Rap mogul Lyor Cohen was thrust into Kanye West’s pro-Trump tweets earlier this month after West shared a photo himself wearing a MAGA hat in a picture with Cohen and Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge on Twitter. In the photo, Cohen appears to be making an “OK” hand gesture, which reportedly is co-opted by the alt-right movement.
During an interview with Pitchfork, Cohen was asked questions about the now-infamous photo and West’s vocal support President Trump. When asked if he was aware the “OK” hand gesture being associated with the alt-right he reportedly said that he was unaware.
The former Def Jam executive then explained that it was an innocent photo not meant for public consumption.
"We were in Calabasas] because Kanye wanted to play us some music," he said. "I was on the way to the restroom, and there was Lucian, and Kanye was coming out, and he said, ‘Oh wow, we’re all together. Let’s take a photo.’ I thought he was going to take a photo and send it to Lucian and myself. I had no idea that he was going to put that on social media.”
As for West's polarizing comments about slavery and some the emotional turmoil he's been going through, Cohen is empathic. However, he feels that Yeezy should take a different approach. “I don’t love his politics, but I was really impressed with the music," he said. "I think he’s doing himself a disservice by not leading with the music.”
Cohen adds that West's new music is “amazing.”
West is set to drop several projects in June. Recently, the Chicago native unveiled the tracklist to his joint album with Kid Cudi (under Kids See Ghosts) and Pusha T's long-awaited project King Push.