What the fuck is wrong with Kanye West y’all? That was rhetorical. Kanye isn’t doing anything new. Let’s take a minute to analyze who Kanye is and what his motivations are.
Kanye has always been an eccentric rapper/producer from Chicago. Kanye West has always been driven by his own ego. I consider myself a fan of his music, but truth be told, he can’t really make a hit without a sample. So he’s not the greatest producer, but making hit singles isn’t exactly easy, so he clearly is an artist.
I personally don’t view College Dropout as the same masterpiece that everyone else does. I personally thought Late Registration was way better. That’s because I am less in tune with a rapper’s message than I am with how good the music sounds, and to me, Late Registration is just better on the ears. Simply put, there’s more songs that I enjoy and would replay on his second album than on his first.
So somewhere around the time of the release of Late Registration, Hurricane Katrina happened and Kanye West famously did this:
Kanye is clearly an emotional person. And saying something like this felt like he was saying something we all wanted to say at the time. Kanye West became our hero that day.
Then came Graduation. I remember when this album was on the way, 50 Cent apparently famously claimed that if Kanye West outsold him first week that he would quit doing music. From what I recall, Kanye’s album stomped 50’s. But of course 50 didn’t quit. I don’t recall Kanye ever saying anything about it, but I found it ironic that one of Kanye’s biggest singles from the album coincidentally had a line referencing a 50 Cent line.
50 told me go ‘head switch the style up
And if they hate then let ’em hate
And watch the money pile up
Here’s where things begin to take a turn. 808s and Heartbreak was a huge risk on Kanye’s part. Because let’s be honest, nobody wants to hear Kanye sing.. Not for a full goddamn album. There was some decent music on that album though and there are plenty of people who would say that was his best album. It definitely revealed Kanye as a risk taker.. But it essentially killed the “Old Kanye”. I recalled having arguments about Late Registration because fans of College Dropout felt Kanye had already moved too far beyond his conscious roots and depth to make more sonically enjoyable and shallower music. But like I said, I loved that album. Those College Dropout fans would naturally see 808s and Heartbreak as a continued fall from their ideal Kanye, even though that album might be considered his most personal album.
If that album wasn’t controversial enough, the next came this..
I have never been a Taylor Swift hater but on the other hand I agree with Kanye here. Beyonce’s Single Ladies was iconic. Taylor Swift’s single was great and all, but Single Ladies was an anthem and the video was one of the most memorable things from that year, aside from Kanye shitting on Taylor’s moment at the VMAs of course. On top of that, there’s this:
If this isn’t a pretty hardcore blow to the ego, I don’t know what is. The first African American President verbally expresses an opinion about you, and it aint positive. Obama has only ever had good things to say about Jay Z. Big Brother wins again.
I would say all of this put the cracks that started Kanye’s rift with black America. He got points for the Taylor Swift thing, but everything else kind of left him as a bad taste in our mouths.
Then came 2010.. The comeback year. Kanye dropped My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. That album to me was a masterpiece, and furthermore masterfully marketed.
He debuted one of the singles at the VMAs. I remember people wondered if he was apologetic toward Taylor Swift and if would possibly take this opportunity to express that. Nah. He performed Runaway, which seemed to be Kanye embracing his place as the guy who has to say the wrong thing at the right time because somebody has to:
It was perfect. Furthermore, he created a movie showcasing the music from the album:
And was going around shopping the album with his artists in suits, walking around looking like black Wall Street.
On top of all of that, one of the singles pretty much showcased Nicki Minaj’s lyrical skill, making her a household name overnight:
You couldn’t tell Kanye shit in 2010. He had fallen and risen like a phoenix (which by the way was one of the subject’s of his Runaway movie). His artistry was on full display and those of us paying attention were in awe of it.
One thing nobody acknowledged tho.. Remember that white girl that was with him at the VMAs during the Taylor Swift fiasco? Well obviously they were done. And if you listen closely, half of Dark Fantasy is about her. Especially this song, which I am pretty sure features her:
So yeah, I wonder if that phoenix was Amber Rose. Who knows.
After a year like that, why wouldn’t Kanye take some time to himself. But in that time, with little to no positives to drive his image, it began to deteriorate. That’s when his relationship began with Kim Kardashian. That’s when he dropped his most mediocre body of work, Yeezus. That’s when he was trying to break into fashion and feeling like his genius was being held back. That’s when he was going around defending his new found passion and music and being demolished in radio interviews:
Around this time I began to consider that maybe Kanye West really was a genius. See he was having yet another bad year. But he had followed up 2009 so beautifully after the whole Taylor Swift thing that I figured this might be by design. So at that time, I decided that regardless of what happened, I knew Kanye was going to come back in dramatic fashion afterward. And I was almost right. Kanye learned to stop talking about fashion so much and just started doing that shit. His shoes, Yeezys, are a success story. They still sell out when released to this day. His follow up album could probably be considered a success. I didn’t care for The Life of Pablo as a whole, but it was definitely a step above Yeezus. However, there seemed to be an apparent fallout with Jay Z. And then there was shit like this:
It all has just felt like Kanye has been trying to hold on, but is still deteriorating. Understandably. I think Kanye’s ego is quite fragile and fame is crazy. It can make you crazy if you don’t manage it properly. Look at everything Michael Jackson went through.
So I have said all of this to talk about the Kanye we have today. The one who appears to support Trump and at the same time doesn’t mind being vocal about that support. I believe Trump and Kanye are of similar minds. Two individuals driven almost entirely by their ego. It feels like a turn for Kanye to be supporting Trump after being the same man who called out George W Bush on live TV. We would expect that Kanye to have the same opinion about Trump. But that’s because we thought we knew that Kanye. We thought we knew his motivations. Kanye is about self, same as Trump. Kanye most likely feels like we turned our backs on him a long time ago. But he still has to go on.. And Trump didn’t call him a jackass. Truth be told, Kanye West having a relationship with Trump, the most powerful man in the world, will probably be quite beneficial. He blew his chance at having that with Obama, so fuck it, why not Trump.
I’m not saying I approve. But I understand. Y’all think Kanye is fucked up. Nah. He knows what he’s doing. And in the end it will probably benefit him more than being the old Kanye that we all miss. We lost Kanye a long time ago. When it suits him and he actually has something to offer us, maybe he’ll come back. Till then, yeah he’s pretty much in the sunken place. It is what it is..
Kanye is up to something..