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Inside Kanye West’s Feud With 'Best Friend' Virgil Abloh & Scathing Texts He Sent While Designer Was Dying

Photo: Liam Goodner | Ovidiu Hrubaru | Shutterstock
Kanye West, Virgil Abloh

Kanye West and Virgil Abloh were beefing before the designer's November 2021 death, according to Tremaine Emory.

The creative director of streetwear brand Supreme recently called out West over his comments about the late fashion designer revealing the two were not on good terms before his lost his battle with a rare, aggressive form of cancer.

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Emory's comments came amid intense backlash over Kanye West's "White Lives Matter" shirts that he debuted at his Yeezy Season 9 fashion show at Paris Fashion Week.

Inside Kanye West and Virgil Abloh's beef before his death.

The longtime friends and collaborators were known to have fallen out in the past but Emory says another secret feud occurred shortly before Abloh's passing.

Emory, shared a screenshot of West's Instagram post where the rapper brought up the death of Abloh, writing in his caption: "[there are] more important things like how late the show was or how Bernard Arnault killed my best friend.”

Arnault is the CEO of Louis Vuitton. Before his death, the Off-White designer served as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear.

He called out West for his use of Abloh's name as part of his "victim campaign" and alleged that West "rode on [Abloh] in group chats."

“Ye tell the ppl why you didn’t get invited to Virgil’s actual funeral the one before the public one at the museum,” Emory said.

“You knew Virgil had terminal cancer and you rode on him in group chats, at Yeezy, interviews…YOU ARE SO BROKEN. KEEP VIRGIL NAME OUT YOUR MOUTH.”

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Under Emory's post, many of Abloh's friends echoed the same sentiment, including Gigi Hadid, who had been close with the late designer.

"Finally...! Thank u! Even people who knew [Abloh] for a percentage of the time knew Kanye did not treat V like a friend," Hadid wrote.

Kanye West and Virgil Abloh also feuded in 2018.

The pair, hailing from Chicago, first met in 2009 at a print shop in the Windy City before interning at Fendi that same year. 

According to NSS magazine, Abloh and West's experience at Fendi propelled both of their careers, leading West to create his brand Yeezy, and appointing Abloh as the head of creative for DONDA, which was formed in 2010.

Abloh's career went on to flourish after art directing Jay-Z and West's joint hip-hop album "Watch the Throne," earning the designer a Grammy nomination. 

However, things between the two reportedly turned sour after Abloh's appointment to work for Louis Vuitton, a move that West didn't approve of.

During an April 2018 interview with Charlamagne tha God, West spoke about how he felt hearing the news about Abloh's new job.

“Did it upset you? Because you said you had mixed emotions when Virgil got the job […] because that’s something that you wanted,” Charlamagne asked West.

“You were verbal about wanting in on one of these fashion houses and being able to create for a Louis Vuitton or Gucci.”

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West insisted he didn't have any hard feelings about it.

“There is some validation in the fact that someone that I came up with is now the head at Louis Vuitton,” West replied, adding that Abloh had called him "two minutes" before the news was released to tell him.

"The breakthrough with Virgil is now we have someone who's come from DONDA, who's come from the school of Kanye West," he continued.

"Some people have to do things just to prove that they can be done, whether they become the billionaire on the other side of it."

West further talked about Abloh's position at Louis Vuitton during an interview with Zane Lowe, via W magazine, admitting that the position should've been his instead of Abloh's.

“I felt like it was supposed to be me,” West said. “I was the Louis Vuitton Don. People still call me the Louis Vuitton Don on the street.”

He added that despite feeling as if the job was wrongfully handed to someone else, West didn't harbor any ill feelings toward the designer.

"We’re all on the same court but Virgil scored the touchdown.”

In another interview from the same time, West expressed frustration at Abloh being dubbed his "creative director" and insisted he was only ever his "creative collaborator." 

It seemed West and Abloh had made up in 2018 after they were photographed sharing an emotional embrace following the end of Abloh's first fashion show with Louis Vuitton.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.