Kanye West. Now depending on which end of the spectrum you lie, you’re either thinking Trump loving, narcissistic fascist who has his political stance misconstrued and is quite possibly in the sunken place or legendary self-made, multinational, award winning musician and some may even say a prodigy with lyricism.
Now I like Kanye’s music. All falls down? The good life? Gold digger? Ultralight beam? Father Stretch out My Hands? All mine? I Love It? All Kanye classics. Kanye himself however? Problematic.
I’ve tried to see both arguments in regards to this recently acclaimed interest in politics that Kanye has seemed to have adopted over the last couple of years as I’m sure we all remember that very odd time in 2015 where people were advocating the whole #KanyeforPresident #Yeezyforpresident narrative. Some say that Ye (Kanye) aligning himself with Trump is all part of some ulterior game plan to essentially get on the inside and conduct political and social change from a position of higher authority. Others say Ye is very intelligent and is going to be the change we want to see in the world, however he just isn’t able to articulate himself appropriately when addressing often sensitive issues of injustice; for example his very radical statement about slavery and I quote “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” – Kanye West.
Now from what I understand Ye was trying to convey the message of mental imprisonment and that even though black people were enslaved for all those years they were also in larger numbers and therefore shouldn’t have allowed themselves to be imprisoned both physically and mentally for all that time. At this point can we continue to take anything Kanye says seriously? Because to disregard years of systematic racism and enslavement of black people down to a “choice” is incredulous. This was the point where I think many people resided to the fact that Kanye can’t be helped. The likes of John Legend, Chance the Rapper and other celebrities have all reached out to Ye in a bid to get him to think twice about his radicalism and political views which have all been futile.
This article wouldn’t be complete without addressing the Ye vs Drizzy (Drake) beef and the Trump visit. I’m just going to call Kanye out for the vindictive, sly and low-key malicious behaviour he has been exerting towards Drake over the years. It’s no surprise that what originally started out as a bromance and mentor relationship turned into a very covert rivalry, with Kanye essentially ‘snaking’ Drake at every given opportunity, be it releasing his track lift yourself without telling Drake as Ye promised him the beat, or orchestrating the whole reveal of Adonis (Drake’s son) through Pusha T’s diss track as Kanye was executive producer, not to mention Kanye rushing to release his album upon discovering Drake’s release date for his most recent album Scorpion. Kanye has also been strongly advocating ‘7’ as a marketing ploy stating that all his albums are going to have 7 tracks from now on. 7 is one up from 6 which has always been a Drizzy reference “riding through the 6 with my woes” “6God” etc. More on this dispute can be found in the following twitter thread and linked video:
On October 11th Kanye spoke freely with Trump whilst debuting the iconic “make America great again” cap, where he spoke of wanting America to be self-sufficient, make sustainable jobs and essentially move Adidas on shore at the cost of reducing global trade liberalisation- weird flex but okay. That’s fine, free speech and all that jazz, but to out rightly say that police brutality in America isn’t racism, the abuse of power is just them doing their jobs and to further say that Black on Black crime is just as prominent is completely insensitive and ludicrous.
Ye suffers from mental health issues such as bipolar. It is also a known fact that he blames himself for his mother’s death in 2007. Taking this into consideration, we as fans should show compassion and shouldn’t be so quick to pass judgement on some of the things Kanye says. This being said if we look at some of Kanye’s song titles: I thought about killing you, I love Kanye, I am God, Can’t tell me nothing. It’s clear Kanye sees himself as some celestial being which is why he doesn’t see anything wrong with passing judgement on different aspects of our society and history that are in such need of ramification. It’s no wonder that he approves of Trump’s ideologies. Ultimately I think this comes down to the deity complex that Kanye is living.
Text by Nicole Kwami
Picture research by Anna Irina; feature image from Tumblr.