A brief defense of Mr. Kanye West
By: Peter Kolb – First Year, English
Kanye West has been all over the news these past months, usually for one of two reasons: Either new songs, rumors or anything surfaced about his much anticipated album, or—more likely—he was tweeting, as Stephen Colbert so lovingly puts it, like a toddler on a bender.
After almost years of near silence from the 21-time Grammy winner, Kanye took to Twitter to present us with one of the most confusing, convoluted album rollouts I’ve ever seen. And when it rains Kanye, it pours Kanye. A “beef” with rapper Wiz Khalifa. An album name change. Another album name change. Okay, last album name change, for real this time (finally decided on “The Life of Pablo”). A tweet simply claiming “BILL COSBY INNOCENT.” Then, finally, on Feb. 11, the album drops. Well, sort of, but that’s for another article. All the Twitter drama over the past months was worth it. I could finally ignore Kanye’s Twitter and listen to his music.
In the six days since “The Life of Pablo” was revealed to the world, Mr. West has gone on what I count to be 16 separate Twitter rants. If you don’t believe me, check for yourself, @kanyewest.
The topics of these rants range from Taylor Swift, to the price of textbooks, to a public plea for $1 billion from Mark Zuckerberg for “Kanye West ideas.”
However, what I do find particularly interesting, albeit not surprising, is the Twitterverse’s reaction. Kanye has been met with widespread mockery across the Internet. He’s trending for all the wrong reasons. And once again, the public has turned on Mr. West.
So here I am.
Kanye West is a pompous, arrogant individual who over-exaggerates his impact and importance on Earth time and time again. I know this. Everyone knows this. Kanye knows this! His tweets are obnoxious. Although, I’m genuinely confused why people are surprised by his tweets. This is the man who went on national television to call out the leader of the free world for “not caring about black people.”
But here’s the thing: He can be obnoxious. He has earned it. That is what makes Kanye great. Without this unprecedented level of self-empowerment and arrogance, he wouldn’t have the sixth most Grammy nominations of all time. He wouldn’t have been able to shape the genre of hip-hop as we know it today. He wouldn’t have designed his own two fashion lines.
The ironic part about so many people laughing at Kanye is that it’s too late to laugh. He was mocked for revealing an organizational chart for plans to accomplish with his design company “DONDA.” Even Stephen Colbert publicly laughed at the idea of a “7 Screen Movie Experience”! The thing is, Kanye already did it. He premiered his short film, “Cruel Summer,” at Cannes Film Festival in 2012. The set was designed by one of the most respected firms in the architecture industry: OMA. Believe it or not, it was met with widespread critical acclaim.
The point is, Kanye has been laughed at his whole life. By record execs, by fashion designers, by presidents and now by just about half of Twitter. What these Twitter rants have made me realize is that it just does not matter whatsoever what the public thinks of Kanye. I’ve spent a good amount of time convincing friends, family, even teachers why Kanye West is a creative visionary. Why sure, he’s a bit off the deep end, but as he spits on “The Life of Pablo,” “name one genius that ain’t crazy!” But I’m finally giving up. It’s a mission with a misguided cause.
If you don’t want to acknowledge the boundaries Kanye West has broken as a celebrity and artist, bummer for you. If you want to spend all your time on Twitter laughing at someone for being passionate about themselves, about their craft, go for it. I don’t understand why we invest so much energy and thought into hate, especially on social media. I’ve seen more rants against Kanye than rants about people’s passions. But I can’t tell you what to tweet, so go ahead. Meanwhile the Kanye’s of the world will turn the music up and continue producing art—like humans were created to do.
Regarding Kanye being “53 million dollars in personal debt,” people seem to be confused on what personal debt entails. Kanye West is in perfectly fine financial standings. It’s just that his value is in his rights, record deals, etc. He’s in personal debt, since he has had to dig out of his own pocket to finance things like the Yeezy Season fashion lines and DONDA video game. However, he obviously can’t keep doing this, which explains why he’s pleading to the Zuckerberg’s of the world to help him produce art. This is not a radical idea. We wouldn’t have da Vinci without the Medici family.