Should white publications comment on black music?
Not if you ask Kanye West
White-interest publications like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and the New York Times have spent the past 15 years pretending to be in love with every single thing Kanye West ever did that didn’t involve imagining he might have sex with Taylor Swift. (It seems we’ve found their limit!) Now he’s made one simple, easy, perfectly reasonable request of them. Does this mean they’ll stop writing about black music? Unfortunately, I doubt it.
The other day, Kanye must have seen where Pitchfork had the sheer balls to give his new album the Life of Pablum a 9.0. This was after they probably gave all of his other albums well into the 9.0 range if not a full-on 10.0.
Back in the mid ’00s, they went so far as to allow the proprietor of a Kanye West fansite to review Late Registration. After I called them on it, Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber told an interviewer they wouldn’t be running any more reviews written by people who have built an online shrine to the artist.
I was out here promoting ethics in journalism before there was such a thing as Reddit, let alone Kotaku in Action.
On Twitter, in a move right out of This Is Spinal Tap, Kanye told Pitchfork that the Life of Pablum is a 30 out of 10. Then he asked that Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, the New York Times and any other white publication not comment on black music anymore.
So far Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and the New York Times have yet to announce whether or not they’ll continue to comment on black music.
In fact, I can’t even find an article on this on Pitchfork, even though I’m pretty sure I saw one when I took a look during the day on Tuesday, when I was at work. Did they secretly remove that article, the same way they pulled a review of a Sun Kil Moon album after it had already been published and replaced it with a negative one, because he suggested that one of their female writers wanted to have sex with him and told her to get in line?
I checked just now, and I can’t find articles on this Kanye rant on Rolling Stone or the New York Times either, even though it’s on seemingly every third site on the Internets, including sites that don’t usually cover rap music, like Fox News and Hollywood trade publication the Wrap.
Theory: Someone over at Def Jam made a few phone calls to the offended publications. I wonder what they were promised in exchange for pulling their articles, and whatever else they’ve agreed to.
As astute as these remarks were, I doubt Kanye would have made them if he hadn’t been out of his damn mind.
He’s been at least kinda off since as far back as when his mom died, and he’s been under a lot of stress lately with the preparations for the release of the album, plus coping with the fact that he’s clearly entered into a state of artistic decline.
I was watching SNL at my parents’ house the other day, and my mom actually pointed out a line in one of his new songs about how Ray J may have defiled his wife in a widely disseminated pr0n film, but he’s got more money. Kim K Superstar will always be weighing on his brain. North West is old enough to walk now. It’s only a matter of time before she hears that song and wonders what film her dad might be referring to. Saint West will probably be a serial killer. Mark my words.
Rhymefest, who might have more insight into Kanye’s mental state than I do, as his ghostwriter, expressed concern for Kanye the other day on Twitter. Someone asked him how come he didn’t write any of Kanye’s new songs, like that one about how his cousin ransomed his pr0n laptop. (Admittedly, I would cry if this happened to me.) Rhymefest has the time to reply to anyone who mentions him on Twitter, because he doesn’t have very many fans.
Rhymefest replied that Kanye is clearly insane and needs to seek professional help. I don’t know if he’s basing this on the look on Kanye’s face in any picture of him and Caitlyn Jenner, or what.
Theory: Rhymefest was summoned to LA or Hawaii or wherever to write Kanye’s rhymes for the Life of Pablum, but when he arrived at the studio he saw something that made him turn right back around, even though I’m sure he could use the money.
Kanye himself supposedly could use some money. In another recent tweet, he claims to be $53 million in personal debt. I’d suggest that Forbes look into this, but I suspect that anything I could pull out of my ass based on pure speculation would be as accurate as whatever they came up with. Remember, they had 50 Cent at like $200 million right up to the moment he filed for bankruptcy.
It seems odd that someone who’s been as successful as Kanye has been would be broke, but it’s not inconceivable. He’s always claimed to have spent more money on his albums than he’s made (not that anyone on a major label makes money from album royalties), paid for videos out of his own pockets and gone on tours that were unprofitable because of the cost of the set design.
Oddly enough, the amount of money he claims to be in debt is more or less the same amount Kim Kardashian makes in a year. They must keep separate finances, if he’s out here pleading poverty to Mark Zuckerberg, trying to get the Facebook founder to donate $1 billion that might otherwise be wasted on a school in Africa, as if that’s doing something for the country.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this led to a rift in Kanye’s marriage. If I were $50 million in debt, and my wife made $50 million a year for nothing, that might lead me to think about the sex tape she made with Ray J more than I would have otherwise.
Lest we forget, it was only a week or two ago that Kanye had Tyler the Creator photoshop his face onto a fake cover of Rolling Stone, in hopes that the magazine would use it as an actual cover. That’s how far gone he is now.
The fact that his handlers have since intervened on his behalf, having those articles pulled, suggests to me that either (a) Def Jam is going behind Kanye’s back to work against his stated wishes; or (b) Kanye isn’t any more serious about white publications not writing about black music than he is about seeking a loan from Mark Zuckerberg for a billion dollars.
The real test will be if any of these publications see fit to run a high profile feature on him. Would Kanye pose for the cover of Rolling Stone, if he were deemed worthy of such an honor at this point in his career? He’s been all over the news for the past few weeks, and yet the cover of the most recent issue features Chris Martin from Coldplay, who’s even more washed up than Kanye.
I’d suggest that he provide access to a comparable black publication, but I don’t know that there is a comparable black publication. Some hoodrat’s gossip blog doesn’t cut it. I’m talking something on a par with the New York Times, Rolling Stone or even Pitchfork, which is now owned by Condé Nast.
The guy who owns Condé Nast might be a downlow octaroon (Google it), but there’s nothing about his portfolio of magazines that suggests to me that he fuxwit black people. Maybe I can interest him in my blog. Shit, he bought Pitchfork.
Originally published at www.byroncrawford.com on February 17, 2016.