OP-ED: KANYE WEST - The Mystic


Posted on

The Life of Pablo has dropped. Kanye critics are steadying their aim, and even many fans are skeptical; this has become something of a tradition when any new Kanye drops. I have yet to hear the full album, but I am eager to sink into it, and not just because of Chance the Rapper’s verse (by all accounts, it’s incredible). I'm excited because Kanye West, perhaps more than any other mainstream artist of our time, offers in every project an unprecedented level of freshness, ingenuity, and genuineness. Kanye, whatever else you want to say about him, has always been an innovator. When people like me (that is, relatively new appreciators of rap with a long list of history lessons ahead of them) talk about “old school” hip hop, we most likely mean something like the gospel infused, soulful, melodic beats Kanye crafted in his Dropout –   Graduation era. Since then, Kanye has continued to define, if not the genre, certainly himself. Source: music.mxdwn.com What I mean by that is, at least judging from the often startling freshness of his music, Kanye West makes art to fulfill his personal creativity and imagination. That is why 808s, with its oddly organic, emotional use of electronic noise, veers so far from his Teddy Bear trilogy, why MBDTW is a labyrinth of rich and mystifying imagery, why the aggressive, industrial drones of Yeezus refused to be met with a lukewarm reception. Kanye West, it seems, is not necessarily concerned with forwarding the frontier of a genre, changing the face of rap, as it were. He is, I believe, most concerned, artistically, with pushing the boundaries of his own creativity. I imagine some might argue that if Kanye’s ambition were so lofty and idealistic, his lyrics ought to reflect such with more high-minded profundity instead of the boast raps, dis tracks, and fat asses that typify a lot of his work. However, to me, that is among the most captivating aspects about Kanye’s music; he straddles the boundary (an imaginary one, I believe) between the infinite creative spirit of imagination on one side, and real-world, embodied experience on the other. Kanye, while following his own aesthetic compass and seeking personal excellence in his craft, remains a person with a body. Source: Twitter.com
[Kanye] straddles the boundary (an imaginary one, I believe) between the infinite creative spirit of imagination on one side, and real-world, embodied experience on the other.
As such, he never pretends that he doesn’t stunt in nice cars, that he isn’t attracted to big butts, that he doesn’t at least occasionally feel like the best that’s ever done it. I will not speak for Kanye West the man, but Kanye West the artist seems an object lesson in a philosophy of greatness and infinitude of spirit and its paradoxical and intimate relation to our often silly and very finite existence as bodies. I am certainly not saying that a critique of Kanye’s (or anyone else’s) lyrics is unwarranted. I too struggle with the apparent thematic misogyny of much of rap music, Ye included. The dialogue, even the conflict, that we engage in over the language an artist chooses is of unparalleled value. But so, too, as Kanye shows us, is childlike creativity, purity, and honesty.
Credits Words by Micah Bhachech Image sources: Nick Knight, music.mxdwn.com & Twitter.com


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing