One of Kanye West‘s cousins says the rapper’s sex tape, which he reportedly paid his cousin USD$250,000 to keep from release, contributed to his recent breakdown and stint in hospital.
The Daily Mail reports that West’s cousin Lawrence Franklin — who is named in Kanye’s song Real Friends as “A cousin that stole my laptop that I was fuckin’ bitches on. Paid that n**ga 250 thousand just to get it from him” — says West paid the $250K after a family member discovered his sex tape on a laptop he had given away as a gift in 2012, the same year he started dating his now-wife Kim Kardashian.
“The sex tape episode started his decline – he stopped trusting people,” Franklin says. “At the end of the day if a member of your family had taken you for a quarter of a million dollars – so they can complete their own ambitions – who can you trust within your circle?
“When you go from being a regular person to being a huge star – and having all of these mounting issues and being completely void of the normalcy that you once had – it’s tough. Where do you go? Who do you trust at the end of the day?”
Franklin says the family member who first discovered the sex tape received numerous offers for it, including from a porn website, before Kanye got a team of friends and attorneys together to get the laptop back.
“The family member got this money and started to buy himself a lifestyle he dreamed about,” Franklin says. “This did make Kanye upset, but it was all kept quiet. It caused a huge rift in our family.”
Speaking about Kanye’s recent erratic behaviour at shows and in public, Franklin says, “I feel that kind of behaviour happens when you have no one to turn to, you can’t trust your friends and you have no one to talk to.”
Franklin also believes that Kanye may have been affected by the death of his mother Donda in 2007, as well as thoughts that she might not have approved of his wife, Kim.
“The Kardashians do not represent our family values,’ Franklin says. “Kim Kardashian made her way to fame through another sex tape and by showing her body – that’s who she is.
“I’m not personally sure how Aunt Donda would have received the Kardashians other than a good business move.
“If there was no fame, no fortune and no celebrity status and there was a woman who represented the things that Kim represents, knowing what Aunt Donda represented, she would not have approved.”
Kanye was hospitalised in late November, after cancelling the rest of his Saint Pablo tour. West was released after a week in hospital, and has since used his time to have a meeting with his “friend” and US President Elect, Donald Trump.
Listen: Kanye West – ‘Real Friends’