This started it all for me. A person, who I discovered at 14 years old, the college dropout. Although I was not in college at the time.
I remember hearing through the wire, like what is this, it sparked something. It sparked something within. I remember hearing the beat selection and how it varied so much from 50 cent and eminem at the time. And, I found myself lost in the albums.
Hooked from an early age, he slowly became my biggest influence. I was at college, I went to the printers with all my files to print and came to collect them from the printers. Walked back, ready to hand in, and that moment. That moment, I will never forget. It was a moment that made me implode from the inside with hope that things would get exciting. And they did.
I realised my potential at 17 and have not taken my eye off it since, and Its slowly being chipped away at.
Last call, twelve minutes, got me feeling pretty hyped when I was working on my own things, and I loved the concept of a talking track, which has since been retaken over and over and over which only gives credit to Kanye. He talked of his journey and he made others feel as though they could also do this and well. It was exciting to hear. Raw and passionate and the spice of arrogance that has taken Kanye to where he needs to go.
Upon reflection, I see his musical influence, as one, but his personality too, as a huge inspiration. We can look at that in several ways, and his personality can be read in several ways. If you don't get him you don't like him because you would assume he is an asshole. But, if you listen to his music, and see him interviews, look past the facade created by fame, we are looking at an unbelievably impressive person. It is ideas.
He has been thrown into the spot light and tussled right and left like a lion, and his reactions were to react. Then the ideas started coming and it was just power. It was really exciting to see such a person rise from the ranks of music, but on a more art level, instead of just sound.
He actually had something to say.
Not everyone can say that these days.
I was in a tough spot emotionally and discovered a sadness that I always knew was there, but just didn't understand it. I would play The Life of Pablo, because it had a powerful feeling that managed to irradiate anything bad creeping into my mind. The narrative swept you up and you had no choice but to follow. It was carried with conviction, pure power.
The album may have come under scrutinty due to the subjects he talks about, but like most of his albums, he is dealing with his life at the current moment. If he is surrounded by famous people and money, then he would then talk about that because he wouldn't need to talk about anything else.
I had a talk with someone about the album and he said that the new album didn't take the fans into account. It was no longer catchy, were his words. I went on to say, his progression as an artist is for himself, not to sell album, he is kanye west, it will always sell. His progression is our progression too, and he shouts, swears and bellows for change. When he discusses famous people, people don't understand his music, because it is irony and he plays off this all the time. He is a misrepresented person, I believe and this is down to that fact that people see him as an asshole, but in fact, he is just honest. Famous people are not always real, because they do not live in a real world. Kanye discusses this but has removed the filter from his twitter page and lets anything go, and that is something we should all try to do. There is so much going on in our heads, lets let them out somewhere.
Regarding the twitter breakdown he had after the album was released, someone I knew said they would do a new project where they would insult him over twitter to see if they would get a response. I didn't get it, but I politely played interested to save face. But it is this anger and hatred towards the man that leaves people not willing to understand his music and feel his beat production and feeling that is powering through. It is after all, doused in arrogance and it is abrasive, he says things that he shouldn't say, but much like Tyler the Creator with his worrying lyrics, you cannot take them seriously. You have to look at them as a metaphor for the situations across the world. To the person who says he doesn't make music for fans, there are bigger and more important things out there than pleasing fans to make money, that is not progress, that is not anything. Music has the power to change and create something through the widespread reach that the words get. Through the medium of being an artist, he can project his thoughts to the world to try and highlight the things that are wrong in society, at the same time maintaining his lifestyle that he has earned through hard work.
We can look at his music and say, I like it, but he's so arrogant. Or, we can take it as both are the same. And, his personality is the music and the music is his personality, but the lines get blurred to create a fictional world. The claims to Pablo, Picasso, the hail of being a lyrical genius, they are all ideas around his confidence to succeed. It's like a kid saying, look at me, I am David Bowie. It is aspiration, because we live in a generation today, where we are told to look up to people, but never succeed ourselves. Famous people are there for our entertainment, watch them on the tv, listen to them, but you will never be them. Forget that.
His music is a message to say, you don't need to look up to me, because I don't care about you, because why would he. Why would we care so much about him? Why would we have debates about how it is immoral to like him when he interrupted Taylor Swift.
How is that even a conversation?
The fictional character that shimmers between his music and personal life create a balance where we are shaken and given something but we are sometimes too stubborn to see. You can see him as an asshole, or you can see him as someone who is pissed off at the world, who is angry about the happenings and wants to make a change through his position of power. He is not abusing that power, merely aspiring for change, always.
And so I go back to when I was handing in my college work, you think we can still get that deal with Roccafella? You think I can make it to university, you think I can get to America and go on my own, you think I can qualify as a teacher, you think I can turn my biggest secret into a practice, you think I can run two marathons in seven days, you think I can conqueror depression, you think I can leave my whole life and start a new one somewhere else.
Listening to Kanye from an early age gave me the passion to not care anymore about all the things that go on, to stop you dreaming, and instead turn that into a drive to show you that we are all champions.
So I ask again, you think we can still get that deal with Roccafella?