Let’s Talk About Kanye West

Alright, guys, here’s the thing. When people ask me about Kanye West I could go on for days. I’ve had to restrain myself because I’ve found myself in countless Kanyeversations since returning after the holidays and I’ve met maybe one person with whom I could talk about Kanye for hours and she wouldn’t get bored. Since Yeezus dropped, man, I’ve got Kanye fever. I love that album. And I don’t mean in a these-beats-are-dope kind of way. I mean the this-is-a-masterpiece kind of way. I spent two days over break listening to the entire discography of Kanye and all roads led to the power of Yeezus. There are primal screams as far back as College Dropout. That wailing that scared you out of your seat the first time you heard “I Am A God” is nothing new to Kanye’s sonic palette.

It really is a shame that only a select few people get to make music over Kanye West production. If I was a rapper and I had the chance to buy instrumentals made by Kanye himself, like millions of others, I would be all over that. Unfortunately, only Kanye, his G.O.O.D Music peers and whoever else is in his elite music industry clique get to rhyme over his own beats. But on the topic of masterpiece I really do believe that when all is said and done, Yeezus will be sitting pretty next to the great works of art and the genius symphonies of times past. I really mean that. There’s something about this album that captures a feeling and an age and a certain frustration with creative license. After going to the Yeezus show at the Wells Fargo Center, I think race is the last thing this album is about, which is surprising given how racially charged Kanye’s music has seemed in the past. But he really emphasized that he just wants to “talk his s*** again.” That everyone should be able to do as much, but there’s always someone trying to bring you down. So it’s not really about race, and it’s sort of about class (once saw an awesome lecture where a girl compared much of Kanye’s work to Marxist philosophy), but it’s mostly about oppression, no matter who you are. This album transcends all the boundaries Kanye’s previously set up in his work, and when I sat in the Wells Fargo Center wondering why I was crying at a Kanye West concert, that’s gotta be it. It’s gotta be because, no matter how weird this album can be at times, there’s something in it that just connects, whether you understand it or not.

Three thing that made me think Yeezus was worth a deeper look:

  1. Blood On the Leaves“. Taking Nina Simone’s version of the sacred “Strange Fruit” that really shouldn’t be touched and using it as a backdrop to a song about accidental pregnancy. That’s audacious.
  2. On “I’m In It”, equating a woman taking off her bra to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
  3. Kanye shouting “In a French a** restaurant/hurry up with my d*** croissants” makes you laugh the first time you hear “I Am A God” but immediately after that first snort leaves your nose, you think twice about laughing because Kanye’s not kidding and that kind of power is terrifying.

And yet somehow all of this works. Somehow it makes sense. But it shouldn’t. So why is that?

So I want to know what you guys think about it. Let’s get a conversation going, let’s open up this dialogue. I’ve gotten hate mail for posts like this in the past and I love that passion. Whether you hate Kanye or love him, speak your mind. He is an inherently problematic figure. I want to know what you think about Kanye West. I want to know what you think about Yeezus. I want to know what you think about the skits on Late Registration (because, again, when a bunch of guys are chanting “Broke Phi Broke, we ain’t got it” I really want to laugh but I really know I shouldn’t). I just want to know what you think! So here at Rock On Philly, let’s talk about Kanye West.

Photo Christopher Polk / Getty Images

1 Comment

  1. tom smith

    January 2, 2020 at 7:02 am

    kanye is an enigma now he is a christian

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