EXCLUSIVE: Kanye’s New Stylist, Life Coach, and BFF is a Yale Sophomore

Meet Cassius Marcellus Cornelius Clay: aristocrat, eccentric, old-money, nouveau-style. It’s hard to miss him at Yale. At a lanky 6’5″, the baby-faced blonde, pocket-watch user, and cravat-wearer cuts an imposing figure. He’s also more ironic than a truckload of Tumblrs. The man dresses like some unholy hipster hybrid of Scott Schuman, a 19th-century robber-baron, and the Shah of Iran. Since Day-One of freshmen year, the bespectacled social-butterfly has been Modern Love-ing and DKE-ing, praising royalism with the fusty Tory Party, and lauding Lady Gaga and libraries in the YDN.

But that’s not all there is to the inimitable fashionisto. As it happens, Cassius’ blood is bluer than even his pretty eyes. In fact, he’s the heir of the Clay dynasty, New England’s foremost titans of business and government. Cassius is related to Henry Clay himself, and takes his name from another old-Yalie ancestor, famed abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay. But despite the Yale debauchery, Cassius is no layabout. The kid earned top honors at prep-central, Phillips Academy Andover, where he was an international-level debater. In short, it’s an open question whether or not Cassius’ eccentric fashion and demeanor (not to mention his talents) satirize his dynastic roots or exemplify them.

But enough about hipster-ocrats; where does the Taylor-Swift dissing, gold-digging, strange-sunglasses-wearing hip-hopper K-West enter the picture? The tale — now verified by multiple sources close to the unlikely duo — is one of those rare gifts we gossip-mongers get: a story too unbelievable not to be true. Read on!

Rewind to earlier this summer. Cassius is doing what the does best: dropping tin at expensive, trendy designer stores. The lucky retailer of the day is Barney’s, New York. Today, his outfit is impeccable, topped off with high-end Italian designer shoes. In the midst of shopping, a man approaches Cassius, taps him on the shoulder, and tells him that he really, really loves the footwear. Cassius looks up; it’s Kanye West. Cassius keeps it cool, thanks him, and introduces himself. The stars align; history is made. (This moment will almost certainly be reenacted dramatically on Behind The Music.)

The two get to talking as they shop. Kanye loves Cassius’ style, his attitude, his patrician hipsterdom. They talk for over half an hour. Kanye begins to reveal a little more about himself: his reinvention in the wake of the Taylor Swift disaster, and his thoughts on life, art, philosophy, hos (maybe), etc. Cassius advises the rapper on his day’s purchases. Eventually the two leave the store, shopping bags in tow, and exchange phone-numbers and emails. Kanye promises to keep in touch. And oh, does he.

The next day, Cassius receives an email. Kanye has bought a controlling share in the company that designs Cassius’ sexy shoes, and wants to see his ideas for new designs. The Yalie mocks up some images, puts on his Sunday best, and heads to Kanye’s lavish Manhattan office to present seven-plus mockups. Kanye loves them, and the two hit it off even more. In the weeks that follow, Kanye and Cassius exchange emails almost daily, and the young Yalie is invited into the superstar’s inner-circle. There are lavish parties, industry introductions, and a grand tour of Ye’s social life. Cassius ingratiates himself with Kanye’s fashion team, and meets all sorts of high-rollers at Kanye’s shindigs.

All the while, the pair are growing closer. Kanye sees in Cassius a fellow artiste, torn between opposite poles of classy sophistication and earnest expression. Over many an email and phone call, the 20-year-old begins to offer his wise consul on matters beyond fashion — personal and emotional — which Kanye readily accepts. Kanye decides he needs to apologize to Taylor Swift. At this point, the rapper wants to commisserate daily.

Eventually, Kanye comes up with the brilliant idea of tweeting the apology (the pair have been following each other on the site for a month now) and near the end of the summer, comes up with this magnum opus, which rocks the celeb-osphere. Kanye’s fashion choices increasingly come from Cassius’ recommendations; his personal life flows into Cassius’ in streams of emo emails. Finally, at the end of the summer, the “College Dropout” seals the deal: he asks the Yale sophomore to dropout of Yale and become a part of his inner posse, traveling around with him for the rest of the year, helping him through his life’s lowpoint. Kanye West wants Cassius Clay to be an integral part of his resurrection.

And here’s the rub: Cassius has not returned from summer break. His Twitter account, otherwise indecipherably ironic and obscure, has filled with @kanyewest mentions and re-tweets. And earlier today, he tweeted the picture you see above, of Cassius backing up Kanye at NY Fashion week.

And so goes a tale of perhaps the unlikeliest friendship ever to come out of the Ivy League: of a hip 20 year-old Yalie, Henry Clay’s cousin, holding the hand of a tough-guy, multi-platinum rap artist, ready to buy companies and move mountains on his behalf. Throughout history, there have been creative duos that have rocked art: Pollock and Krasner, Capote and Lee, Lennon and McCartney. Now, thanks to one weird, wonderful Yale sophomore and his fabulous shoes, we have another for the ages.

So yeah, Sonny and Cher, I’m really happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but CASSIUS AND KANYE ARE THE BEST DOUBLE-ACT OF ALL TIME.

After the jump, check out more pictures of the Yalie half of Kany-ius.

Note: When this story was first published, Cassius was not available for comment, and the piece was sourced from friends and contacts. Cassius has since contacted us and the story has been updated to reflect his account. Cassius did not discuss Taylor Swift with Kanye, nor has he met Beyonce and Rihanna. Finally, the original piece misstated Cassius’ familial relation to former Secretary of State Henry Clay.

  • Daniel Luzer

    Well he’s unlikely to be a descendant of both Cassius Marcellus and Henry Clay; the two men were second cousins. Still, hilarious piece.

  • Y11

    Is he not enrolled? On the Monday before classes started, I saw him eating with a woman (who I assumed to be his mother) at Barcelona.

  • Anonymous

    i’m glad he got dressed up to go to stiles… NICE!

  • Bob

    I went to Phillips Academy with him….this is weird… haha

    • smb

      So did I, class of ’10, this is bizzare

      • Guest

        I went to Dexter (up to 8th grade) with him; he’s a really nice guy and comes from a really nice family.

    • OMG…

      …me too!

  • Yale 14

    Excellent work here IvyGate – I know people needlessly slam the site sometimes when you post mediocre stories, but this truly makes me proud of this site.

    Love gossip like this, so thanks.

    As to the guy in the article, what a douche – he isn’t actually descended from Royal heritage (in the European sense), so don’t know why that’s even mentioned.

    • Anon

      Do you know him? You realize he doesn’t claim to be descended from royalty, right? Neither does the article.

      • Yale14

        Yes I do – we shared the same art history class. And for you information (as you seem to be horribly misinformed), he does indeed claim to be descended from royalty, whereas this is NOT the case, as he discovered when tracing his family history.

        Yet he continues to go around saying such things, in the hope it makes him appear/sound important….

        • Anon

          I know him very well. You know nothing.

          • WealthyEastCoastGuy

            Dude, I know him even more well. He’s a total douche.

          • cheifperotti

            also know him. extremely humble. good fucking kid. just read the article he wrote, this kid is pure talent and personality.

          • Princeton 13

            @ chiefperotti;

            You don’t even know the dude – I’ve shared 2 other classes with him (history and sociology related), and he is a douche/moron.

            Just b/c he can use a thesaurus when writing an article, doesn’t make this fact any less true.

          • BigBlueBulldog

            If you call him a douche, that might be excusable as a result of an early impression. If you call him a moron, you’re just fucking jealous. P13 – name yourself or go home! Phil, is that you? James? Shut up regardless. At the very least learn how to use commas. (Moreover, if you actually did go to PA – yr. “sociology” comment puts that in doubt – certainly that place in Jersey was a safety school. Jealous, no doubt…)

          • anotherpersonclaimingtoknowhim

            Yea well I know him even more well then all of you, and he is definitely a Korean spy.

          • katia

            Went to high school with him, graduated a year ahead of him… I can’t claim to be bffs but I’m amused those of you who think that having class with him twice means knowing him better than anyone else. From what I have experienced of him Case is a great guy and entirely his own person. That being said, I don’t exactly have a window into the kid’s soul. (And at least I acknowledge it.) Shame on you (princeton13 et al) for thinking you understand him inside and out just because you had a class together for a semester. Seriously…? You’d be mad if some random kid from your lit discussion claimed to know all about you based on your comments on Paradise Lost. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated and don’t call someone you don’t know a douche. You probably wish you could be like Case.

          • 2013

            Anyone that calls themselves “WealthyEastCoastGuy” is the douche. And anyone that knows Cassius knows he has never claimed to be descended from royalty, that is absurd.

          • the crippler

            well i know him even more weller. He’s thinks you a douche.

  • Y13

    Alex– This article has numerous factual errors, only a few of which have been corrected by your hasty note. That there’s not a source mentioned by name within the piece seems to indicate that you spoke not to Cassius’s friends but to acquaintances or acquaintances of his friends. Of course, such anonymous sourcing is questionable when covering national security – but downright reprehensible to use when crafting a mean-spirited post such as this one.

    Cassius is incredibly bright and accomplished (and has incredible style, not just personal wealth.) Worst of all, he’s a really nice guy. Anyone who knows him well would tell you that. Your piece is indifferent to those positive tenets — but the Gawker post you hoped to spawn (and did) is nasty, with nastier comments. I’m not sure why you’d needlessly make a web celebrity out of a good kid who desires some privacy, unless you’re so selfish that you’ve lost any sense of decency or accountability. That appears to be the case.

    Shame on today’s IvyGate, which has gone from mocking Vayner to treating a good kid like shit.

    • G13

      Doesn’t this article make him look good? I guess different people see things differently…

      • Princeton13

        It makes him look like a douche and I think the large majority of people see it like that.

    • Privacy Consultant

      Guidelines For Those Who Desire Some Privacy:

      Step 1: Do not join Kanye West’s entourage.
      Step 2: Just give Step 1 some time to work and check back later.

    • 2013

      Thank you Y13 for defending Cassius. Cassius is one of the kindest and most talented people I know, and I am proud to call him a friend. Cassius we are all thinking of you and I know you aren’t letting any of this silly talk bother you. Keep working hard and everyone will soon realize how worthy you are of this opportunity.

      I miss you, Berkeley dining hall just hasn’t been the same since you’ve gone.

      • LMFAO

        You people are so full of yourselves, stop taking shit so seriously. There is nothing in this article that makes this kid seem like a douche, all you people READING negative things into the article should evaluate why you THINK that this article is negative. Maybe you all are secretly holding some negative feelings towards this fellow, or Kanye West… who knows? But lets be real, I think most people think this kid is a BALLER, and would kill to be complemented by Kanye West and have him ask us to be in his crew. The kid has mad swag whether it’s hipster flavored is irrelevant cause he’s cooler than half the people who’ve commented myself included. They were just talking about this crazy situation that sounds like it came out of a movie, it wasn’t an in depth evaluation of the kids merit. Oh and I’m pretty sure if this kid wsa super concerned about his privacy considering that he’s pretty fucking wealthy this post wouldn’t be here/would be much shorter, but instead he just corrected it. 

        Props to Cassius for having impeccable style, major swag, and a life worth writing about… can’t say the same for a few of the people commenting here.

    • Anonymous

      I’m so confused… I think Cassius is phenomenal, and IvyGate does too

    • 一成 鈴木
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  • Ers

    Now you change the post. Oh, okay. Stop trying to cover your tracks and go watch the top chef finale or some shit.

  • G4theweb

    not even a resume submitted? wow.

    • Evenchfasdf

      There are some fascinating deadlines in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There is some validity but I will take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more! Added to FeedBurner as nicely

  • booboo

    so is this kanye’s way of comin’ out? he surely needs to already!

  • Anonymous

    Why all the hubbub, IG loves Cassius!

  • none

    He’s not a forebear, you ignoramus. He’s a descendant or a scion. Forebear means ancestor.

  • Boxing Fan

    I love how there’s no mention of the modern Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali.

    • Toutsuite

      The modern Cassius Clay. You know, the one 50 years older than this kid.

    • Sallycwitt

      My sister and I are great granddaughters of the original Cassius Marcellus Clay of Richmond, KY.
      Altho we don’t appear to be kin to this Cassius, what an interesting person he is and such style!
      Both our families are great fans of Muhammad Ali as well, not for the boxing but for the life he has lead since he gave up the “sport”. Sally Clay Crenshaw Witt

  • Henry Tatius Clay VI

    Your wonderful Wiki source notes repeatedly (and accurately) that the Clay family is from Kentucky not New England. Us blue bloods like to keep the Jamestown crowd separate from the Mayflower set.

  • Bookfraud

    he’s the greatest kanye west stylemeister of all times! of all times!

  • Anonymouster

    I was completely happy for him despite the excess wealth and privelege. What upset me was the man purse and strange scarf turban thing he has going on.

  • Old NE

    The Clays are not old New England, they’re old Southerners. That’s why he’s a Yalie and not a proper Harvard man…

  • growapair

    feathers…really? this a pathetic display not worthy of real men. what planet is this? thank god I never came home from college to my WW2 veteran father dressed like such a precious fop. seriously man, grow some balls and do something worthy of respect. kanye’s style biatch…really…really? you need a tour in afghanistan.

    • JakeL

      Wow, how about you stop judging people from what a stupid article tells you. This kid is really smart and accomplished. I went to school with him, at one of the hardest schools in the world, and I can attest that this kid works extremely hard. Furthermore, he’s talented in many aspects, other than his fashion sense, but obviously this doesn’t give credit to that. Having different tastes doesnt make you less of a man, working hard and being your best makes you a man, and for that, he is already more of a man than you are or ever will be.

      • Charles

        I doubt you went to one of the hardest schools in the world and came out talking like an idiot.

  • http://www.hellandheartaches.com Patricec

    Are you certain he attended Yale and not Hogwarts?

    • Y09

      The two are indistinguishable.

  • Anonymous

    What’s happened to the so-called American dream that, with enough bad boy attitude, anyone can party with all the hottest celebrities and be torn apart in tabloids regardless of [in]breeding, class, and social positioning?

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2010/09/cassius-marcellus-cornelius-clay-kanyes-new-life-coach/

  • Columbia12

    Although I’m all for New Haven having it’s own Aleister Crowley, this takes the “Yale thing” – as per American Psycho – a bit too far.

    It’s clear that the rest of the league is going to have to step up to restore honor to archetype of the American man.

  • http://twitter.com/jsmooth995 jay smooth

    You might also want to do some fact-checking on your reference to Kanye West as a “tough guy.”

  • Yalie

    Who’s the girl in the pictures with him?

    • Yale ’12

      I’m pretty sure it’s Alice “La” Wang.

      • shanaynay

        yeah and she’s another winnerr

  • jake l

    I think a lot of people hate on Cassius because they know he is a great person: not because of what family he was born into, but because of what he has made of himself. Grow up, people. He’s a good guy, you just judge him by his outward appearance. Just because he is fashionable and wealthy does not mean he is a jerk. This article does not give you a complete profile of Cassius and all his good attributes.

  • um

    he looks like professor Quirrell from Harry Potter

    • http://www.leeyoungwholesale.com Wholesale Korean Fashion

      Yes, I think so too.

  • Matt

    This whole thing seems rather Brideshead Revisited

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  • D12

    This guy is no where as cool as Dartmouth’s SAE 3. He also has bird feathers stuck on his collar :(

  • LL

    No way, this kid was absolutely the biggest douchebag in my committee at NAIMUN in 2008, i recognized him instantly because he was so pretentious I wanted to strangle him the whole time, i believe his nickname in committee was Willy Wonka

  • Responsible_adult

    Accomplished? He’s 20 years old and has never had a job. Getting good grades when you can pay for a tutor is not an accomplishment. Getting into Yale with family connections is not an accomplishment. Giving the money you would spend on Italian shoes to a homeless shelter or charity of your choice…now that’s a young person I can respect.

  • jc

    this is so weird because i went to andover with him and had 3 classes with him…..and we were both class of ’09

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FUASLXZYUEGARLQEYURABPJRHQ Xinerama

    Man there are a lot of haters. Time and place. It’s where it’s at.
    Maybe the guy is flaky but maybe because he has to be to weed out certain persons with less credibility.

  • Myr

    Cannot believe his parents actually named him Cassius Clay! When I first read this post I though it was joke based purely on that fact. Why would you name your kid after the answer to a fucking trivia question?

  • meh

    If by a world class debater, you mean that he won a tournament by one point that automatically put him in the world schools debate, then yeah, he’s world class.

  • http://www.q-style.dk/stylist.php Megan

    I love their outfit. That was cool.

  • http://www.scavengerhuntanywhere.com/ Team building

    There are lavish parties, industry introductions, and a grand tour of Ye’s social life which is best to enjoy also there are better opportunity to share.

  • Community College ’13

    I’m not bothered by the fact that someone of a privileged upbringing was given this opportunity. I am, however, bothered by the fact that someone with such shit taste was given this opportunity.

  • http://www.42ndstreetoffices.com/about-us www.42ndstreetoffices.com

    oh dear, what has he got on his head?

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    not too bad

  • http://www.0594-seo.com Judylum2006

    not too bad

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