So K. Wizzle performed an eclectic headline set at Glastonbury and may have said he was the world’s greatest living rockstar or whatever. I mean, that’s no big deal though, is it really? Kanye’s likened himself to, like, God. Like, the Messiah. The Head Honcho. The Big Cheese. Saying he’s the world’s greatest living rockstar shouldn’t be nearly controversial enough to tweet about.

I don’t disagree; I think everyone should believe in themselves as much as Kanye does. What a world it would be. Some might call him a narcissist, I call him, incredibly woke. He thinks Beyonce had the greatest video ever? He’s gonna tell you. He thinks the Grammy’s are being whitewashed? You’re gonna hear about it.

He’s not one of those guys who talks through his publicists. He doesn’t censor himself. It’s refreshing. Plus he’s a lyrical genius.

Dress smart like a London bloke.
Before he speak, his suit bespoke.
And you thought he was cute before,
look at this peacoat, tell me he’s broke.

Okay, fair, he’s had a few off years—but he’s experimental. 808s and Heartbreaks was a bit of an autotuned mess but still had some gems, like “Street Lights” or “Love Lockdown”. He doesn’t rap on these, but the production is phenomenal.

You gotta think about classic Kanye and his insightful lyrics:

man, I promise, she’s so self-conscious, she has no idea what she’s doing in college

that major that she majored in don’t make no money,

but she won’t drop out, her parents’ll look at her funny.

Now tell me that ain’t insecure, the concept of school seems so secure,

sophmore three years, ain’t picked a career

she like fuck it, I’ll just stay down here and do hair

 

This, from the first verse of “All Falls Down”, speaks directly to me about the status of education and it’s intrinsic worth. We’re led to believe that education, school, a degree, these are the things we need in life. Fair. But what then? Or, what if you’ve picked a subject you’re passionate about that won’t get you a job? A subject that you would have been better off forgoing school and delving straight into the industry—without wasting, time money, motivation or resources. It’s also something that’s particularly poignant to me as a black woman with immigrant parents with no generational wealth. It’s important to them that their children go to university regardless of whether that’s the right choice for them.

He then goes to touch on the subject of wealth, particularly new found wealth, the sort of garishness that comes from growing up poor, and the fact that however much money one makes, they still will never be dislocated from ‘where they came from’:

Man I promise, I’m so self conscious
That’s why you always see me with at least one of my watches
Rollies and Pasha’s done drove me crazy
I can’t even pronounce nothing, pass that versace!
Then I spent 400 bucks on this
Just to be like nigga you ain’t up on this!
And I can’t even go to the grocery store
Without some ones that’s clean and a shirt with a team
It seems we living the american dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings
We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we a’stoop
Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coupe

It’s a subject that loads of rappers touch on, but you can’t deny how astutely K puts it down.

I say fuck the police, that’s how I treat em
We buy our way out of jail, but we can’t buy freedom
We’ll buy a lot of clothes when we don’t really need em
Things we buy to cover up what’s inside
Cause they make us hate ourself and love they wealth
That’s why shortys hollering “where the ballas’ at?”
Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack
And a white man get paid off of all of that

I think Kanye’s narcissism or whatever ultimately stems from the “self-consciousness” he talks about in “All Falls Down”. He’s sort of living a new identity, the rich black man. He’s got financial security but he’s still coming to grips with his identity as newly affluent black man. Biggie touched on it in “Juicy”:

We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us
No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us
Birthdays was the worst days
Now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay

And while his latest, Yeezus, doesn’t have the cohesive quality of Late Registration or College Dropout or the imagination or creativity of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, it still has the passion of his earlier albums. For me, in “New Slaves’, the reasons for his narcissism come to light; he’s going to be unapologetically, undeniably himself, and he’s gonna fuck shit up. Because what else can he do?”

Fuck you and your Hampton house I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse
Came on her Hampton blouse and in her Hampton mouth
y’all ’bout to turn shit up I’m ’bout to turn shit down
I’m ’bout to air shit out, Now what the fuck they gon’ say now?

He just gon’ do him and y’all can’t do anything about it. The O2 should change their ad campaign from ‘Be More Dog’ to ‘Be More Kanye’. We’d all be winners. Here’s a song that everybody likes. You’re welcome.

On Kanye West

Music, Opinion

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