Well, whoever had Ye (formerly Kanye West) visiting Russia in 2022 in their weird news Bingo card can start to celebrate.
The Grammy Award-winning artist and constant societal befuddler is reportedly planning to take a trip to Moscow, Russia to meet the country’s notorious leader, Vladimir Putin. Ye also reportedly plans to bring his Sunday Service church choir to the frigid locale and work with one of the country’s billionaires.
This will be his first tour to Russia.
Ye’s advisor, Ameer Sudan, tells Billboard that his travel plans for Moscow are still in the works, but he’s looking at spring or summer, depending on his schedule. Sudan adds that he and Ye’s attorney, Scott Balber, are acting as liaisons between Ye and Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov (who some refer to as the Donald Trump of Russia because of how he brands his buildings) and Agalarov’s son, musician Emin.
Billboard reports that Sudan has said that Russia will be a “second home” for Ye. The outlet quotes Sudan as saying: “He will be spending a lot of time out there.”
Ye is also said to be working with Emin on bringing his music to the U.S.
According to Sudan, Ye has always wanted to bring his Sunday Services church choir to Russia to perform since its inception in 2019. Ye reportedly plans to invite Putin as a special guest. Putin reportedly (allegedly?) is a proponent of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Ye is also currently at work on his follow-up to his 2021 album, Donda, with Donda 2.
But while the news is eyebrow-raising and certainly odd, perhaps Ye’s visit could help relationships between the United States and Russia. (Yes, we understand how odd that sentence sounds.) Perhaps in a similar way basketball star Dennis Rodman involved himself in the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea.
In the past, Putin has derided hip-hop and rap music, waging a culture war. But in recent years, his stance has changed. “If it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it,” Putin told cultural advisers at the time, expressing particular concern over songs about illegal drugs, saying it was “a path to the degradation of the nation.”
On the Drink Champs podcast, West compared himself to the Russian leader, calling himself “Young Putin.”
Russia is currently on the brink of war, with 100,000 troops positioned on the Ukraine border.
And said Sudan, “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.”
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