of three freestyle raps recorded during the West interview. The muffled, meandering songs feature him rapping without accompaniment, as he takes on coronavirus, racial justice protests and Trump himself.
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"Try to keep us quiet, cause riots / look at what the COVID's made / this hate," West raps on a track titled "This Is What the Covid's Made." "How about we change up the meal plan / how about we stop hiding in the bunkers and be a real man?"
The lyrics reference how Trump was briefly moved to the White House's underground bunker in May amid protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis.
Talking to Forbes, West said he has lost confidence in Trump's leadership, despite showing public support for the president over the last four years.
"I am taking the red hat off," he said. "It looks like one big mess to me. … One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community. Also, other than the fact that I like Trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby.”
As for his own political aspirations, West said his running mate will be Michelle Tidball, a preacher based in Wyoming, where West and wife Kim Kardashian have a ranch. The rapper said he registered to vote for the first time in Cody, Wyoming, on Monday.
USA TODAY has reached out to Tidball for comment.
There is no evidence as of Wednesday that West has a campaign organization, nor is there any indication he has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission just four months before the Nov. 3 election.
Despite the apparent lack of an official campaign, West, who tweeted at the end of June about having a "forthcoming album," denied to Forbes that the run was a publicity stunt and said he planned on giving the album away for free.
What might a West presidency look like? He said he "wants to use the framework of Wakanda," the fictional setting of 2018's "Black Panther." Policy-wise, he "hasn't done much research yet" on taxes or foreign policy but says he is against the death penalty and wants to end police brutality. He also doesn't know if he "would use the word policy for the way I would approach things."
"When I’m president, let’s also have some fun," he said. "Let’s get past all the racism conversation, let’s empower people with 40 acres and a mule, let’s give some land, that’s the plan.”
Previously, the rapper had toyed with the idea of a 2024 presidential run, before announcing July 4 that 2020 was his year.
“God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time," he told Forbes. "You know I was out there, ended up in the hospital, people were calling me crazy. I'm not crazy. Between all of the influences and the positions that we can be put in as musicians—you go on tour, you put out all these albums, and you look up and you don’t have any money in your account. It can drive you crazy, through all of that I was looking crazy because it wasn’t the time. Now it’s time. And we’re not going crazy, we’re going Yeezy, it’s a whole ‘notha level now. N-O-T-H-A."
He added: "Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024 – because God appoints the president. If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment.”
Regarding COVID-19, West said he prays for "the freedom" and for people to "stop doing things that make God mad," while expressing hesitation over the benefit of a vaccine.
“It’s so many of our children that are being vaccinated and paralyzed… So when they say the way we’re going to fix COVID is with a vaccine, I’m extremely cautious. That’s the mark of the beast. They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven. I'm sorry when I say they, the humans that have the Devil inside them. And the sad thing is that, the saddest thing is that we all won’t make it to heaven, that there’ll be some of us that do not make it.”
Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, has repeatedly said he hopes a vaccine could be available by the end of 2020 or early 2021. Many of the vaccines in the pipeline rely on new technologies whose underlying science is understood, although the actual techniques are being worked out.