Who is Nick Knight? Ye's skinned monkey pic linked to photographer

Amber Peake January 14, 2022
Who is Nick Knight? Ye's skinned monkey pic linked to photographer
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Victoria and Albert Museum


Donda rapper Kanye West left some fans confused on Instagram this week as he uploaded a graphic image of what appeared to be a skinned monkey to his feed.

The rapper, who is now known and Ye, uploaded the picture on Thursday as he captioned the post to his 9.9 million followers “MY LIFE WAS NEVER EAZY.”

Fans eager to know the meaning of the snap have since linked the picture of the skinned monkey as the work of photographer Nick Knight with some now curious to know more about him.

Kid Cosmic | Season 3 Trailer | Netflix Futures

Kid Cosmic | Season 3 Trailer | Netflix Futures
  • TRENDING: Marcos Giron’s coach, girlfriend, and parents revealed ahead of 2022 Australian Open match vs Rafael Nadal

Meaning of Kanye West’s skinned monkey post explored

On Thursday (13 January), Kanye West posted a picture of what looked to be a skinned monkey, with the caption “MY LIFE WAS NEVER EAZY” Fans confused by the image were seen to go into a deep dive into the context of the image as they tried to understand its meaning.

It didn’t take long as Redditors were quick to link the graphic skinned monkey image to photographer Nick Knight. Users on other forum sites have since pointed out the picture was actually a part of a collection of other graphic shots which Knight produced during the research for a past editorial for Big Magazine.

In 1997, Nick Knight worked with stylist Simon Foxton as they created an editorial entitled WAR, which followed the theme of violence for issue 18 of Big Magazine.

The picture that featured on Kanye West’s Instagram was not a part of the editorial’s final shots. However, Knight published his research for the project in 2013 with the picture seen to feature in some of the photographer’s early work for the project.

The image seems to have been edited for its most recent feature as it is seen to have a red background on the rapper’s Instagram, whereas the original was white.

Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images
  • EXPLAINED: Why is JiDion banned from Twitch? Dramatic Twitter reaction explored

Who is Nick Knight as he is linked to Ye’s skinned monkey post?

Nick Knight is a renowned photographer and both founder and director of fashion site SHOWstudio.com, which launched in 2000.

During his career, Knight has shot editorials for well-known fashion publications, including Dazed & Confused, Another and i-D magazine as well as campaigns for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Burberry.

Alongside his photography, Knight has also directed music videos for Kanye West and Lady Gaga. Some of his video work with Ye includes his 2013 video for Bound 2 as well as, more recently 24.

However, Knight’s collaborations with the rapper do not end there as he also helped design Kanye West’s Yeezy Supply website and the cover image for Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir’s album Emmanuel.

  • CELEBRITY: What is Sue Palka’s age? Legendary meteorologist to retire after 36 years

Why did Ye post it?

Fans think Kanye West’s latest Instagram upload may be related to an upcoming music release, as Kanye hinted at plans for a new track on Wednesday (12 January).

In a video shared by designer Tracey Mills, Kanye West was seen in a studio with fellow rappers Pusha T and The Game. While on FaceTime to DJ Premier, Kanye teased they were working on a song they hope to release this week.

In Ye’s Insta post, he also tagged The Game with the rapper having since posted the same picture on his own Instagram feed as well as making it his display picture on his profile.

Some fans have since gone on to suggest the picture could be the cover art for an upcoming Kanye West and The Game song:

However, the graphic nature of the picture seems to have alarmed some fans, with others having since taken to Twitter as many admit they wished they hadn’t seen it:

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Amber is an entertainment journalist with a love for anything showbiz, celeb or reality TV. After graduating with a degree in Journalism at Brunel University she became a Showbiz Reporter at Express.co.uk. Having written for both HITC and The Focus, Amber is now a staff writer for The Focus covering the latest celeb and entertainment trends.