Kanye West allegedly paid a family member $250,000 after they threatened to leak a sex tape of him online, according to reports from the Daily Mail.
Kanye’s cousin, Lawrence Franklin, told the publication that the incident, which is detailed in ‘Ye’s “Real Friends,” led the Chicago rapper to mistrust many people in his inner-circle. The effects of the incident ultimately culminated in his recent hospitalization.
“The sex tape episode started his decline, he stopped trusting people,” Franklin said. “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?”
Franklin said that the whole ordeal added stress to West processing through the death of his mother.
“He takes a lot of responsibility for that,” the cousin said of Donda’s passing. “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 continued by saying that the sex tape was discovered on a laptop that Yeezy had gifted to a family member in late 2012. The same laptop was then passed on to another family member.
“I was at my aunt’s house when the family member who had the laptop called me, a friend of his, and my uncle to the kitchen where he opened the laptop to show a video of Kanye in clear view having sex with a fair-skinned black woman,” he shared. “The family member knew what he discovered was gold, and later called an old friend of his that was an attorney. He put together a small team him and his attorney went after Kanye, and to show that they meant business they leaked a little information publicly to let it be known they indeed had the footage. The family member tried to keep a low profile but it was not long before Kanye’s team learned who it was that had the sex tape.”
Franklin said that the family member received multiple offers for the sex tape, and Kanye was “adamant” about stopping its leak. He suggests the rapper was extra paranoid because of the mysterious nature of the woman, who was not West’s former girlfriend, Amber Rose, or his now-wife, Kim Kardashian.
“Eventually the family member agreed to give Kanye the laptop for a large amount of money, more than $250,000, and ensure there were no other copies,” Franklin added. “He was also required to take a lie detector test regarding the laptop. The family member got this money and started to buy himself a lifestyle he dreamed about. This did make Kanye upset, but it was all kept quiet. It caused a huge rift in our family.”
“Real Friends,” a track off Yeezy’s The Life of Pablo album, alludes to the incident, Franklin said. During the track, ‘Ye raps: “I had a cousin that stole my laptop that I was fuckin’ bitches on / Paid that nigga 250 thousand just to get it from him / Real friends / Huh?”
Elsewhere in the interview, Franklin blasted the Kardashian family, saying that Kanye feeling out of place with them adds to the strain in his life.
“For the most part I don’t look at the Kardashians as real people,” he explained. “Kanye comes from a very family-orientated environment with roots and African-American family lifestyle, you know family reunions with food and things like that. The Kardashians are the complete opposite of what’s familiar in our community. So it’s kind of weird for him and I can understand there’s no way for him to release that.”
Kanye was released from the hospital at the end of last month after being taken in for exhaustion and paranoia.