Kanye West’s Trump Support Didn’t Hurt His Album Sales
Rapper's backing of conservatives may have earned him heat within his industry — but consumers are supporting his 'Ye' record
All the attention Kanye West has received over the past two months for his public show of support for President Donald Trump has not had any negative impact on his career — for those who think it had, or should have, or must have.
Although many in the music industry (and the mainstream media) attacked the rapper, he actually made history, thanks to the success of his latest album, “Ye.”
The album has about sold over 200,000 copies and marks West’s eighth consecutive No. 1 album on Billboard’s top 200. In other words, every single one of his albums to date, with the exception of his debut album, “College Dropout,” has topped the charts.
Thanks to this success, he’s now tied the record for most consecutive albums to hit that No. 1 spot alongside The Beatles and Eminem.
It likely helped that West didn’t go all-out with politics on his new album — but at the same time, he stood firmly behind his beliefs and refused to back down.
As a result of his support for both President Trump and conservative commentator Candace Owens, West got plenty of pushback in late April and early May. A handful of other artists (Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, and Harry Styles) cut ties with him on social media, while very few showed support for him.
A radio station in Michigan (105.1 The Bounce) even virtue-signaled and refused to play his music. Def Jam executive Russell Simmons questioned West’s mental health (which led West to burn him on his new album). Leftists on Twitter also took the chance to announce they’d no longer be listening to his music.
Ultimately, none of it mattered. West's true fans apparently stuck by him, and may have actually appreciated that he offered a perspective that was different from what most A-list stars do and say today.
And think of how West did spread his ideas. He didn't go out to bash individual politicians or pledge support for the Republican Party. His main message was that he wanted people to think for themselves — and for black Americans not to feel obligated to the Democratic Party just because of their skin color.
At a time when it's "hip" or "cool" for people in Hollywood or the music industry to bash President Donald Trump, West's discussion of the president in a positive way is a rarity.
Interestingly, Trump's approval rating among African-Americans nearly doubled in a Reuters poll from 8.9 percent on April 22 to 16.5 percent on April 29. Maybe seeing West's continued success will give other celebrities the courage they need to follow in his tracks.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.