Since the beginning, Kanye West has always thrived on controversy. Whether you want to acknowledge it, or not, many have looked to him as society’s most influential truth teller. Did Taylor Swift deserve that award over Beyonce in 2009? No. Like many, I had not even seen the music video. Do you really think that George Bush cares about black people? Like many of our Caucasian presidents, probably not. While the delivery was shockingly brash, it was impossible to deny the strong undercurrents of truth that surrounded these moments of pop-culture. His no-filter attitude has played an important role in his rise to Icon status throughout the years. Now, this doesn’t mean that I blindly agree with every single statement that he makes but I do find myself listening and trying to see things from his perspective more than I would any average person.
I’ll start by saying that I’ve been a Kanye fan since 6th grade, the same year that “The College Dropout” was released. His music has followed me all throughout my life and in many ways I’m grateful for it. Like many Kanye fans, his recent rants, cancelled shows, and psychotic breakdown have hurt me more than I’d like to admit. Even almost a week after, I find myself confused, saddened, and hopeful that the “old Kanye” will emerge from the ashes. Further, his breakdown makes me want to further examine the link between genius and psychosis. Truth is, his talent is impossible to overlook or talk down. Many of the Kanye critics I’ve encountered have no real knowledge of his musical history. Instead, they focus on his antics or “asshole” ways – a bias within itself. I think many fans will agree that the aspect of instability has almost drawn us to him more. However now, in a time where fans seek out the political views of their favorite artists and base their level of loyalty on those views, things get complicated. For many, Kanye’s thoughts on voting for Trump, or even his marrying Kim Kardashian will or have resulted in his exile completely. Personally, I don’t think that Kanye meant the things he said in those last few shows (hence the need for a psychic evaluation). Even if he did, there a few things that are impossible to deny: the first three Kanye albums are essential listens to anyone who is a fan of true hip hop, and what he represents to anyone who’s been told “no” or that they “can’t do it”. Not everyone can be a Chance the Rapper, if they could, then Chance wouldn’t be so special. At the end of the day, it’s best to respect what people are good at. For Mr. West, he’s accomplished what he set out to do and then some. Let’s hope that we all can get to that point.
Written by: Charmeise @boldasflowers