Nigga why you got these White folks claiming you, like they built you, like they made you, like they polished you?
Like they raised them a good nigga for the picking, like they got you for sale.
“Oh how they love Kanye let’s put him all in the front of the store”
Like you’re their Black boy, you forgot you Black boy? – Jasmine Mans, Footnotes For Kanye
Kanye West has made his career achieving the impossible.
Disproving naysayers wrong time and time again.
What’s made him special is that he’s taken the fans along with him every step of the way.
“Never let nobody with the power to sign, ever tell you you ain’t got the power to rhyme.
They use to tell me tighten up put some bass in your voice.
They use to tell me lighten up, put some Ma$e in your voice” – Get By Remix
Kanye wants validation.
At first it was as a rapper. When he was seen only as a producer he worked his tail off to prove to Dame Dash that he was going to make it on his own merit and not have Cam’ron or other rappers pen his rhymes similar to how Dr. Dre and Eazy E had Ice Cube, MC Ren later The D.O.C guide them lyrically.
Then once he established himself a not just a super producer but a rapper he moved into fashion were he faced obstacle after obstacle interning at Fendi, putting up $13 million of his own money into kw by Kanye West.
When faced with not having royalties under Nike after the immense success of both the Air Yeezy 1 & 2 he left to join adidas and later partner as adidas + Kanye West.
This also carries into life.
In the recent interview with Charlamagne The God he goes over multiple instances where he felt he gave love but he didn’t feel the same love was returned.
After Barack Obama met with Kanye and his mother Donda in Chicago while running for president Kanye didn’t feel it was right that he didn’t reach out personally after Taylor Swift instead of calling him an “asshole” during an interview.
Also that after what he felt he did for Barack’s campaign that Obama left while Kanye was performing felt disingenuous.
Similarly with ‘Big Brother’ JAY-Z he explains that they aren’t as close as they were during Watch The Throne because he doesn’t offer as much value as he did during that time.
And then states that if they really are brothers as both Kanye and JAY-Z have stated then he couldn’t have gone too far with his onstage rant about Beyoncé and JAY-Z because they’re family.
But if it’s just a strictly working relationship then he’ll move differently.
Trump gives him attention.
He praises Kanye for ‘getting it’.
In his newest song he raps unlike Obama who was ‘heaven sent’ according to Yeezy the reason why he’s a Trump fan it showed him ‘he could be president.’
And if you look at their careers you can understand why Kanye would be attracted to the current Commander in Chief.
Both have tried a multitude of things amongst hate and disdain from outsiders.
Their ability to change the narrative and have onlookers fixate on what they say is second to none.
The problem is Kanye West is becoming someone I never thought he’d be.
Naively I thought Kanye would be the second coming of Tupac Shakur.
Both born to Black women who were passionate about education, Afeni would make Tupac read the NY Times and report what he learned as Donda became the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University.
Both have anthems about their mothers with Tupac’s Dear Mama and Kanye’s Hey Mama.
Afeni Shakur and Ray West were former Black Panthers.
His first big wave on the social consciousness in America involved politics.
Dan Quayle, Vice President to George H.W. Bush, criticized Tupac’s ‘gangster’ rap music.
But Bush’s son would be called to action during a live telethon for Katrina relief on NBC.
Next to SNL alum Mike Myers a clearly flustered Kanye tried to find the words to say to express his displeasure with what was happening in New Orleans, then after admitting he personally do more he seemingly spoke for an entire community of Black people when he exclaimed “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.”
His music reflected the discontent with the society today similar to Tupac’s Changes.
Most in the music world expected Kanye’s rhymes to be in a similar vein of the ‘backpack rap’ of A Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli and Mos Def but he expressed all parts of himself.
All Falls Down shows the juxtaposition of his ideology.
In the same song where he admits how he can be self conscious about his clothes when going out he drops heavy truths.
“I say ‘Fuck the police’, that’s how I treat them.
We buy our way out of jail but we can’t buy freedom.
We’ll buy a lot of clothes but we don’t really need them.
Things we buy to cover up what’s inside, cause they make us hate ourselves and love their wealth that’s why shawtys hollering ‘Where the ballers at?’
Drug dealer buy jewelry, crackhead buy crack. And the White man get paid off of all of that.”
Nowadays fans of Kanye are scratching their heads to what’s happening now.
I’ve defended him over and over again from when he interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2008 VMA Awards to him railing against the fashion world and talked about classism during the Zane Lowe and Kimmel interviews.
But now? I can’t defined where he’s going or what he’s doing.
I truly believe he’s a musical genius but unlike Tupac who was extremely talented at communication and explaining his position Kanye’s words sound more like word vomit.
At first I wanted to write it off as apart of his recent struggles with addiction and mental breakdown but sense both Kanye and Kim, his wife, have made it very clear this isn’t a mental health issue then what he’s doing is dangerous.
Misquoting Harriet Tubman and clumsily defending his ‘400 years sounds like a choice’ statement about slavery on TMZ he seems to have truly lost his way.
Before this week’s TMZ interview though I disagreed vehemently with his Trump association I understood why he’d be drawn to someone who is similar to himself.
But now I’m completely lost.
From saying talk about race is dated, cosigning Candice Owens but claiming Parkland’s Emma Gonzalez is his hero.
His back and forth act is wearing thin.
He’s run out of excuses and as a 40 year old man it’s high time to hold Kanye West accountable for his own actions.
It’s not JAY-Z or Beyoncé’s job to check in on him or as Ebro stupidly requested for a Black woman to give him a hug.
And when multiple people have reached out from J. Cole to Talib Kweli he has time and again betrayed their privacy posting text messages from John Legend and Kweli.
His naiveté works as a creative.
In My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy he explains he’s fighting for custody over his ‘inner child’.
And in tons of interviews he compares his process as creating like an 8 or 10 year old.
He’s made brilliant music this way but when speaking on real issues like slavery, mental or physical, and not being able to name a policy he agrees with Trump on he’s turned from someone who influenced an entire generation to someone who’s name is being used to justify dangerous racist ideologies.
I miss the ‘old Kanye’ because he had a great set of people around him (GLC, Rhymefest, John Legend, Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def) who he seemed ready to listen to.
I miss the ‘old Kanye’ because he had a sense of how the world worked in a much more grounded way.
And I miss the ‘old Kanye’ because he didn’t align himself with a racist President who has empowered racist White Supremacists.