Ye scores No. 1 album as scrutiny of antisemitic comments continues


A new album from rapper and fashion designer Ye has hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, a return to the top of the music industry despite ongoing scrutiny of his past antisemitic comments.

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and rapper Ty Dolla $ign released “Vultures 1,” their first joint project as the duo ¥$, more than a week ago. The rappers had been teasing the album, which Ye initially said would be released last December, for months. 

“Vultures 1” marks Ye’s 11th No. 1 album.

The feat comes just over a year after Ye went on several antisemitic rants in late 2022. The fallout was swift as brands, including Adidas, Gap and Balenciaga, cut ties with the rapper. He was also dropped by his talent agency CAA.

The backlash toward Ye reached a fever pitch in December 2022 after he praised Adolf Hitler in an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. This was a breaking point for many fans who had already begun to move away from the artist because of his antisemitic remarks. Moderators of Ye subreddits and fan pages shared that his behavior brought in a wave of new alt-right members to the fandom, making the communities “hell.”

Still, the release of “Vultures 1” appears to demonstrate that Ye has retained a sizable portion of his fan base. The rollout for “Vultures 1” was rocky, with accusations of unauthorized samples, chaotic listening parties and more antisemitic rants, according to Rolling Stone. Ye later apologized to the Jewish community for his “outburst” on an Instagram in a post written in Hebrew. That post was among the many deleted after Ye wiped his account ahead of the album release.

Even after the album dropped, the release had issues. “Vultures 1” was removed from Apple Music for several hours on Thursday before being restored, according to The New York Times. The outlet also reported that music distributor Fuga came out against Ye on the same day, saying that it had passed on distribution for “Vultures 1” but that a client had used its services to deliver the album to streaming companies anyway, which went against Fuga’s policies. 

Despite the controversy surrounding the album’s release, “Vultures 1” made it to the top of the charts. It has received praise from fans on X, although many reviewers have panned the album. Music review publication Pitchfork gave the album a middling 5.8, and British music and culture website NME gave it two stars, adding that the album is “mired in misogyny.”

Popular YouTube music critic Anthony Fantano, who has criticized Ye’s music and public remarks in the past, called the album “unreviewable. He also said listeners can’t “separate the art from the artist” because several lyrics in the album are antisemitic.


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