By Isaiah Houghton
It’s no secret that Kanye West is one of the most controversial artists in music today. The infamous rapper is known for letting his opinions run wild, often with no disregard for what sort of repercussions those opinions will have. With quotes like, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time,” and “I am a god,” it’s no surprise that he has garnered some degree of hate in his time in the spotlight. And yet, he is also undeniably successful, ranking in the top ten highest paid rap acts and his music being widely known in the mainstream. So what can we make of Kanye?
One thing that I feel should be cleared up about Kanye West is that his music and his opinions are inherently separate. Regardless of your feelings on his music, be them positive or negative, that shouldn’t color your view of him in any way. Art can be a distinct entity from the artist who made it with it’s perceived value being completely different from the perceived value of said artist . While Kanye has been known to share his viewpoints in his songs, his work as an artist is still distinct from his personal life.
With that out of the way, we can begin to analyze Kanye’s viewpoints. I’m not personally interested in deciding whether his opinions are valid or not. After all, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and Kanye is no different. In fact, most everyone would agree that he has such a right. What many take offense to is the way in which Kanye chooses to communicate those views. After all, when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMA awards to say that Beyoncé should have won the award, nobody doubts that others held the same belief, but nearly everyone was appalled to see him come up on the stage, including Beyoncé herself.
Why would Kanye do something like this? Is he simply an insensitive, solipsistic individual, with no idea how to handle himself? I would doubt it. Kanye surely knows that his behavior is out of the norm, there’s no doubt about that. As a longtime follower of both Kanye’s music and his antics, I think a clear line can be traced between his personality, his viewpoints, and his actions. Kanye is a very outspoken individual, with a lot to say about subjects like racism and fame, much of which comes through in his music. Kanye West is in a unique position that many don’t find themselves in, able to spread whatever message he wants to communicate in a radical way, creating widespread discussion. His comment about George Bush may have angered some, but it was a real fear held by many Americans who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, and he communicated that on a very wide scale.
Whether or not you think that Kanye being able to communicate on such a wide scale is a good thing or not, it’s at least exciting, and unlike a certain presidential candidate, the worst that can happen would be yet another wave of articles complaining about how insensitive Kanye is. After all, not many other people have the confidence to proclaim themselves a god. Kanye West’s online clout is an incredibly unique situation, which means that he will continue to be a divisive figure in the world of music and celebrities for quite some time to come. Personally, I can’t wait to see what he does next, be it good or bad.