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Can Kanye Live?

On the cusp of Kanye’s  new album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” those of us who didn’t read Bush’s memoir were alerted to the shout out he gave Kanye in his book. Only it wasn’t really a shout out.  Apparently Kanye’s nationally broadcasted opinion, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” was the worst moment of Bush’s presidency. Forget about the thousands of people who died and were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the two wars America is still fighting or the worst recession America has seen since the Great Depression. Yep, Kanye’s opinion holds precedence over it all. Kanye couldn’t catch a break there. During his now infamous “Today” show interview with Matt Lauer, Ye claims the interview was “brutal.” He also wasn’t pleased with the show running the tape of him interrupting Taylor Smith at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards while waiting for his response to the questions.

I wonder if mainstream media and the American public will ever allow this man to just live.

A few days ago I was reading “Jezebel” when I noticed writer Tracie Egan Morrissey created a video compilation of Kanye’s wackiest outbursts. As incredibly funny as the video was, I never thought Kanye was any more of an asshole than the slews of New Yorkers who bump into me on the sidewalks of W 4th. and look at me as if I am in the way without so much as an excuse me. Sure he had random temper tantrums occasionally. And of course he was completely out of line for interrupting Taylor. But the monster folks had painted him, I couldn’t see.

I was curious to know what others thought and proceeded to read the comments. I was surprised to find that a number of people loved Kanye too. To be fair, there were some who believed Ye needed a slice of humble pie, claimed his music was mediocre and believed he was obnoxious.

Some of the commenters expressed the following sentiments:

I love this man’s self esteem. I truly do. But the greatest moment in Kanye history was not on film. It was his recent statement on his nude photo where you could not see his entire package. He said, “They knocked the nose off the Sphinx.” How do you NOT love that? Kanye West IS everything he says he is. He is that goddamn good at what he does. Any fan of hip-hop (culture and the music) knows what his contributions to this genre have been and continue to be. He is special. He has been special forever. To expect him to be humble, to expect him to apologize for knowing exactly how good he is is ridiculous on our parts.

Another commenter:

Honestly? I still think he was right about George W. Bush.

And another:

I love Kanye and his crazy ways and find him constantly entertaining. That said, could I imagine actually having a personal relationship with this guy. Or dating him? Unless his persona is all for show (which I seriously think/hope it is not), he would be absolutely unbearable.

More:

“I’ve been working on, heard about this humbleness, humility, and I don’t like it. It’s unnatural” Never change Kanye.

Finally:

Yes, Kanye’s a bit nuts. And yes he says some things that aren’t so polite/PC/nice/modest/etc. But I think it’s quite refreshing to have a celebrity reel it back on the scripted fakeness that they’ve all perfect. Let’s hear it for reality!

Regardless of our love or hate for this man his talent far surpasses his grandiose persona. Kanye changed hip-hop with his arrival in 2004. Prior to Kanye there were very few successful rappers (since gangster rap had taken over) who didn’t glorify the street life. Street credibility was a major aspect of hip-hop music and culture. Ye blessed the mic, proving to the world you could be a rapper with a mom who held a PhD, have no affiliation with the drug cartel, rap about your experiences as a black male college dropout and have a massive global appeal.

I understand why Kanye carries on in such a way that makes others uncomfortable. He uses the most inopportune moments to express what some of us are thinking, but would never say. Being one of the people who publicly criticized Bush for his piss poor response to Hurricane Katrina, as a rapper, speaks volumes.

Celebrities are trained to be somewhat robotic. They must at all times appear “likable” to the rest of the world. Kanye doesn’t give a shit about that. He says what is on his heart, what is real to him. How can you not respect that?

I think his commitment to remain true to himself is applaudable. Being politically correct or following the status quo are norms that cannot confine the greatness of such an innovator. Isn’t this what we pride ourselves on as Americans? The freedom of speech. Daring to be different. Speaking truths.

On the one hand we want him to continue being the musical genius a great deal of us, and musical greats,  have deemed him. And on the other we wish he’d tone it down a bit, learn some humility, stop throwing temper tantrums. Well, that’s not how life works. People are who they are; and just because he is a celebrity doesn’t mean we have a say in who we think he should be.

Whether or not we agree with what he says is one thing, but to expect him to be someone he isn’t is another.

I make no qualms about saying Kanye is one of my favorites. The intent behind his actions are never malicious. Taylor Swift’s popularity tripled after the Ye incident. Let’s be real. George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people, or immigrants, poor people, homosexuals or about majority of the population for that matter. Kanye telling the award show’s music director, “It would be in good taste if y’all stopped the music,” while he was paying tribute to his deceased mother is absolutely correct! It would have been in good taste. He’s not saying anything homophobic, sexist or racist. So I can’t really be mad at his high level of conceit.

He is refreshing. I will take Kanye’s grandeur, arrogance, egomania, with all of his musical talents, over mediocre coons who stand for nothing, fall for anything while shucking and jiving. Now let’s have a toast for the douchebags.

  • Toomy

    Spot on I love it!!