I miss the old Kanye.
This week Kanye West was shown visiting President-elect Donald Trump at his offices in New York City. The meeting is just the latest in a bizarre turn of events filled with attention-seeking behavior in which the rap star has found himself at the center of over the last few years. While publicity has never been something he’s shied away from and in fact often clamoured for, his antics this year have become divisive and contradictory.
For me - a twenty-something year old - it’s both sobering and sad to watch the downward spiral that has been Kanye West’s career. Once a man of the people, it’s as though he’s become distorted with reality and the people that made him. From telling millions of people on T.V. that George Bush didn’t care about black people after Hurricane Katrina to now taking photogs with a President-elect whose political campaign spewed racist ideals and practices. It’s simple, he’s no longer the person we championed for so many years.
The things that made him so great and praiseworthy have turned out to be his greatest failures. Visionary streams of consciousness at shows, once noted for inspiring the hearts of the everyday dreamer have turned into mini Trump support rallies and rants. Further, they’ve also turned into public barrages towards his greatest inspirations, JAY Z, Beyonce, Q-Tip over things that should be kept behind closed doors. At that same show where he dissed such luminaries, he ended the show early and walked off stage a mere 30 minutes in. After cancelling the rest of his shows, he hid behind a press release that stated the cancellations were due to high exhaustion and a rehab hospitalization…… only to be at Trump’s offices a few weeks later.
When it all falls down.
Since the meeting, many of his own GOOD Music comrades have expressed their issues with West’s behavior. When asked his thoughts, singer John Legend responded I think Kanye was a publicity stunt. I’m pretty disappointed with Kanye that he says he would have voted for Trump.” In addition, just last week, J. Cole called out Ye during his 4 Your Eyez Only documentary on a song called “False Prophets”, in which he raps,
“The women, the dickriders, you know, the yes men
Nobody with the balls to say somethin' to contest him
So he grows out of control
Into the person that he truly was all along, it's startin' to show”
Cole raps for the many who feel as though they simply can’t rock with Ye anymore. Cole speaks for the older generation that believe West has become too Hollywood and no longer the guy from the Chi that they fell in love with in ‘04. His fans today are millennials submerged in the age of social media and reselling culture, a machine Ye thrives and fuels. This is where his actions become dangerous.
No one man should have all that power.
The same day the battle in Aleppo, Syria was reportedly over, leaving thousands of civilians killed by police force, the headline instead is Ye’s meeting with Trump. For the kids that wait hours in line for his sneakers, spend an inordinate amount of money on concert tickets and merch, what does this really say? Ye has a reach in which these same kids blindly will follow his lead without realizing they’re just pawns in his plan. After his meeting, Ye tweeted:
I wanted to meet with Trump today to discuss multicultural issues. These issues included bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums, and violence in Chicago.
If Ye really cared about multicultural issues, then why would he charge $300 for sneakers? If Ye really cared about violence in Chicago, these same high priced shoes wouldn’t cause someone to lose their life. When was the last time Ye visited a school in Chicago and or helped support an education program? It’s questions like these that tell me Kanye isn’t interested in change but rather his own self obsession. Kanye is so consumed with personal and external affirmation that he’ll go to any lengths to accomplish this, proving the contradiction in his actions.
Perhaps that need for acceptance has ties to the absence of his mother, Donda West, who passed away in 2007. When the rant in Sacramento happened, many looked to his mother’s death anniversary as an excuse for his behavior. Since her death, he’s often blamed himself for what happened, stating in a 2015 interview, "If I had never moved to L.A. she'd be alive," What would Donda, who protested in the 60’s and fought for desegregation, say about his “meeting” with Trump? Even further, Ye, whose been notorious for his fights with paparazzi, married a media and reality TV star Kim Kardashian. Since their union, it’s as though their fight for celebrity have reached new levels.
What will West apologists say now?