Lets go ahead and get this out there, Kanye West isn’t looking for your friendship. There is a reason there aren’t countless memes of him crying, being publicly sensitive, or a tumblr account dedicated to his emotions.
However, Kanye, as a highly publicized figure, has made a name for himself. In his case, as the loudmouth rapper who says exactly how he feels. In result, he has gotten a lot of press about it. When is Kanye ever portrayed well in the news? We like to categorize him as a problem, a rebel in our society. Of course, it has not all come upon him innocently. Lately, it seems as though with every time he opens his mouth he is putting his foot in his mouth. Just look up the whole deal with Amber Rose or the infamous speech with Taylor Swift.
But, lets get to the point. Regardless of whether this news is positive or negative, sometimes when he does open his mouth, we all want to thank him. He has a larger platform for saying things we aren’t able to. He isn’t worried about hurting anyone’s feelings but, instead, just pointing out the truth.
And he still has his fans anxiously awaiting his next album. For the sake of this blog, I want to take things back to my personal favorite and his debut album, The College Dropout. The entire album is so innovative and re-vives such soulful samples, getting back to his southern heritage. It tells a story about the struggles that he personally went through, from the expectations he was faced with whether to go to college, being a positive influence for the kids in his neighborhood in Chicago, the racism faced in the job industry, and the everyday life of black kids growing up in a white dominated world. The samples he uses just propetuates his point. In We Don’t Care, Jimmy Castor’s incredibly jazzy tune, I Just Wanna Stop is used, mixed in with a children’s choir singing about “drug dealing, just to get by” and is just hits so close to the reality of those kids growing up in the ghetto, especially when they sing about how they were not supposed to live past twenty five. How can anyone look over that?
In Through the Wire, Kanye is actually singing with his jaw wired shut, not many artists would do that in the first place, put their vulnerability out there for all to hear and see. Especially on his debut album. Then, we get into his sample from the ever talented and soulful Chaka Khan in Through the Fire. It really brings back those southern inpirations through the thick bluesy sound. I remember the first time I heard this song and was so taken back when I heard the comment about how he resembles Emmitt Till. It was tough for even me to hear.
Jesus Walks, maybe one of his most memorable and impressive songs from the album, re-itroduces the sample Walk with Me by The Arc Choir and Curtis Mayfields’ If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going to Go, and creates a masterpiece along with a video that signifies the reality of black men being looked down on in the white dominated world and how many are in prison. This especially brings up many emotions with everything that is happening in today’s society with all of the police brutality and white and black crime.
Personally, I feel that in Kanye’s newest albums, even though he is growing and crossing every music boundary, are the strongest when he uses southern-inspired samples. It makes his music more understandable and personable when he isn’t sampling from Daft Punk in Stronger or Bon Iver in Lost in the Woods, who are two artists that are mostly listened to predominantly by white people. Both are from very solid albums but lack what I respect most about Kanye, truth, honesty, and a paid homage to his roots.
Even through his drunken speeches and seemingly confusing and extremely passionate rants, I will continue to have respect for him. Even while reading through the tumblr page dedicated to the strange things he has said.
We all make mistakes, say things we probably shouldn’t but, he is trying to make a change in today’s society and to make people think. Challenging colorblindness and being proud of his black heritage and culture is not grounds for calling him racist. Lets actually give him some credit, he deserves it.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS Three hours into the 2015 Grammy Awards, Prince walked onstage to present one of…grantland.com