Kanye West is a dope motherf**ker. He epitomizes what Hip Hop used to be, was birthed to be. Brash, arrogant, unapologetic and non-conforming to the status quo. Hip Hop did whatever it wanted to do. It was never supposed to assimilate into mainstream culture. It was supposed to rival it, point out the indifference, and be antagonizing to the snobs who looked over their bifocals, down on people like me. Hip Hop used to be dope like Kanye West is.
In just the past two weeks, I’d like to point out to you several things that I observed Kanye West do that excited me and reminded me of what Hip Hop used to be and confirmed the dopeness of Ye. The first thing was done at the Grammy’s. Now let’s be honest, initially rap artists weren’t invited to the Grammys for one specific reason. They didn’t think that we would know how to act. Well shit, it’s Hip Hop, how would they expect us to act? In the paragraph above I just told you that we were once anti-establishment and extremely unpredictable to the predictable. So maybe they feared that we’d ruin their little awards show by doing something disrespectful like interrupting someone’s Grammy acceptance speech and pointing out that someone else was more deserving of the award. Now I’d have to say that would be some Hip Hop shit. But who has the balls to do that? Yeezy did it!
Saturday Night Live performances are relished in the ethos of Hollywood. Careers are spurned and cemented in the house Lorne Michaels built. But in all honesty, ever since Eddie Murphy left the show, I’ve had no interest in watching. By the way, if the rumor is accurate that Eddie Murphy refused to kick a man while he was down, “kudos.” Anyhow, no interest in watching until I heard that Kanye West would be performing.
So I tuned in expecting nothing more than another Hip-Hop moment, and I got just that. I ask, did he open his set performing damn near a whole song in its entirety while laying down on his back? Was that a blatant “I do what I want and you’re still going to love it” type of shit move? Disregarding possible difficulties of camera angles and any other technical obstacles or just simply how it may be perceived by others. If told in advance that someone was going to perform like that on national television, if I didn’t know any better, I would’ve said to myself (not for anyone else to hear of course) “that ni**a is crazy.” Which is basically the same sentiments often expressed by other’s when they misconstrue uncalculated moves with strategic impromptu IDGAFWYT decisions. Ultimately the difference between what some would call “ni**a s**t” and Hip Hop. But once again, who has the balls to do that? Yeezy did it!
During the 2015 NBA All-Star weekend Hot 97 Tip-Off Show with Puff Daddy, I saw a video of Kanye performing “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” We already know the title alone and the song is definitely Hip Hop, completely personifying the attitude of the culture, but that wasn’t the most Hip Hop shit he did that I’m referencing. Naw, how about in the middle of his performance he had the gall and audacity to direct the cameraman to move the camera more, to give it “more action, more action, more hip hop s**t.” And told him, “Fuck all that weak s**t” in the middle of his show when he was rapping “you can’t tell me nothing.” I don’t need to tell you that it doesn’t get more Hip Hop than that, literally. In the hood, that would commonly be referred to as some “gangster s**t” which used to be interchangeable with Hip Hop. Nevertheless, who has the balls to do something like that? Yeezy did it!
If you listen to him he’ll tell you that he’s Hip Hop in many different measures. Like today, during his interview on The Breakfast Club with DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God, when he simply talked about naming his daughter North and calling her “Nori” as being Hip Hop. A clear reference to Capone-N-Noreaga. And now thanks to Charlamagne we also found out that Noreaga can’t just be satisfied with influencing Kanye’ daughter’s nickname, he’s also inquiring whether or not he was the influence of his song Only One. All jokes, I assume. But still, “Nori,” for a little girl named North is slick. Do I have to tell you that’s some Hip Hop sh*t? Who cares what you think, remember? That’s what Hip-Hop used to be.
Now for those of you that don’t know me, which account for a great portion of you, this was written somewhat “tongue and cheek.” However, all I was alluding to is that Kanye West reminds me of the culture I fell in love with as a child. The thing that rebelled against what others said was normal. Redefining what normal is, while encouraging others to do the same. Being yourself and being true to who you are even in the midst of doubters, naysayers and other entities too scared to stray from their comfort zones to possibly experience something greater. Or hell, maybe fail at something less, but still learn something and even more importantly, remove fear. Remove fear. Remove fear.