The Case Against The Case Against Kanye West

steve-bramucci
Managing Editor, Life
02.10.17 40 Comments

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The case against the case against? Let’s slow this roll a little. Do we really need another article defending Kanye West? Because no matter how well it’s written, he’s going to be fine. He’ll wake up tomorrow in sheets with a higher thread count than most of our bank balances, successful, wealthy, famous, and married to a beautiful woman who seems to genuinely like his weird ass. He doesn’t need anyone to take up arms on his behalf. He’s covered.

But like Yeezy himself, I’ll go ahead and ignore all logical advice and just push ahead. Not because the rap star desires (or even deserves) an advocate, but because I think the absolute disdain he catches online says a lot about us. It speaks to where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

More importantly, I think that Kanye is — for real — one of our greatest living artists. A creative genius, just like he always says. And that his artist output is far more important than our vitriol. As we head into The Grammys this weekend, an award show he’s infamously demanded recognize his brilliance, it’s time to take a look at why he’s maybe been right about that all along. So, Imma let you finish, but first here’s the case against the case against the Louis Vuitton Don:

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Complaint #1:

He’s a douche.

Evidenced By: His general public persona, but particularly grabbing the mic from Taylor Swift at the MTV Music Video Awards.

Rebuttal: The Taylor Swift thing is douchey. Boorish, obnoxious, etc. But it wasn’t a crime. It was a thing a drunk dude did at a party. We’ve all done dumb things while drunk at parties. Kanye’s made him look both aloof and mean, but here’s the upside: He made the MTV Video Awards interesting for the first time since Nirvana.

Now compare that total dick move to the behavior of other rappers — like Tupac Shakur who gets full “unimpeachable icon”-status but was convicted of first degree sexual abuse, or Marky Mark who committed multiple racially motivated assaults, or Jay Z who brags about being a drug dealer in 90% of his songs, or… is this sleight of hand?

Absolutely. But come-the-fuck-on, the Kanye and Taylor thing is dumb and if you’re still talking about it, stop. Are we less forgiving of drunken boors than criminals? Is there any chance that it’s at least partially because we, as a culture, have no idea how to talk about sex crimes, misogyny, and race, but we absolutely know how to talk about celebrity drama? Are we holding a grudge about this petty stuff because everyone is in agreement, whereas an article suggesting that “maybe we shouldn’t lionize Tupac” would force people to really think? Why are Hunter S. Thompson’s eccentricities embraced while Kanye’s wacked out behavior has a seven year shelf life?

Also crucial to note: From the ashes of that dumbass moment came the song “Runaway,” the poetic music video for “Runaway,” and the truly stunning performance of “Runaway” at the next MTV music awards. So, there.

Can you do this? Can you? If you could, you might be able to get away with being mean to Taylor Swift.