John Legend is offering insight into the current state of his friendship with Kanye West. In an appearance on "The Axe Files" podcast on 4 August, the singer said he is no longer close with the rapper following their many public disagreements over politics. "We aren't friends as much as we used to be," he said.
Legend said he disagreed with West's support of former president Donald Trump, as well as his own infamous presidential campaign in 2020. "I think it became too much for us to sustain our friendship honestly," Legend said. "He was upset that I didn't support his run for presidency of the United States of America, for understandable reasons . . . I wasn't alone in that, but, you know, he was not happy about that. And we really haven't been close since then." Though he was only on the ballot in 12 states, West went on to receive over 60,000 votes.
Legend and West's friendship dates back to the early 2000s. The two had parallel rises to stardom, and Legend released his debut album, "Get Lifted," on West's GOOD Music record label in 2004. He released a total of five albums on the label through 2016. They have also appeared on each other's songs numerous times. Most notably, Legend appeared on "Blame Game" off West's 2010 album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," which is largely considered his best.
Over the years, Legend and West attended many events and award shows together. Their respective wives, Chrissy Teigen and Kim Kardashian, also formed a friendship. But after West tweeted about his love for Trump in April 2018, Legend made a text-message appeal later publicly shared by West. In it, Legend tried to emphasise West's influence, especially over his fans.
"I hope you'll reconsider aligning yourself with Trump. You're way too powerful and influential to endorse who he is and what he stands for," Legend said at the time. "So many people who love you feel so betrayed right now because they know the harm that Trump's policies cause, especially to people of colour. Don't let this be part of your legacy. You're the greatest artist of our generation."
West replied, "I love you John and I appreciate your thoughts. You bringing up my fans or my legacy is a tactic based on fear used to manipulate my free thought." Legend responded, "Think freely. Think with empathy and context too. Your words and actions have consequences. Much love . . . And since you're posting texts, let me add that I have a new single out haha."
When asked on "The Axe Files" if he thinks West is misunderstood, Legend said, "I think people get a lot about him. He's been very open with who he is, and his struggles with mental health. He's very real honestly. I think there's not a lot about him that people don't get." He added, "What you see with him is pretty much what you get."