Monday, October 12, 2015

Deep, Dark Secrets: I Can't "Quit" Kanye.

It was the very early 2000s, and hip hop was full of puffy coats and boy bands and everything-Diddy. Timbaland and Timberlake ruled the airwaves, and everyone was cloaked in velour. "Phat" wasn't a bad thing, and a band-aid was a perfectly viable fashion accessory.

Everything in hip hop's world changed the day The Blueprint was released. It was an album full of clever loops and samples. Sure, Jay Z dropped beautiful strings of lyrics, but the focus of the album was truly on production. Namely, a largely-unknown producer by the name of Kanye West. His knowledge of soul and gospel music spanned far beyond his 24 years, and his balls, figuratively, were the biggest in the business.

By the time he crafted his own rap career, people were thirsty for what was to come, and in late 2002, after a bad car accident, he released 'Through The Wire', recorded while his jaw was wired shut. For a while I assumed that this was the type of determination that would carry through to a fruitful and unique career. He was driven, and clever, and openly spiritual, and built himself from the ground up. 'College Dropout' dropped, and the hip hop community collectively jizzed on anything and everything Kanye.

My first run-in with Kanye 2.0 happened while I was sitting on a couch in North Carolina. Hurricane Katrina had just touched down two states away, and TV was painting a sad picture of dreams washed away in an instant. The friendly faces of Mike Meyers and Kanye West popped up on the screen in a televised charity benefit. Mike Meyers had used his Austin Powers voice a few times, and was running out of steam. This is when Kanye stepped in, and, instead of words of hope or encouragement, stared coldly into the screen and calmly told the president he was a racist. Though he was 100% right, it was odd timing, particularly on a benefit event that he willingly attended, and a clear indicator of things to come.

Fast forward fifteen years, where the guy has yearly storm-outs on music award shows when he doesn't gets his way, has married into the most nails-on-a-chalkboard family of all time, and tries to bring back the "fashion skirt" on a fairly regular basis. I'm pretty sure he's trolling us ("us" being the entire world) on those last two, but we may never know. Like, the dude has a tour rider that looks like this, so you can't tell me that he's willing to put up with Kim Kardashian whining that there's too much salad dressing on her salad (actually a 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' plot-line, y'all).

Pair all of this stuff with super regular meltdowns about everything on the planet, and I have lost all bits of respect I have ever had for the guy, and yet...

As much as I want, out of principle alone, to cut all ties with Kanye, I just can't seem to stop. I love a Kanye love-ballad, even if it's about a fucking Kardashian. That Common album where he's on like every track? It almost makes you feel as if there's not a positive message crammed in there. I want to destroy all of the files on my computer. I want to scratch the shit out of my Def Jam's Rap Star disc, but instead I've got it cued up to the best part... "She said she want some Marvin Gaye...". He changed the face of hip hop, but is also the worst.

Fuck you, Kanye West. Also, please never leave my life.

~sarah p.

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