It's a rare thing when a modern day artist who is consequentially a 'celebrity' actually inspires. I have to be honest, before today I was definitely leaning towards the anti-Kanye camp. His tweets of late, his recent appearance on Jools Holland ending with him finishing a pretty average song with his arms outstretched in his best Jesus Christ pose and then this latest spat with TV host Jimmy Kimmel in response to a pretty funny and harmless skit where two kids re-enacted a recent interview Kanye did with Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe, sending up his 'inventing the leather jogging pants' and Fendi turning him down, which he swears became a massive fashion trend. I'm not expert enough to deny or confirm whether it was, but can't say I've ever seen anyone rocking leather tracky bottoms. They do sound fun though.
So Yeezy has been given a raw deal of late in the press, but in saying that it has all been brought upon on himself, surely? He seems to want to be the guy you love to hate. It's ego at a level we're just no good at tolerating. Basically it defies belief and riles people. But, in saying that it's hard not to be drawn in by it. And he is essentially a music and entertainment journalist's wet dream. Ok Miley Cyrus likes twerking and being rude to Sinead O'Connor who only wanted to help save what she thought is a lost soul, to be fair that was a great story, but someone from 1D might be leaving, Britney's made a new sexy video and says 'Bitch' a lot, big deal. But with Kanye, you know you're going to have something juicy to write about. He's so easy to parody, but to his credit, there is a lot more behind it than that. Afterall, he is still a black man who just wants to battle on an even playing field. And this is where my hat goes off and I'm reminded of Martin Luther King Jr and other inspirational figures who hand on hearts are the ones strong-willed enough to bring about change and hopefully more equality in the world.
I'd have no problem putting him down like those in the press until I read he was going to appear on the Jimmy Kimmel show. I just knew this would make for great TV. How could it not. Jimmy was all about how he was in his 'first ever rap feud'. But seriously, can you imagine if 2Pac and Biggie were able to settle their differences live on a talk show, if only...
I was half expecting to completely confirm my belief that although I rate a lot of Kanye's music and always have ever since he came out with the now classic single 'All Falls Down' in 2004, this could really be the nail in his professional coffin. A man who really has just lost the plot entering into one final moment of car crash TV.
OK not all of his music is great, and it irks me how he bangs on so much about having so much money etc, but I guess if that's his life and as a rapper he wants to write lyrics about his own experiences and that is what they are, then so be it. I just wish it didn't make kids want to sell drugs so they can also have the things he has and it didn't make rich kids and middle class kids act like twats in clubs ordering Cristal pretending they're rap stars, but hey can you do. It is what it is. You can't necessarily put the blame at Kanye's feet. He can't just rap about socially conscious stuff, which at least he does do some of the time.
Anyway back to the big TV showdown. Not only did Kanye start off a bit shaky and nervous, he then kind of came into his own, but then went and ruined it all for a moment with another jaw dropping statement of arrogance, 'I'm a creative genius'. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? This is surely a man gone mad. Why, oh why, just as you're beginning to exonerate yourself from being known as the biggest twat on the planet do you go and say something like that?
However, the interview went on, and on and into one of the best monologues I have ever seen. So good in fact, I've just read they could not cut this orator extraordinaire and squeeze on music as scheduled for the night by Arctic Monkeys. NO, let Kanye speak.
This man went on and on, to the point of no return, but in such a way, that you could not help but feel, though skewed in many ways his inherent belief in himself and what he dreams of being able to achieve, especially now he's scratched at the surface of serious money, fame and power to the underlying problems he faces when knocking at the door of the real keyholders, the 1% who run the world type stuff. He named it classism, talked of old money Vs new money all that wonderful Great Gatsby stuff that has disrupted the American dream since New York high society began at the dawn of the twentieth century. He goes on to talk about so much other stuff, but the nuts and bolts of it that really struck me were his blatant defiance to not be pressured into being someone, like most of us are through marketing, advertising, media influence, other people, peers, parents, friends, clients etc to end up with low self esteem, to accept that we can't make a difference and leave a mark on the world. He likens himself to Michaelangelo, to Jesus, to Da Vinci, again the jaw drops, but he goes on to explain I'm like them because I see something I want to do and I don't stop until it gets done. They are my influences therefore I am like them. I'm paraphrasing, but this is great. Now this should be mandatory viewing for everyone. This level of fearlessness is rare. He's definitely flawed and he knows it, but he doesn't apologise for it and perhaps he's right he shouldn't have to, so long as he's not hurting anyone. He says he's hit a frustrating glass ceiling which is preventing him from becoming a pioneer in education and fashion mass production, he wants to be the new Ralph Lauren. I'm sure if anyone can, on this evidence, Kanye can, although he does play a dangerous game, but all of a sudden I'm rooting for him, and perhaps you should to. In the end, it reminded me of Martin Luther King, who is one of my all time heroes, and I have to say I never expected Kanye West of all people to do that.