How to Talk About Kanye West
A primer for responsible and friendly skeptics.
Everybody loves Raymond, but everybody does not love Kanye West.
And, unfortunately for the h8r bois, the only thing more boring than people talking about how much they love Kanye West is people telling you all the reasons why you’re wrong for liking him.
This can make it difficult for non-fans to communicate with his sometimes-rabid fanbase.
That’s why I’ve compiled a couple careful points to help you navigate this tricky landscape — no fandom required! Without this handy guide, I guess you could say you may become Lost In The World. Here’s what you should — and should not — say when bar talk inevitably turns to Ye.
Avoid talking about Kanye West’s personal debts. They are irrelevant to the topic at hand — the music! — and are widely attributed to his work in fashion, which you’re not automatically an expert in just because you like his music.
Avoid scoffing at Kanye West’s persona or personality. You need to separate art from artist. If you absolutely must say something, just say “I like his tweets.”
Avoid talking about Kim, unless you want to say “When West mentions family on TLOP, it’s his most heartfelt lyricism.”
Avoid comparing Kanye West to Kendrick Lamar. They’re wildly different artists. It’d be like comparing a Geodude to an Agumon.
Okay, easy right? Now let’s move on to what you CAN say… without alerting his fans that you’re faking it:
“Chance the Rapper’s verse on Ultralight is the album highlight.”
Be prepared for a little bit of thrash here. It’s not a hard claim to endorse, but remember that your friends are Kanye West fans first and foremost. The idea that Chance is the album MVP may come off as antagonistic.
“I believe the track list would benefit from a careful reordering.”
You’ll want to be ready for the inevitable follow-up questions. Say that you’d like to “Put the dark stuff up front” (Freestyle, Wolves, FML) and then — as an accurate reflection of the life of the great messenger Paul — end with reverent, uplifting, and beatific. “Fade, Ultralight — then, conclude with Waves.” This is basically an unimpeachable opinion. Everyone will agree with you, they will build statues in your honor, and you will become great friends with Yeezy.
“The messy release totally worked.”
You don’t need to know anything else, just say this once at some point in the conversation.
“I believe Flubber is Robin Williams’ best work.”
It is widely known that West is an unwavering fan of Les Mayfield’s 1997 comedy “Flubber.” If the opportunity presents itself, you can ingratiate yourself by making references to the film. For instance, if someone is talking about Graduation (an album rife with references to the slapstick motion picture), it may behoove you to say something along the lines of “I still cry when the intruders destroy the robot.” If they’re super fans, they’ll understand. If they’re mere dabblers in the Axis of Ye-vil, this could be an opportunity for YOU to educate THEM.
“Though The Life of Pablo is a provocative title, I wish it had remained SWISH.”
SWISH was the best album title ever.
Thanks, that’s it for now! If you have other ideas to add to the list, reach out to me on Twitter!