Long before True Love was released, fans could smell the drama straight from Donda 2’s track listing. Kanye “Ye” West’s love life turned into a public spectacle in 2022, when the rapper delivered constant public abuse with his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her new beau Pete Davidson. When he announced a song on his upcoming album would be called “True Love,” fans braced themselves for the roast to come.
“If Kanye releases ‘selfish’ and ‘true love’ uncensored on Spotify I’ll beat myself and marry him and Kim for the Freeskies,” wrote one Twitter user. “Skete,” of course, is the unflattering nickname Ye coined for Davidson during one of his frequent Instagram rants against the comedian. Though the posts have since been deleted, Lad Bible recalled one of the captions, in which Ye wrote, “AT MY WIFE’S REQUEST PLEASE NOBODY DO ANY PHYSICAL TO SKETE I WILL HANDLE THE SITUATION MYSELF.”
As Fader recounts, “True Love” was first released on Yes’s streaming service in May 2022, and the lyrics didn’t disappoint. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Ye isn’t just rapping about romantic love, and the feature of late rapper XXXTENTACION only adds more nuance to the track.
Kanye raps about his kids in True Love
While there are obvious references to Kanye “Ye” West’s past relationship with Kim Kardashian in the “True Love” lyrics, the focus is on the rapper’s love for his children. As Parade notes, the couple had four children together: North, Saint, Chicago and Psalm. Though their unique names are omitted from the song, it includes lines (via Genius) acknowledging Yes’s status as a father, including, “Wait when you see the kids? I will see you. all tomorrow.”
In particular, Ye appears to be adding fuel to the ongoing custody battle between him and his ex-wife. He raps, “Wait, when I pick ’em up I feel like they’re borrowing / If I have to return ’em, scan ’em like a barcode / Wait, no hard feelings, but those feelings are hard.” These lines are a little more subtle as the caption of a now-deleted Instagram post by Ye. Seemingly upset by an alien pin on his daughter’s backpack, Ye wrote (via The Shade Room), “This was on my daughter’s backpack when I ‘allowed’ her last week. That’s why I’m so committed to my family. .. As the priest of my homeland. Don’t worry Northy God is still alive. Kardashian replied, “Please stop this narrative, you were here this morning to pick up the kids for school.”
The shadow throughout the song is undeniable, but it takes on a somber tone. After all, Yes’s children aren’t the only ones mentioned in the track.
The song features the late XXXTENTACION
Though XXXTENTACION died in 2018, Kanye “Ye” West’s decision to posthumously star him in Donda 2 gave fans another opportunity to appreciate the artist’s tremendous talent. John Cunningham, a friend and collaborator of X, gave an insight into the making of the song in a press release (via Billboard). “Ever since X started singing ‘True Love’ around the house in early 2018, we’ve both noticed it as a special song,” he said. The rapper didn’t get a chance to complete the track before his death, but Ye helped pull it all together.
“It felt like the song should always be finished by him,” Cunningham shared. In the song’s chorus, X sings, “True love shouldn’t be so complicated / I thought I’d die in your arms, I thought I’d die in your…”. In the touching, touching chorus, X’s contribution is mirrored by lines from Ye addressed to X’s son: “Daddy’s not gone, you’re looking at the light / Daddy’s home, tell Gekyume.”
According to XXL, Gekyume is a name coined by X himself, which he defined as “another state” or the “next thought universe.” Tragically, X died before his girlfriend Jenesis Sanchez had given birth to his boy. The inclusion of his son’s name in the song adds to the legacy X leaves behind and strengthens family as the true meaning of “True Love”.