[Written By// @K1ngEljay]
Hot take time! Maybe we shouldn’t write about Kanye West anymore.
Granted, Kanye is one of the most polarizing characters in the entertainment industry. He’s also one of the few figures that is unable to not speak his mind at any given junction, making him a bit of an unpredictable pariah of sorts, for better or for worse. He’s detailed everything in his music from sending diiih picks to journaling his thoughts about marrying his then-girlfriend to her father to blood diamonds (and everything in-between). He’s not the most lyrical person – and he never was – but the way he moves can either intrigue you to the point of stalking Kim Kardashian’s Twitter page for new songs and announcements, or stress you out to the point you write him off completely.
That’s the thing; there’s so much to latch on to… It’s incredibly easy to write about ‘Ye. You can literally just wait a couple of days for an inflammatory tweet (“BILL COSBY IS INNOCENT!”) or wait for his new shoes to drop and marvel at how people pay money for some of them, but the point is Kanye is gon’ Kanye harder than the Grammys are going to promote behind Black artists (and give the big awards to “non-Black” ones). He’s always going, always talking, always trying to move forward in general. So when Craig tweeted that there was only one Black reviewer spotted for Ye’s new album, The Life of Pablo, it didn’t make sense to me. People pen about Kanye all the time. Even I’ve written about him a few times in the last year or two, so I quickly hit Google for myself.
Outside of some small blogs, he was right.
Maybe it’s because the rollout for the album is one of the worst we’ve ever seen? Maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m still not entirely sure if the album is officially released yet? Either way, it still sounds contradictory for there to be so much to write about with ‘Ye, and so many articles to pop up on the man, but to have that oversight from the community that Kanye puts ON for (read: us, Black people). The more I thought about it, however, the more it makes sense, because I’ve written about Kanye multiple times myself.
I have never posted a Kanye West music review penned by myself, though (the Cruel Summer review for AllHipHop.com doesn’t count).
…It even sounds hypocritical to write. We cover music with the purpose to entertain, educate, and inform, and if we’re not doing that, chances are the post won’t run. I’ve been that way since back when the site was titled TheREDEFINED. Going by that criteria alone, you would think that would easily justify a Kanye West album review, but yet, here we are. Better yet, here I am, being a statistic in a category I didn’t even know existed.
Maybe that’s the issue. We, as a culture, are so quick to gravitate to the outlandish, negative things that people do. For instance, Lupe Fiasco’s internet persona turns people off to his music, but that’s in no way a reflection of his skill when putting together words; he’s incredible. Instead, we focus on the random spat with Goodbye Tomorrow that came out of nowhere, or the gimmicks around him playing Street Fighter V with FGC Legend Daigo (which, admittedly, was LIT, and made me a fan of him again). Even those things aren’t music related; even with my tentative dislike for some of the things he does, we still cover his music.
Kanye, however, is the exception to the rule more than people wish to admit. I don’t really know why, either… He just is. Kendrick, J. Cole, Gambino, Lupe, Eminem, KRIT, and multiple other artists get looks for their music from within the culture (even if some of them are unfairly negative, word to Gambino and Cole), but Kanye just… doesn’t. Not as much as he should.
I remember seeing someone on the timeline retweet someone saying “PLEASE NO THINKPIECES ON PABLO” and I remember agreeing 100%. Somehow, that’s shifted in the last few days. Maybe we should talk more about the music. Kanye’s admitted to the public that he’s approximately a GAZILLION dollars in debt, so it’s obvious he’s putting everything into what he’s making. Maybe we should just stop looking at the person, in this case, for about 58 minutes (the length of the playthrough of The Life of Pablo), and write about the music for a change.
Maybe we should stop writing about Kanye, and just focus on Kanye’s music.