Now I don’t want to assume that Kanye West is a satirical genius laughing in our faces while we whine like babies at his actions, but looking closely at some of his lyrics I am going to assume that Kanye West is a satirical genius laughing in our faces for a moment. On the internet you see so many conspiracy theories, people getting irate over the silliest of things, including West’s actions, but, what if he did all of this on purpose to annoy you?
Yes, you! Oh, also, can I just state that in no way is this blog trying to defend the actions of Mr. Kanye West.
Kanye West’s album, Yeezus, is I think his most experimental and most interesting. Made during the height of his egotistical activities, it is not a brilliant album. Or a good album. But it is not as terrible as to say it was “musical and commercial suicide”(1), which is what some critics said (sub note: most of this blog will be using quotes and information from Wikipedia to signify its lack of credibility having been written by an armchair music fan).
Yeezus does not have any radio friendly hits, except for Black Skinhead, which is a bouncy tune, most notably used in the Wolf Of Wall Street film trailer – a film which some might say is a too subtly satirical film about greed. There are also a number of crass, aggressive lyrics in the album which would turn a lot of people, who are more accustomed to such hits as Gold Digger and Touch The Sky into what society likes to call “haters”. Lyrics include “F*** whatever y’all been hearing, F*** what, f*** whatever y’all been wearing”(2) and “Soon as I pull up and park the Benz, We get this b**** shaking like Parkinsons”(2). Just two examples chosen there, featured in the 1st verse of the 1st song, from which we can infer that this album is rude throughout.
Skip to track number 3 of Yeezus and you will find the song I Am A God, which on first look suggests that West has truly lost it, especially when paired with an interview to promote the release of the album with Zane Probably-Speaks-In-Third-Person Lowe for the BBC, where he declares that he is the biggest rock star on the planet (more on this later). But, what does the statement, “I am a God” really mean coming from Kanye West? Before you get furious at his assumption ask yourself, is the joke on you? The way we idolise our celebrities today, it is no surprise that they might start referring to themselves as gods. Was West merely referencing Nietzsche’s theory that God is dead(3)? Nietzsche warns us that the Christian God is dead in his book, The Gay Science (1887) (4) so is Kanye West simply letting his own ego inflate further or is he demonstrating how society idolises talented (for the most part) humans in this New Atheism (5) world, suggesting people choose their deities not through religion but through popularity in the media. Could it be suggested that West warns us of this in the song, ‘my whole life in the hand of God, so ya’ll better quit playin’ with God’.
Now, when Kanye West described himself as the biggest rock star on the planet he caused much outrage in the rock community and ushered in the creation of many memes such as the one above. Please, do not get me wrong, I love rock, please read my blog on Download festival 2015 (my 5th time at the festival) and may I highlight the fact that my favourite album of all time is the raw, edgy Appetite For Destruction album by Guns N Roses which featured lyrics such as, “Your daddy works in porno, Now that mommy’s not around, She used to love her heroin, But now she’s underground”(6). Now, if you listen to Guns N Roses’ last album, or Slash’s last album, it’s hardly going to make the vicar weep, is it? Tenacious D themselves even sung “rock is dead”(7).
Kanye West on the other hand is rapping about his money and his cars and his women and his penis; controversial subject-matter that would make parents want to take their children’s records – or erm, Spotify accounts and delete them like how rock did in the 60’s through the early 00’s. In 1998, for the first time ever, rap became the most sold genre of music in the US, and today, with artists such as Eminem and Macklemore getting a lot more attention in the mass media than Guns N Roses or even someone as counter-cultured as Slipknot, it is easy to suggest why rap is very much alive. Rock may not be dead yet but rap stars are enjoying the most money and gaining the most attention.
So, you’ve read this far. I thank you. I could be right, I could be wrong. West could be a cultural satirist genius or a man obsessed with himself. My jury is still out. I am not here to sway you or turn you into a fan of Kanye West, after all he did do that god awful version of Bohemian Rhapsody at Glastonbury Festival 2015. No god would make his children suffer like that. So maybe he is a false prophet. Screw it, crucify the bastard!
p.s. please take none of what you have read in this blog post seriously. Embrace the silliness!
1. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeezus#Public_reaction (accessed 25/6/15)
2. On Sight – Kanye West from the album Yeezus (2013)
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_is_dead (accessed 02/7/15)
4. The Gay Science, Fredrich Nietzsche. Published 1887
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Atheism (accessed 01/07/15)
6. My Michelle – Guns N Roses from the album Appetite For Destruction (1987)
7. Rock Is Dead – Tenacious D from the album Rize of the Fenix (2012)