This song finds Kanye West trading lyrics with fellow rapper T.I., who is credited with "starring as the People." The rhymes reference a series of pro-Donald Trump tweets by West, in which he praised the American president as his "brother," said he "loved" him, and posted a selfie while wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. Trump responded by sending the rapper a digital thumbs-up.
West and T.I. go back and forth throughout the song as they discuss the hullabaloo surrounding the rapper's support of the American president and other right-wingers. Ye attempts to clarify his political rants, explaining how Trump's win opened the door for him to be President:
I know Obama was Heaven-sent
But ever since Trump won it proved that I could be President
Meanwhile T.I. takes the Chicago rhymer to task for offending his fans and friends for supporting Trump, arguing "You representin' dudes who seem crude and cold-hearted, with blatant disregard for the people who put you in position."
"Ye vs. the People" may well have been inspired by T.I.'s Trap Muzik cut "T.I. vs. T.I.P.," which, like this song consists of a single verse, alternating between the two characters.
T.I. described on Instagram how he spent April 26, 2018 with West. "Yesterday [I] spent the day with Kanye," the Atlanta rapper wrote. "[He's a] long term work in progress, no doubt. [I'm] still optimistic that something from our discussion gon stick... I refuse to just give up on him. The old Ye too Important!!!" It seems the pair took their conversation to the recording booth.
Previous collaborations between West and T.I. include the all-star hip-hop track "Swagga Like Us
," which also featured Lil Wayne and Jay-Z, plus "Welcome to the World" from T.I.'s 2010 album, No Mercy
The track is produced by West, and centers around a sample of The Four Tops' 1967 hit single "7 Rooms of Gloom." It represents West's first song without any co-producers since the 2011 release of the Jay-Z collaboration "Otis
T.I. was invited to West's LA home studio after reaching out to him and asking Yeezy to re-think his political views. He revealed in an Instagram post that he never intended the back-and-forth to be made public.
"The song was an experimental freestyle that I used as a method to get through to him after a 3 hour long convo (sic)!!!," T.I. explained. "I suggested we put the discussion to music in hopes of it sounding different to him once he heard himself say some of the things he was saying (and what I was saying too) so we went back and forth for about 30 mins and this was the outcome."
T.I added: "What I didn't expect was for him to put it out 24hrs later... or at all for that matter!!! The Lord works in mysterious ways...and so does Kanye I guess".