Kanye West and Twitter, Explained
Over the past few weeks, Kanye West has been on a bit of a spree. Between his nonsensical Twitter rants to the mess of an album drop he’s been putting his fans through, it seems like there’s hardly anything going on here that seems logical. But Kanye, as we know, doesn’t cohere to traditional reason. He’s always marched to the beat of his own drum, but that drum is an 808 and his march is leading him straight into debt. Bear with me on this one.
If you’re not aware, Kanye dropped his new album, The Life of Pablo, on February 14. But it didn’t originally have that title. In the weeks prior to its release, Ye took to Twitter and made name changes seemingly at random. The name of the album was for sure going to be S̶o̶ ̶H̶e̶l̶p̶ ̶M̶e̶ ̶G̶o̶d, no wait, W̶a̶v̶e̶s, actually it’s S̶w̶i̶s̶h… Wait, Swish? Really? How about you pick a title you’re absolutely sure about before tweeting.
This brings to attention the power that Twitter gives celebrities, particularly influential ones like Kanye. People have been running in circles trying to figure out if he is ever going to make up his mind. We all know Kanye has no brain-to-mouth filter whatsoever, but that’s pretty hard to fix if you’re on his PR team. Can’t he have a social media manager who screens his tweets before posting?
Through Twitter, Kanye has changed the name of his album four times, and has released multiple “official” tracklists for the album, and several remixes of his new songs. He’s even publicly blamed Chance The Rapper for delaying the album and then thanked him for his performance soon after. In the form of altered album covers. As you can imagine, all this info has taken a toll on the hip hop community, which doesn’t know what to believe anymore. There’s been so many “official” updates over the past few weeks that the subreddit r/hiphopheads has a no Kanye filter at the top of their page. No, seriously.
So when he finally dropped the album on Tidal and called it The Life of Pablo, we thought we were finally done. Wrong. Kanye once again took to Twitter, releasing even more remixes and vowing to fix songs that were already on the finished album. He revealed that he has a debt of $53 million and asked Mark Zuckerburg to give him a billion dollars (on Twitter, no less).
I have some financial advice for Kanye. Release the album on a platform that people are actually willing to buy it on. Currently, the album is officially available only on Tidal, a music streaming service that competes with Spotify and is essentially owned by Jay-Z. The problem with Tidal is that nobody uses it. And nobody’s going to start because they want to hear one Kanye West album that keeps changing anyway. While Tidal subscriptions have gone up a bit, the album has been torrented over 500,000 times. Surprise, surprise.
It’s a shame, because it’s actually a pretty decent album according to critics. I hear from people who would pay to own it if they could, but who aren’t willing to subscribe to a another streaming service for just one album when they already use Spotify. Other people are signing up for a free trial, ripping the album, and then canceling their subscription. At this point it’s pretty clear Kanye is getting in his own way. What did he think was going to happen? Did he really think this was going to work?
Now, some people have theorized that Kanye had some contractual obligation with Tidal to produce an exclusive release by a certain date, so he dropped what he has now so he can spend time on finishing the real thing. But I don’t want to believe that. It makes too much sense for Yeezy.
It’s incredible what one man can do with a smartphone. In a matter of days, Kanye sent the world of hip hop into a frenzy. As he once put it, “no one man should have all that power.” But when you come out with some of the greatest rap albums of all time, people start to listen to you.
When you really look at it though, Kanye is the only celebrity who can get away with this. He’s the perfect living meme. People can read these tweets and just think, ‘oh that’s just Kanye for you’. Nothing is outside the realm of possibility with this guy. And that’s what makes it hilarious.
Godspeed, my friend.
Side note: Literally as I wrote this, Kanye made a very special announcement.