We need to talk about Kanye
On a certain level all this talking about Kanye West is what enables him - it not only gives him the platform but provides justifications for actions/reactions.
Every time I hear a new album by Kanye - or see the latest video clip - I have a little moment where I think back to hearing that debut album, the hype just bubbling in terms of his mainstream acceptance. All of a sudden he was no longer an underground artist. All that great production work, the hours making beats - and then he became a pop star.
I figure we need to talk about Kanye because everyone asks. All week, ever since the stories last weekend of the new album "leaking", it's been "what do you think?" and "have you heard?" and "do you want a copy?" and ever since Graduation I've been hoping Kanye West would get back to what he does well, what he does best. So of course every time he releases a new song or album I check it out.
But he's allowed so much rope, he keeps hanging himself and people just keep calling it dope.
You think that rhyme's bad - wait until you hear Yeezus, the new album by Kanye; the one everyone (apparently) is talking about.
Have a quick Google, 5-stars, 10/10, the best thing ever, a game-changer, Kanye reinvents music. Etc.
All breathless, fawning...
Let me tell you this, the stories of him killing it are greatly exaggerated.
I sat down with Yeezus this week. I worked hard to get something from it. I tried. In fact I'm convinced I tried a lot harder than Kanye.
You don't believe me, here are some sample lyrics from the song I Am a God:
"I am a god/Hurry up with my damn massage/Hurry up with my damn ménage/Get the Porsche out the damn garage/I am a god..."
But wait. It gets better. And by that I mean it gets (really) ridiculous:
"I am a God/So hurry up with my damn massage/In a French-ass restaurant/Hurry up with my damn croissants/I am a God."
But there'll always be a way to defend Kanye. Point out the lyrics are awful and some sychophants will leap forward to breathlessly proclaim that it is precisely because of his genius that he can get away with such lyrics. Point to the lack of music and you'll be told - no questions should be asked, by the way - that he's a musical innovator, a wizard. Point to his misogyny, racism, sexism and - in some cases worst of all - general buffoonery and we're back to Kanye - bigger than Jesus (that's what Yeezus is, apparently) - being allowed to do anything. And that hip-hop's biggest role models are allowed to just keep rolling out the stereotypes, if they're successful enough and gushed over enough there'll be people lining up to tell you that he's actually subverting the hype, playing against type. Because Kanye West appreciation exists in some strange Bizarrro World. He makes a bad album and people think it's his best. You try to point out what you don't like about what he does and you're just jealous. And where, by the way, is your album? Because if you're going to criticise Kanye you better be better. But if you're going to jump on board and just love it all you don't need to offer anything, no justification. Just your (undying) support.
I'm interested to know what you think.
So, since we need to talk about Kanye, it's timely and all, I'm curious to know your thoughts. Are you baffled by the adulation or are you up there in the front row hoping to collect the sweat from his brow to grow your own version of whatever it is he has?
Have you heard the new album? Do you love it? Is it the future of music - once again? Or is it flat out stupid? Is it both? Is it his best album, or his worst? Or have you never cared about Kanye West?
Do you agree with the rave reviews or have you been baffled at people - once again - falling over themselves to gush and rave about Kanye?
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