If you know anything about me, you know that Kanye West’s music takes up about 90% of my iTunes library (122 songs out of the 440 in my library – ok so I’m not that good at math but I’m a writer and, therefore, am allowed to make use of the literary device of hyperbole). Not only am I an avid fan of Kanye’s music, but, I also have an unhealthy totally normal obsession with him. If it isn’t clear by the other two articles I’ve written about his family, I’m partial to loving everything with which he associates. When his signature style was pink polo shirts, all I wore were polo shirts for 3 years of my life (this is a true fact that may not have been consciously inspired by Kanye, but 7-year-old me already had a subconscious bond with him. NBD). When he released his song Facts in 2014, I bought and downloaded it the second it was available (which just happened to be while I was flying in an airplane). I can rap every track he has ever released (I use “rap” loosely because I am a white girl who can barely keep a tune). And, anytime someone tries to dispute his artistry and sanity, I will delve into a full-fledged debate about his greatness. So, in order to convert the masses to become Yeezus followers, I have compiled a short article about Kanye West and the reasons he is great and doesn’t deserve the amount of hate he receives.
Firstly, most of the people who don’t like Kanye, and may refer to him as Gag-ye (ok that’s just my dad but he thinks it’s clever so I put it in), have never actually heard any of his music (other than Stronger, Bound 2 and Gold-digger) but, rather make a judgment based on salacious articles with such titles as “The Worst Things That Kanye West Has Ever Done” or “All the times Kanye West was the worst person ever” (yes, these are actual article titles). People have a hard time separating the artist from the art, and often won’t even listen to his music because they are soooo hurt that Taylor Swift was interrupted in 2009 (can we just talk about how the song Beyonce was nominated for was Single Ladies and Taylor’s was You Belong With Me….). If these critics ever actually listened to songs like Everything I Am, Blood On The Leaves, Family Business or Runaway, they might come to appreciate the true artistry involved in his music, as well as his commitment to creating a new genre of rap music – “A creative way to rhyme without usin’ knives and guns”. Before his rise to fame as a rapper, Kanye was already an established producer, producing tracks for the likes of Jay-Z, Nas, Lil’ Kim and many others. It is Kanye’s distinctive style of sampling unconventional songs and unique beats that caught the attention of the hip hop world and what sets him apart as a true artist. His artistry was quickly recognized and he ended up receiving ten Grammys for his first album. Ten! Kanye breathed life into the hip hop world when it was beginning to become a creatively destitute genre. He is able to creatively contextualize obscure samples in his music and write deeply applicable and poetic lyrics. Kanye is a true artist, in the simplest sense of that word.
Now that I have solidified Kanye’s validity as an artist, I move on to his most controversial aspects, and the main object of people’s criticism of him – his attitude. Kanye is known to have god-complex and to be quite eccentric at times. Many of his critics label him as a bad human being because he possesses an above-average affinity for himself. I believe that people’s fear of self-love stems from the notion that to undervalue yourself and your talents expresses modesty, and, therefore, makes you a better person. I, however, think that we should all love ourselves as much as Kanye loves Kanye. Kanye has a confidence that allows him to grow as an artist. When Kanye releases a track titled I Am a God (feat. God) and dubs himself Yeezus, he is holding himself up to a certain standard. He continues to push boundaries and release new and fresh tracks. If Kanye lacked his trademark confidence, I highly doubt we would have ended up with such masterpieces as Power, I Love Kanye, Touch the Sky, Can’t Tell Me Nothing, or Jesus Walks. Although Kanye may not possess the humility that is super valued in today’s society, it is his insistence on being seen as a genius that allows him to continue producing barrier-breaking music. He does not under value his talent and does not let fear of failure hinder him from releasing revolutionary music.
Furthermore, all of the judgments people pass on the rapper are heavily influenced by the small parts of his life we see in public. What makes news are his outbursts and rants. We are all so fast to pass judgment on those we do not know, based purely on what we see and read about them. In fact, every comment on Kanye’s character from people that have personally interacted with him, tends to be positive. Rick Rubin is quoted saying “I love him, I think he’s a great guy”. Lily Allen is quoted saying “I love Kanye, I think he’s brilliant”. Nicki Minaj is quoted saying “He gives me advice…takes random pictures off line and says, “Oh this is a good picture of you”… he’s a good person to have a well-rounded conversation with”. Tyler the Creator is quoted saying “Kanye is one of the only few people in this industry that I consider a friend”. There are numerous other accounts of acquaintances of Kanye praising both his personality and his artistry. From these, it’s clear to see that Kanye is not the radical, bully, obnoxious person many publications make him out to be. He is a real person with real feelings, who has a persona hidden from the world.
Kanye is also just super cute. I know, not usually a word used to describe a forty-year-old rapper, but an adjective I feel completely confident applying to him. Firstly, his relationship with his mom was the most adorable relationship of all time. In his song Hey Mama, Kanye professes his love for his mom for a full 5 minutes. Sadly, Donda West passed away in 2007, leaving Kanye distraught and lost. He still wears a shirt proudly displaying his mom’s face (I’m thinking of getting a shirt with my mom’s face on it, but I think she would find it extremely concerning and not at all endearing). Secondly, we already know how much I love the Kardashian-West family. His love for Kim is often expressed through thousands of white roses, private orchestras and general support and praise. His relationship with his kids is actually the cutest thing I have ever seen (this is not a hyperbole). He released a song titled Only One in which he writes a love song to his daughter through the eyes of his mother (sorry I’m just sitting here melting all over my keyboard because ughhhhh Kanye stop being so cute!).
I could continue rambling about Kanye’s greatness and why my love for him is justified and all the hate he receives is super unjustified, but then this will turn into a 10 page, creepily obsessive, report on someone that I don’t actually know. So, I will leave you with this. Take a few minutes to make your own assessment of Kanye. Listen to some of his music, watch videos of his interactions with his kids and wife, read up on his mentoring of young artists and his commitment to art, and then create your own judgment of him – free from any preconceived notions.