Kanye West has made a fool of himself in the last few months. His social media presence and overall resolve has been nothing short of bombastic. Yet people still revere him. Why?
I will never understand why Kanye is exalted among millions of people. He started out his career as a forerunner in contemporary music. “College Dropout” and “Graduation,”-Kanye’s first two albums- were both heavily influential pieces of modern hip hop.
As Kanye’s career has developed, however, he has become a self-proclaimed deity. He has of course received ridicule for his attitude in general, but his fans still love him. His last album, “Yeezus,” is one of the most self-referential, egotistical albums ever released in popular music, yet people were still awaiting his newest album -which went under three name changes- with great anticipation.
First it was entitled “Swish,” then it was called “Waves,” but finally, mere days before the release of the final product, it was changed to its current name, “The Life of Pablo.” The name change fiasco could not be more parallel to the actual quality of the album. Most of the songs on it feel rushed, as if they were demo tracks thrown on to the album for the sake of completion. Yet, the fans still revere the album as a classic, before taking time to really consider the quality of it.
The first song on the album, entitled “Ultralight Beam,” starts off the album fantastically. One might think that the album is deserving of the aforementioned praise after hearing this wonderfully produced masterpiece. Then, “Father Stretch My Hands Part 1.” starts out in iconic fashion, with amazing sampling, blending contemporary and old music. However, in the midst of the beautiful, enlightening music, Kanye starts to rap, and it’s a nuisance. The mere subject matter of his verse ruins it entirely.
After this enormous drop-off in quality, the album never fully recovers. Many of the songs feel rushed and vacuous, with a tacit promise of deep symbolism, but no underlying meaning. There are “intermissions,” symbolic tracks and seemingly meaningful tracks, but when any research and/or deep thought is put into the songs, they mean nothing.
So, my question still stands. Why do people revere Kanye?
My theory is that people jokingly pretend to love him, so that they ironically feel included into Kanye’s strange cult of “pretend fans.” While some of his songs are significantly better than any other hip-hop that comes out today, the overall greatness that Kanye wants you to experience is completely superficial.
Kanye can pretend like he’s the next Picasso as much as he wants, but his resolve and self-praise is only a guise for the real quality of his music.