During an appearance on the Drea O Show on Monday, Chicago poet/producer/filmmaker Malik Yusef touched on his involvement making West’s latest album “The Life of Pablo” as he shed light on what working with Yeezy is like.
“It’s always the same, working with Kanye, you know, it’s always very difficult, it’s always a task of great arduity, it’s always an argument it’s always a fight,” Yusef stated. “Sometimes even a genius needs to have direction. Sometimes it’s hard to give a brain that big and that powerful some directions.”
As the interview progressed, Yusef also touted his writing credits on Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album while revealing news about his new book, “Infrared Poetry; Love Letters to a City,” a short film/video titled Trouble in the Water featuring Common, and an album he is set to drop in the summer.
But it’s his experience with West that’s generating the most talk as he opened up about West rejecting evaluations of his mental health.
“He doesn’t take his medication because he chooses not to, and I applaud him for that,” Yusef shared “Whatever they prescribe you for like bipolar or schizophrenia, whatever they diagnosed him as … but that doesn’t mean anything, you know, they can diagnose you as all kind of stuff, that doesn’t mean you have to adhere to those principles. And Kanye doesn’t adhere to it.”
Yusef’s comments carry shades of what Rhymefest said in early February when he suggested that the musician/fashion designer needs spiritual and mental counseling.
“I want my friend to be healthy, and healthiness is happiness. I want him to be happy, and if he’s not happy, I’m concerned. … I think sometimes we get concerned with entertaining the public when we should be concerned with being happy,” Rhymefest said at the time.
Yusef’s relationship with West has been noted by YouTube, which labeled it as a “stabilizing one” that saw him stepping in to mediate when West slammed Wiz Khalifa early this year.
When asked why he chooses to return to Chicago, Yusef cited his desire to help people as a big reason why he does what he does.
“The fact that people need help, and I’m a servant. I’m just born like that, that’s who I’m made to be,” the five-time Grammy Award winning artist told Drea O. “I do it despite the pain that it causes sometimes, despite the financial losses I take, I do it anyway. If I can just save one person. I discovered Kanye, he needed some help, so, there might be another Kanye somewhere around here.”
Among his efforts to give back is the Respect My Vote campaign, serves as a one way the artist/activist revealed remains active in the lives of Chicagoans.
Other topics addressed by Yusef include police brutality and poverty as well as the state of violence in Chicago while speaking optimistically about solution and offering that “most of the violence is about stress and resource acquisition. So we can relieve the stress by providing the resources. In a resourceful environment people are going to be less violent.”