Nick Cave has reiterated his take on the current saga of controversies surrounding Kanye West – that the rapper’s antisemitic views are “distasteful” and “disappointing” – but revealed that he still appreciates West as an artist, and doesn’t plan to alter his listening habits.
The revelation came in an episode of the BBC’s Newsnight program, which Cave appeared on to discuss his recent memoir Faith, Hope And Carnage. The episode will air tonight (November 10) at 10:30pm, however sections of the interview have surfaced online. Cave addresses West’s antisemitism in one of them (as published by The Independent), but it’s not the first time he’s spoken on the topic: last month, during an appearance at the London Literature Festival, he branded West’s comments as “deeply disappointing” and “disgraceful”.
When asked by a Newsnight journalist to expound on his views towards West and the rapper’s recent string of hateful comments, Cave asserted that he “find[s] antisemitism in particular [to be] distasteful”, and that “it’s been very disappointing to hear [West make] these remarks and such sort of obvious, boring kind of reductive tropes that he’s actually pedalling”.
The often outspoken singer-songwriter noted, however, that “on some level [he doesn’t] care what Kanye has to say on things”, declaring: “I do love Kanye, his music.”
He added: “It’s a personal choice as to whether you can go on and listen to that person’s music. I personally can. I love Kanye’s music. I feel that he’s done the best music of anybody in some time, the most interesting, challenging, bold music.”
Cave’s latest comments add to those he made last month, when he declared West to be “the greatest artist of our generation”. At the time, he cited 2013’s ‘Yeezus’ and West’s two Gospel records – 2019’s ‘Jesus Is King’ and ‘Jesus Is Born’ (the latter of which was a Sunday Service project) – as particular favourites, opining: “Those gospel records are like nothing I’ve ever heard before.”
He also noted that “for some time it might be difficult” to listen to West’s music, but that “ultimately”, Cave “value[s] the output [of an artist] more” than their personal beliefs. “I know that in time I will be able to get over that and just feel free to be able to listen to Kanye’s music again,” he said. “That he won’t forever be trapped in the worst aspect of his character, and the music that he makes is a journey away from the worst aspect of his character, like all our music is.”
Cave is just one of many celebrities that have condemned West for his antisemitism. Among the others are Jack Antonoff, John Legend, Elon Musk, David Schwimmer, KISS’ Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Howard Stern, Eric André, and West’s own ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. Additionally, the rapper was dropped from his partnerships with companies like Adidas, Gap and Balenciaga, as well as his bank, record label, lawyer and booking agency.
West himself, though, has remained staunch on his bigoted views. He’s continued to spout antisemitic comments on social media and during interviews, including televised appearances on Fox News and NewsNation. Speaking to Piers Morgan (who he labelled “a Karen”), West said he knew his antisemitic comments were racist and that he was “jealous” of Jewish culture.
Last month, it was reported that West filmed an interview for LeBron James’ talk show, The Shop, but the episode would not be aired because West made antisemitic comments during it. What did air, though, was an episode of the Drink Champs podcast in which West claimed that Ice Cube influenced his antisemitism (which Ice Cube has denied) and made false and inflammatory comments on the death of George Floyd.
The interview was later removed from online platforms, and host N.O.R.E. expressed “regret” over his decision to air the interview. In the wake of it, Floyd’s family began preparing a defamation lawsuit against West.
West’s antisemitism has led to real-world cases of Jewish communities receiving abuse. In September, for example, neo-Nazi groups in Los Angeles hung a banner reading “Kanye is right about the Jews” over a freeway.