Mr. West had one hell of a euro trip. In typical Kanye fashion, he ranted, yelled and screamed over weekend stops in London and Paris. Amongst the subjects of his fury were the Grammys, corporations and his own material.
His London rant specifically made headlines because of his supposed diss to homies Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake.
At about the 3:30 mark, he says, “I got love for Hov, but I ain’t fucking with that ‘Suit & Tie’ shit.”
The Internets and the Taylor Swift fans went nuts! “How could he call out his friends like that?”
While out of the context, the line could be perceived as a diss to his mentor and JT. But, once you listen to the rant in it’s entirety, it becomes apparent that he is not referring to the Legends of The Summer.
Yeezy is going off on the corporate aspect of the game. He is criticizing how business has changed the way we make and listen to music. His line was a reference to the business (suit and tie) aspect of hip-hop.
Mr. West’s outspoken nature has always polarized public opinion. Some are quick to call him an arrogant asshole. But I for one think that Kanye’s unique style and deviance from the mainstream are exactly what the public needs.
Kanye has always stood out. By his very nature, he’s an anomaly.
He rose through the hip hop ranks as a polo wearing, Louis Vuitton toting, middle class kid. This was in contrast to the “bling bling” and basket ball jersey style that permeated through the early and mid 2000’s.
He even references this on the “College Dropout” track “Last Call”
Kanye says, “Maybe they was looking at me funny because I didn’t have a jersey. Everybody listen, I played them Jesus Walks and they didn’t sign me. “
His early struggles in getting in to the game were because he didn’t fit the mold. Hell, some think the only reason he got signed to Roc A Fella was so that Dame and co would keep his amazing production talent in house. But Kanye, middle class and all, wanted to be a rapper, even if he wasn’t dealing drugs on the streets of Harlem.
His unique style changed the road map of hip-hop. Each one of his releases was so different, that you’d think you were listening to different musicians. His first three albums are considered classics by both the media and the mainstream. Furthermore, they serve as a testament to West’s wide spectrum of talent.
Once the soul sampling style of 2004’s “College Dropout” became the norm in the “me-too” world of rap, West switched up his production style for his sophomore outing, “Late Registration.” Seventies samples were replaced by horns, strings and pianos to create a lush cinematic sound that could be replicated by an orchestra. Oh wait, it was.
Then 2007’s “Graduation” upped the ante again by switching to an electro infused sound that drew inspiration from Daft Punk and others. Keep in mind, this was a full 2-3 years before the electro and house trend raged over the United States. Kanye was ahead of his time.
He’s always bucked the norm in hip-hop and the mainstream. When the crowd goes one way, he goes the other. And today that means speaking from the heart and not worrying about sponsorships.
You may hate Kanye, but on music alone, he deserves to be in the upper echelon of music. Years from now he will be judged by how ushered in THREE distinct musical styles, ones that set the stage for the maturation and growth of hip-hop.
Kanye is the rock star of our generation. He’s slash AND Axel Rose. He’s the hip-hop Kurt Cobaine. He will get drunk and storm the stage, he will call the president a racist and he will rant when he can longer hold back.
No other musician in the last 15 years has done more for music than Kanye. His style spawned a whole generation of rappers and made it okay to call bullshit at music awards.
You may call him childish and arrogant, but it’s because you wish you had the courage he did. You wish you the courage and conviction to stick to your own beliefs and style. You wish you had the courage to follow through on your vision and dreams, even if it meant pissing people off. But most of all you wish you had the courage to speak from the heart and not be censored by an image conscious society.
Kanye is both the rockstar we deserve AND need.