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.

On Thursday (Jan. 13), Ye and The Game posted identical images on Instagram to promote their new song. “MY LIFE WAS NEVER EASY,” they captioned their respective posts.

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.

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.


Nick Knight shared another stage in his research for his ‘WAR’ editorial for Big magazine–a study in physiology, form, philosophy, and death.


Nick Knight is the groundbreaking fashion imagemaker and director of SHOWstudioa pioneering fashion website created “based on the belief that showing the entire creative process, from conception to completion is beneficial for the artist, the audience and the art itself.” Knight was one of the first and most high profile imagemakers to adopt digital film as a medium for showing fashion.

PETA Slams Ye & The Game’s Use of Skinned Monkey Photo to Promote Song: They ‘Do Not Belong to Us to Abuse’

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk gave Billboard a statement on Friday (Jan. 14) in response to the image the rappers posted on social media: “The photo is reminiscent of the monkeys PETA has found, sometimes heads, sometimes hands, sometimes the whole body, in meat markets around the world and it makes it clear that when you remove the fur you can’t miss that there’s a person in there, that they are fellow primates, and do not belong to us to abuse for any purpose — not in laboratories, roadside zoos, movies, or meat markets.”