Although Kanye West is a polarizing figure, everyone has to respect what he has done. Like Plato may not have made all the best arguments, but you have to respect that he was an incredible philosopher. And it’s fair to say that Kayne is a legend in a game that was once ruled by the likes of Tupac (who will live forever) and Notorious B.I.G., Master P and No Limit, Bone Thugz-n-Harmony, Wu Tang Clan, Cash Money, Eminem, NWA, Snoop, OutKast, Hypnotized Minds or 3-6 Mafia, Gheto Boys, and many more. Currently, there are folks like Jay-z, Lil’ Wayne, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross and whoever else you want to throw on that list. Then, you can think about groups like the Pharcyde, Little Brother, and Tribe Called Quest; or artists such as Mos Def and Common…and Talib Kweli that he idolized and likened himself to. But those folks only shared a niche fandom. Kanye has a diverse portfolio of music which consists stylistically of all of the above, which has made him appealing to mainstream rap/hip-hop and underground alike.
Fact is: Kanye made “being yourself” a great thing. He single-handedly changed the dress code for a micro-generation. He’s like what Miles Davis was to the late 60’s and 70’s. In 2003, black kids at Harvard and colleges across the country thought it was finally “ok” to wear Polo shirts and more fitting clothing; more like what it was to be a college kid as opposed to posing while wearing do-rags and baggy…everything. College kids fronting hard as fuck–outside of some of the athletes–like they were something they weren’t. Moreover, he expanded fashion or style for the black youth and others as time went on. It was cool to take pride in your appearance again, as black people. I believe high fashion has always been in style, but he has broadened the scope. The downside is that it has created a bigger consumerism problem. He even has had to deconstruct what he did fashion-wise in order to remain ahead of the curve. He has created a hybrid of hood wear and high fashion. So Thank you, Yeezus. And, don’t be mad at him for wanting to call himself a god, unless you are also getting mad at Jay-Z, for calling himself “Hova” and everything other rapper.
Yeezy also created a unique sound in music, that “chipmunk soul” among other things, with his sampling techniques. (Don’t be mad at sampling, b/c most rap tracks were created from sampling beats.) He was the mastermind or “genius” behind the beloved Jay-z’s BluePrint 2. Also, don’t forget that he literally murdered 50 Cent’s rap career with the Graduation album. 50 was that nigga. But, he had his 15 mins and capitalized the hell out of it. And, 50 is probably a better rapper. There are a bunch of better rappers, but not every rapper can send a direct message with the ingenuity Kanye has. Plus, it’s a self fulfilling matter now. “Everything Ye poop on will explode.” But, Kanye’s slaughtering of 50 should have put everyone on notice that Hip-Hop, Rap, or both–if there is really a difference–changed. Rap reverted back to fun times as it was conceived back in the late 70’s. Not solely about killing and or drug dealing.
As mentioned above, Kanye has a diverse portfolio of music. 808’s and Heartbreak still rocks. Because of that Lil’ Wayne was forced to try an alternative music album. (Btw, Yeezus is a really good album, and it doesn’t sound like anything he has done before.)
Moreover, Kanye has paid it forward and paid others back. We all love John Legend and Jamie Foxx as singers. He is part of the reason their singing careers are so good. Jamie Foxx is a beast of his own doing, but musically, Kanye helped him get on. He held Twista down, by trying to help reemerge his career, although it didn’t take off. 2 Chainz also had a really good debut album and is super hot. Kid Cudi has his niche following; and West and Cudi worked well together. Don’t forget about him trying to popularize a hip-hop violinist–Mari Ben Ari. Not all your ideas will pop, but if you keep trying enough things and staying at it, you’ll be ok. Kayne has also paid it back by including Charlie Wilson in his music. Uncle Charlie keeps a paycheck coming from Kanye. He put on for Raeqwon, Ghost Face, and RZA by featuring them on various songs and Ma$e.
Essentially, you can’t be mad at him for being an asshole with the media or childish about wanting awards. People are perfect and behaving with “class” does not have an effect on production of art. Kanye has a strangle hold on the industry and is trying to expand his empire. Good luck and much respect to that brotha. I’ll get off nuts now.