It’s quite lazy of me to block out this whole article. However, I read it as a whole, not as bits & pieces, and I think that’s a key to understanding his points.
Rapper Kanye West is turning his back on the genre that made him famous – because hip-hop is becoming too much of a “cliche” for the star…West claims his new music has created a new genre, labeling it “pop art”, and is adamant that he will not go back to his previous style because he wants to cement his place in musical history.
He says, “This is not hip-hop music. Taking a sample, looping it and doing all that ‘throw your hands up in the sky’ thing has become such a cliche. Hip-hop is over for me. I sing, not rap, on this album. I now want to be grouped among those musicians you see in those old black-and-white photos – the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles. And I’m not going to get there by doing just another rap album full of samples.
“I’ve had to create a whole new musical genre to describe what I’m doing now and I’m calling it ‘pop-art’ – which is not to be confused with the visual art movement.”
You know, he just might have a case here.
If you’re over the age of 15, Hip-Hop is completely predictable, isn’t it? For a kid, there’s a level of rebelliousness & unexpectedness there that still keeps Hip-Hop new to them. But once you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard all Hip-Hop has to offer in terms of lyrics & focus of it’s content. You know at the end of the day, regardless of how many capers the rapper raps, he’s going home to a quaint, modestly furnished apartment that advance checks have afforded him. That “firsthand account”…well, we’re finding it harder to accept in good faith. At the end of the day, we want some semblance of art when we put that CD into the player. Very few are taking chances with their music…but are there even chances left to take?
— The Beatnuts already compelled us to “fuck, drink beer & smoke some shit” throughout our youth. Even if they weren’t your bag, The Beasties & our old Uncle Luke asked us to do basically the same things years previous.
— Paris already called white folks devils.
— Dr. Dre smacked up Dee Barnes. Mike Jones got 1-2’ed by Trae. Alfamega trampled a whole crew…then got back on stage.
— Souljah Slim & L got shot on the very streets they rhymed about…and probably by “fans” who owned more than one of their tapes.
So yeah, the music needs to move forward in some way, find room to encompass new themes & sounds. Perhaps it was Big Brother who broke the mold for Kanye to make this transition by publicly professing his love for Coldplay. Kanye called artists “suckers” for listening “to Radiohead all day but go and make just another rap album. I say: don’t let society box you in.”
Part of Kanye’s failure is that, with the prevalence of so many different mediums of media, he’s trying to explain it all too much. If you want to create new music & “to be remembered like ‘those artists in black and white photos’, the McCartneys and Jaggers of this world,” do it. I’ve always been in awe of genius, not because they took the time to explain the intricacies to me. MJ (neither one) never put out an instructional video. Magicians don’t reveal their tricks. Prince rarely speaks on the creation of his projects. Miles did it mainly in hindsight. Instead, they threw out the completed whole & said, “there you go, figure it out.”
As a result of his constant exposure, every scribe & blogger is trying to interpret the latest album no sooner than Kanye offers up the next soundbite. ‘Ye’s opened the door for the audience, arranged folding chairs & allowed them to sit right behind him while he paints, asking questions with each brush stroke. “Why did you use those chords? What’s with the echoing animal sounds?”
At the end of the day, ‘Ye will win awards & numerous accolades for this album. Even if critics & award groups hate it, they’re too afraid to admit it. But I’ll say it.
For every advance Kanye made, every chance he took with 808’s…, it’s subpar.
Whatever “genre” it falls under (because, no, Kanye you can’t just throw it in as “pop art,” that’s taken already), it doesn’t live up to all the fuss. “Love Lockdown” has wormed it’s way into the side of me that’s ready to accept it as good. I absolutely love “Heartless” in all of it’s splendor. But for every “Heartless,” there’s a trite “Robocop” that fucks up the schism for me. At it’s best attempt to break the mold, the album itself is still flawed & would rank low in…whatever that genre is he’s trying to delve into.
You are not in the catering business, Mr. West. Stop checking in with us to see how we like the entrée you’ve prepared. Close the door, work in peace with your trusted circle as the only advisers you allow to take a peek periodically. Work your magic & then present it to us. Don’t be so pretentious as to think we don’t understand. We do. There’s nothing wrong with “Street Lights.” It simply sucks ass when I’m on I-24 during rush hour & it sounds like the surrounding traffic is trapped inside the car with me. It’s not my bag.
You’ve already won our favor & belief so you don’t have to sell us on it.