Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kanye West Has My Heart (and this is why)

A lot of people don't like Kanye West, and I have been wanting to write about his 'unpopularity' for a long time. Of course his over all record sales would indicate that he isn't exactly 'unpopular', but there seems to be this general consensus that Kanye West is a narcissistic 'jack-ass'.  

I often feel that when people say they don't like Kanye West, they are confusing their thoughts about his ego, with their opinion of his work as an MC and producer. This is an artist that has a very vast, and dignified catalog of work that extends way beyond his career as an MC. I have always believed that Kanye West is a great artist,  I just never felt compelled to write about it until I saw his show at Barclay's on Wednesday night. 

In this day an age, fans have a lot of access to their favorite celebrity's personal thoughts and lives. When it comes to an artist that is as unfiltered and outspoken as Kanye West, we seem to experience more of his intense personality, instead of his music.  Maybe Kanye is a crazy egomaniac,  but how and why should his overwhelming personality negate the integrity of his work? In my opinion, 'Yeezus' is one of the best albums to be released in 2013, and anyone that has taken the time to really listen to the album would probably agree that Kanye was not trying to make a "hit record", he (with the help of Rick Rubin) created a strong, honest, controversial and expressive work of art.  Kanye West is an artist, in the truest sense of the word. He is passionate, emotional, obsessive, self absorbed, conflicted and all different types of fucked up. But, would people start liking him more if he didn't reveal his true nature? Now that we have all of these social media platforms, I'm starting to think that 'rockstars' are being encouraged to withhold themselves and behave more like politicians. I sometimes wonder,  if it was MY generation that destroyed the raw and iconic "rock star", in favor of the well mannered, groomed and polished "pop star"?  Imagine if artists like Kurt Cobain, James Brown or Jerry Lee Lewis (to name a few) showcased their personal thoughts and lives on twitter, instagram, FB etc. Would we still love them for their incredible work as artists, or would we judge them for their  erratic, anguished, abusive and disturbing personalities and lifestyles? 

The bottom line is, I really don't care if (or that) Kanye West is a total douche bag.

I don't care that Kanye was mean to some girl at the VMAs. I don't care if he is or isn't  a good baby daddy. I don't care about the fact that he brags about his accomplishments. I don't care that he goes off on his crazy rants. What I DO care about is how I remember exactly where I was in 2002 when I first heard Talib Kweli's 'Get By'. I remember every detail of the experience because I had never heard ANYTHING like it.  I care about how I use to make sure that I played 'Jesus Walks' in it's entirety (before it blew up).  The song has a really slow start but it also has such an intense build up, and there would be no point in playing it at all if people didn't experience it's crazy climatic bridge. I care about the "ohhs" I hear when I occasionally drop 'Bonnie and Clyde'. I care that after 10 years,  Kanye West can still blow me away with a sick track like 'Black Skinheads'. I care about the fact that he used the MPC 2000xl as a live instrument in the performance of one of his songs, and then went on a rant about the significance of the MPC 2000. I care about the fact that out of all the up and coming wannabes, Kanye asked A TRIBE CALLED QUEST to open for him at the Barclay center, and then went out of his way to express his love for the group.

The show on Wednesday, was not the first time I have attended a Kanye West concert, but it was by far the best performance of his that I have ever seen. It was theatrical and dramatic, and the crowd was also treated to one of his famous rants. I suppose this is my way of expressing that I do deeply appreciate Kanye West, and I am always finding myself defending this admiration. From now I suppose, I'll just refer people to this blog post;)


1 comment:

  1. This is a great and much needed post, especially for all the Ye haters out there. Essentially I am a fan of Kanye West's music and artistry, but couldn't care less about his public persona. He is one of few artists that I will support and buy music from blindly. I will admit that I have mixed feelings about Yeezus and my liking it or not liking it will vary by day. On my first listen, I felt it was a slap in the face to his fans. I took it as his "I'm Kanye and I can do whatever I want and the fans will eat it up" album, which naturally bothered me. Then I gave it a few more listens and was able to digest it a bit more. After a week, I couldn't stop listening to it. It's bold, different and disruptive. I've never heard anything like it before and that made me appreciate it even more. After many listens, from beginning to end, it made MCHG (that came out only weeks later) pale in comparison. MCHG is an incredible album in its own right, but after being immersed in Yeezus, everything else just seemed mundane. I actually had to stop listening to Yeezus for a few weeks to really give MCHG a fair chance.

    Now, when I go back to listening to Yeezus, I appreciate it as a work of art, a true expression of Kanye and his thoughts and take on the world in its rawest form. He brought in Rick Rubin to give us a really "stripped" down and basic sound that is still able to hit very hard sonically. With that said, it is my least favorite album on an enjoyment level. Naturally there are a few tracks that I will listen to on a regular basis, but it is by no means my go-to album when feeling the desire to listen to Kanye. I prefer the music and lyrical content of his previous albums so much more. Thank you for the post!

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