Why Kanye West is a genius
The album I couldn't live without
I once marginalised hip-hop. To me, rappers were nothing more than wannabe gangsters in baggy trousers rapping about girls, cars, guns and money.
My mind changed when I heard Through the Wire for the first time. The catchy beat and sample caught my attention but it was the narrative journey of Kanye West's near death experience that captivated me.
The College Dropout album was like my music saviour. I fell in love with Kanye and hip-hop. After thrashing Ye's debut, my spare time was spent extensively researching hip-hop and the brilliant art form it was. I also learnt to differentiate between good hip-hop (Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Nas, Common, Big Pun, KRS One etc) and bad hip-hop (95 per cent of what is on the radio). Thank you Kanye!
Fast-forward six incredible albums later and I remain one of Kanye's biggest fans. Each album defied musical boundaries and proved why Ye is one of the most influential and prolific musical artists of my time. To me, he will always be a genius.
I have seen the recent interviews of Kanye. I laughed as he went off his nut at Sway and cringed at his comparisons to the late Steve Jobs and Walt Disney. But everything he said was true. One hundred percent true. Kanye's breakfast interview is my favourite. Watch it here.
First and foremost, Kanye is an artist. Just like Steve jobs was an artist. Kanye went to art school. He doesn't want to be defined as a musician, music was simply the first medium he excelled in.
Now he has conquered music he wants to move on to the fashion world but he can't because he is marginalised. Fashion labels and corporations have dismissed him even though he has proved his artistic innovation time and time again. The Air Yeezys shoes were one of the most in-demand collections in Nike's history and yet Nike still confined him to a limited and controlled partnership.
It is no wonder Kanye is frustrated. Why wouldn't he be? He is ten years ahead as an innovator and artist. Kanye knows his potential and is resentful because his outlets are limited. He is trying to share his creativity in all forms but multi-billionaire corporations constrain him. He is trying to be the controller rather than the controlled. At the same time he is encouraging us to push boundaries and dream big. It isn't about money, it is about power and control.
Admittedly, no one wants to listen to someone who comes across as an arrogant and rambling dickhead. Kanye's message gets lost because he lacks the charm and eloquence to deliver it. If only he was a walking dictionary like Russell Brand, then perhaps people would fall at his feet like they do for Brand.
If you can't stand the guy, I urge you to listen to his music instead. New Slaves is a powerful song that implies that we are caught up in a modern slavery today. We are slaves to material possessions produced by dominant corporations.
Either Kanye is a delusional maniac or a bona fide genius. Let me remind you though, Kanye was told he couldn't make decent beats and he became one of the best producers in the world. Kanye was told he wasn't a rapper and he became one of the best rappers in the world. Currently there are people telling Kanye he can't do fashion. He will prove them wrong, too.