I used to dislike Mr. West, for “hate” is too strong of a word. I thought he was full of it, and that his lyrics were too much. This was during the “College Dropout”, “Late Registration”, and “Graduation” eras. Looking back, I simply was not giving the man a chance. I did think his bars were clever, thought provoking, and sometimes hilarious. His beats are something else, too. I was only paying attention to the singles that were played on the radio and while I was out clubbing in a country that was not so hip to urban music (as in, it wasn’t as popular, and maybe not as accepted as, well, pop music).
“808s & Heartbreak” was released, and “Love Lockdown” became the very first song of Mr. West’s that I loved. Maybe that had to do with the fact that my arguably favorite artist, Esthero, was involved with the album, but nevertheless, he started to get my attention in a good way. Many of his fans claim that this was his worst work to date, but as an artist, aren’t you allowed, supposed to experiment?
I moved to the United States the summer before “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was unleashed. This. Album. Had. Everyone. Talking. Even though he came off as angry and even more self-centered than before, I was not put off by “Power” and even rapped along to it every now and then. That was about as much attention I paid to the record, until a very good friend of mine made me listen to it. While all the negative press he was receiving the year turned me off (remember when he took that VMA Moonman from that chick?), I am so glad I listened to the body of work from beginning to end. I then started listening to his previous records, and many of his deep cuts are my favorites to bump whenever certain moods strike.
We all know how much Kanye does not care about what many think of him, and that quality that I once hated turned out to be what I like most about him. The brilliant New York Times interview done by Jon Caramanica has made me change my mind on Mr. West for the better, and caused ripples across my Twitter timeline from NYC to Cape Town. In a country that has become so celebrity-obsessed with various armies, navies, and sects devoted to these people, I have to say that it is refreshing to have an artist that is not afraid, and who wants to do better than what he himself has done. How could you not genuinely admire that?
Dare I say it; Kanye has become one of my role models, especially because he gave off the idea that you do not have to be sorry for what you do not regret doing. He may come off as aloof, but he’d rather express himself through his creative processes. He may seem overly confident, but isn’t that what people say, fake it until you make it? He is not afraid to speak his mind, and he is quite intelligent if you pay close enough attention. He knows his flaws, but he is not shy to talk about his strengths.
For someone who used to have very low self-esteem and who questioned her abilities, I am glad there are artists like Kanye West out there. He knew hard work was going to pay off, and now he is enjoying the fruits of his labor any way he sees fit. He seems to be growing, and I feel this is the best way to change as a person. He wants to see how far he can go, and refuses to be held back. If these aren’t some of the traits of a successful person, then your guesses are as good as mine.
I’m just simply giving credit that is long overdue. While I do find the title of his next release quite narcissistic, I’m not going to sleep on this one. Mr. West has a lot to say, and he will do so as he sees fit.