I Miss the Old Kanye

I Miss the Old Kanye


“Everything I’m Not / Made Me Everything I Am”


I would best describe my relationship with Kanye West as estranged. It may seem awkward to quantify a quasi-relationship with a man I’ve never met, but given the impact West had on me during my formative years it feels at least somewhat justified. While it’s true in contemporary culture Kanye West is most often associated with poor political takes, tangential social media rants, and Kardashian-related hijinks, this wasn’t always the case. Despite his own best efforts to perpetuate the contrary, at one point long ago, Kanye Omari West was actually known for making good music; and I don’t just mean his label GOOD Music (Getting Out Our Dreams), I mean actual musical compositions of objective aesthetic quality. With the slow and grueling passage of time steadily deteriorating our collective memories, I find it vital to remind myself of this fact on a semi-regular basis. Public perception of Kanye has never been unanimously positive, but it’s certainly taken a continued nosedive in recent years; this, in conjunction with a very notable sonic deviation from the work that gave West his name, has resulted in many fans, both casual and diehard alike, turning their backs on the Chicago-born production legend.

Admittedly I shared a similar sense of dejection following West’s holy rebrand and boujee lifestyle-focused pivot, but as the years have progressed, and I’ve gained the added perspective of hindsight, I’ve come to terms with the progression of Kanye’s character arc. I think as we look back on the last four or five years, the idea that West has become a victim of his own celebrity seems like a universally accepted interpretation. While applicable to multiple facets of his career, being that I concern myself primarily with music and musical aesthetics, this is where I would like to focus the emphasis of my analysis. To my understanding, it’s an internal conflict with power, pressure, and celebrity that continually influences many of West’s decisions both creative and personal. From the inception of his career, Kanye West found himself in the unique position of having project after project regarded nearly unanimously as seminal works, exacerbating his influence to the point of being omnipresent. As his influence grew, so too did his status as an icon in popular culture, and over time West himself has become so ubiquitous as a personality that even my own grandmother is (moderately) familiar with his antics. It’s this ubiquity that has deterred me from touching upon Kanye in my writing up until this point; for a long time, I felt as if anything I had to say about Kanye West had already been said in a more eloquent fashion by someone more informed or intellectually superior. While this is likely still the case, as I reflect on the profound influence Kanye West’s early records had on my understanding of hip-hop’s historical roots and trajectory, my own aesthetic pallet, and ultimately the way I approach music across genres, I felt an obligation out of respect to contribute uniquely to the conversation in the only way I know how; by relaying my own personal experience with Kanye’s discography as well as what he once meant to me as an artist. It is my hope that in doing so, I can provide an alternate perspective on the calculated madness that is Kanye West.

Before we get too enthralled in the semantics of my narrative, I find it pertinent to inform the reader of a certain cultural context that has become pivotal to the way West’s work is perceived. As is natural with any artist who experiences the type of longevity Kanye has enjoyed, his artistic output evolved over time. This led to many, whether it be justly or unjustly, associating the early moments of Ye’s discography with an insurmountable level of nostalgia. The byproduct of this nostalgia essentially separated West as a personality into two distinct halves; Ye’s current righteous incarnation and the previous iteration, colloquially referred to as the “Old Kanye.” This distinction is predominantly artistic rather than temporal, with many marking the separation between the two somewhere around West’s sixth solo studio album Yeezus. The aforementioned record typically being grouped in with those that preceded it as the work of the “Old Kanye,” with those that came after being attributed to the man the Old Kanye would become.

With a fanbase as large, diverse, and demographic encompassing as West’s it’s only natural that this contradistinction between the “Kanye(s),” as it were, became a point of contention and debate amongst fans. Proponents of the Kanye of old typically hold Mr. West to a higher artistic standard, vastly preferring his earlier more calculated efforts which featured A-List collaborators and contributors with meticulous and predictable rollouts. Advocates of the “New Kanye”—or perhaps “Saint Kanye,” whatever arbitrary variant of his own name you choose to assign to him—seem to praise his constant and impulsive scraping and reworking of albums, complete disregard for deadlines and release dates, and overall unpredictable nature as some sort of mania induced creative genius. There are a myriad of external factors that have influenced each phase of West’s career , from temporal context to shifting commercial trends, but in a lot of ways the distinction between the Kanyes mimics the age-old argument between disciplined technique versus unadulterated emotional expression; it seems predictable given the breadth of Ye’s work that over time he’s toyed with the equilibrium between the two  Meme aside, when selecting between the Kanyes, I chose the Old Ye every time; it is my hope that what follows will help the reader better understand why.

I suppose the most appropriate place to begin would be the beginning. Unfortunately, I was a bit late to the party for Kanye’s debut album, The College Dropout, which released in early 2004. At the time Ye was making his transition from soul-influenced producer-for-hire to pink-polo-wearing backpack rapper after inking a deal with Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records; who would go on to admit in later interviews that they only signed West to a record deal in order to have continued access to his production prowess in-house.1 Simultaneously, a much younger version of myself was hard at work in preschool, learning the important things in life, like sharing and not fighting people for interfering with my intricate Lego architecture. As my brain was busy developing, West was busy proving to the world he was much more than a guy who made great beats; feeling as if he was impeding the extent of his own artistic expression by letting everyone else lay their verses on all his tracks, Kanye decided to pick up the microphone himself. In the year prior West had met with various executives at Capitol Records with the intent of securing a deal as an artist but was unanimously passed on as they didn’t believe West had the background or image to be profitable in the commercial climate of the early 2000s.

In a marketplace saturated by gangster rappers biting style from the club anthems of the dirty south, Kanye brought tracks like “Spaceship,” “The New Workout Plan,” “School Spirit,” and “Jesus Walks” to the table. While everyone else was rapping about serving bricks or buying bottles, West’s tracks spoke to the struggles of working-class hustlers, came to life in comedic conceptual pieces, addressed the hypocrisy of archaic models of education, and detailed his own internal conflict with his faith. While undoubtedly breath of fresh air, West’s unconventional take on the contemporary genre didn’t convince labels that his approach would translate into dollar signs. These troubles finding industry backing, in conjunction with a severe car crash in the same year that saw Kanye’s jaw wired shut and his ability to speak in question, made it all the more impressive when The College Dropout not only released to commercial and critical acclaim, but went on to be nominated for two Grammys including “Album of the Year” and “Best Rap Album,” winning the latter.

By the end of the next year, when Kanye released his sophomore effort, I was deeply enthralled in my kindergarten curriculum; mindlessly beginning my journey through academia that, I’m sure much to the dismay of Mr. West himself, I have been blindly seeing through ever since. As I concerned myself with trivial endeavors like colors and the ABCs, the man himself was hard at work, cultivating his follow up to The College Dropout. The conceptual continuation titled Late Registration hit record store shelves in late 2006. It’s not often a Grammy-Award-winning album receives a competent follow-up (I’m looking at you Chance the Rapper), but Late Registration picks up right where The College Dropout left off, acting as one of the most solid sequels I’ve seen in any series of tapes or records. Of course, at the time, I was still ignorant of Kanye’s existence, given the fact I was six, but soon he would become incapable of ignoring; due in no small part to the effect Late Registration had in cementing Ye as one of hip-hop’s hottest emerging talents. Late Registration built off the blueprint laid by The College Dropout in the most complete way possible. West built on his unique production style, often being labeled “chipmunk soul,” chopping and flipping samples from Ray Charles, Gil Scott-Heron, Bill Withers, Etta James, Shirley Bassey, Hank Crawford, and Otis Redding. Conceptually Kanye continued to pull from his own personal experiences, detailing his family’s reaction and processing of a grandmother’s near-death experience on “Roses,” brandishing his love for his mother on “Hey Mama,” and chronicling his battles with addiction on the track of the same name. While West did well to showcase his vulnerability, he kept ahold of the personal duality that makes his records so versatile, including hard hitting connections between Nas on “We Major,” Cam’ron on “Gone,” and Jay-Z on the remix of “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” Late Registration housed a plethora of hits for the radio as well, seeing West cover all of his proverbial bases, with tracks like “Heard ’Em Say” featuring Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, “Touch The Sky” with Lupe Fiasco, and of course, the record’s biggest hit, the Jamie Foxx-assisted “Gold Digger.” Even the album skits, a now lost art in the commercial scene, were genuinely funny; they built conceptually off the skits from the album prior and detail the meetings of a faux-fraternity satirically known as “Broke Fi Broke.” Two thousand five was also a notable year for West as, in what has now become pop-culture legend, he threw the script out the window at NBC’s charity telethon for hurricane relief following Hurricane Katrina. Much to the surprise of everyone involved, Kanye used his platform to critique the lack of aid the government had been sending to the relief effort; aptly stating, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” as a terrified Mike Meyers looked into the teleprompter speechless.2 Though this event undeniably contributed to West’s celebrity outside of the sphere of music, reducing his rise to this singular moment is disingenuous as, at this point, he was still more recognized for his musical aptitude. Naturally, all these things considered, Late Registration was nominated for two Grammys (the same two as Late Registration) bringing home the Grammy for “Best Rap Album” for the second year in a row.

Following the successes of his first two ventures, Kanye spent the remainder of 2006 and the entirety of 2007 recording, producing, and preparing his junior effort, Graduation. In my own life, these years had been spent learning how to write my name and communicate coherently in English. In addition to these purely academic endeavors, I began showing an interest in music, regularly questioning my mother about the ’80s hits she would play in the car on the ride to school in the mornings. This was a significant period of my existence for two reasons: primarily because this is the earliest I can consistently recall the details of things happening around me, and additionally, because my mother gave me an MP3 player around this time, so I could listen to music outside of the car. By the time Graduation dropped, I was in the second grade, though I wouldn’t discover the album until a year later when my older cousin picked me up from school while blasting “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” far louder than most people would deem appropriate within the vicinity of an elementary school. Graduation itself is the third and final installment, of what was originally planned to be a four-album series, in Kanye’s higher-ed inspired de facto trilogy.3 The final record was scrapped due to a combination of personal events in Kanye’s life and an artistic departure as a result, both of which we will touch upon later. Perhaps it’s for the best that the final album never came out however, as in many ways, Graduation is the perfect punctuation mark for West’s debut series.

Conceptually Graduation builds off the previous two installments but deviates both sonically and aesthetically enough to reinvigorate the series’ overarching ideas. The record opens over an eerie Elton John sample on the track “Good Morning,” introducing the album’s first and last references to the collegiate experience. With this Kayne essentially closes his critique on academia, ultimately lambasting the impracticality of the American education system and the stagnation that it breeds; framing his beef eloquently before driving the message home with an intentionally grammatically incorrect punchline:

Scared to face the world, complacent career student

Some people graduate, but be still stupid.”

With this, Kanye marks his proverbial “graduation” from the rap game and uses the track as a wake-up call for the rest of his album; and further, his career. As is expected with momentous occasions, this signified a transition in Kanye’s sound.

Having, at this point, become a figurehead in the industry, West was able to use his leverage to clear more contemporary samples and collaborate with more established writers and contributors. The aptly branded “chipmunk soul” samples were abandoned in favor of chops from Elton John, Steely Dan, Daft Punk, Prince Phillip Michaels, Michael Jackson, Labi Siffre, and Public Enemy, to name a few. West also adapted to shifting industry models leaving out his well-written album skits which, baring Chris Rock’s monologue at the end of “Blame Game” on MBDTF, have never made a return. In retrospect, Graduation feels like Kanye’s pop crossover, seeding the roots for future sonic and conceptual experimentation. This isn’t to say the record was absent of notable hip-hop features, housing verses from both Lil Wayne and Mos Def on “Barry Bonds” and “Drunk and Hot Girls” respectively, but the real hits on the record came from West pushing the boundaries of his sound. Stand out tracks like the electronic infused Daft Punk flip on “Stronger,” West’s pairing with the king of Auto-Tune T-Pain on “Good Life,” and the extended metaphor on “Homecoming” (blessed with a powerful hook from Chris Martin of Coldplay fame) all helped contribute to Kanye collecting innumerable spins on terrestrial radio.

By the time Graduation found its way into my primitive MP3 player, the market had progressed, and those radio plays were dwindling, but it was all new to me. I dove headfirst into the tape and fell in love; barring a few Eminem records I had heard in passing on school busses or at summer camp, Graduation and Kanye West was my introduction into hip-hop. I kept that album on repeat for months and eventually worked my way back through West’s previous projects in time for the third-grade school year, where I would go on to tell classrooms full of kids that listened to Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney that Kanye West was the greatest musician in the world. It’s difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what was so enticing about Graduation to an eight year old, but with my eventual progression of music discovery it becomes obvious that Graduation opened a whole new world for me. My mother, bless her soul, only ever listened to ’80s and ’90s pop or local country stations in the car, so Ye’s soul samples and verbal gymnastics were nothing short of revolutionary from my perspective. From Kanye, I began exploring other artists that he had featured or sampled on his tracks. Ye was my introduction to Cam’ron, Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z as well as Ray Charles, Nina Simone, and Bill Withers. I would even go on to make friends with some of the older kids at my school who also shared an affinity for Kanye, and to this day (regardless of how we now feel about Ye), those guys are still some of my closest friends.

In addition to these external applications, West’s music from the trilogy series had a remarkable impact on me internally. Being highly impressionable and lacking any suitable father figures, West became like the big brother I never had; I lived vicariously through his success and did my best to emulate the traits that got him there. West inadvertently taught me the importance of persistence, individuality, and self-worth. If I had to point to a specific moment for reference I would look no farther than “Everything I Am,” Graduation’s tenth track. I think you can tell a lot about a person based on their favorite Kanye song, and this has always been mine. Across the track’s nearly four-minute runtime, West lays vocals over a beat he originally cooked for Common, but when the bald-headed Southside rapper-turned-commercial-actor passed on the instrumental West kept it for himself. “Everything I Am” sees West at his most vulnerable, reflecting on the path that got him where he was at the moment while touching on crucial social issues like colorism, gun violence in Chicago, and the malicious way the media pigeonholes rappers into crippling niches. Of course, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the depth of these issues until I was much older, but even as a kid, the track was sonically hypnotizing. Amidst a chilling choir of voices and record scratches added by DJ Premier, Kanye confronts his flaws as he pines:

Everything I’m Not, Made Me Everything I Am”

As a kid from a fractured home in an impoverished area who had always been told the only options in life were working for the mines or the power company, I found my perception of reality completely altered by this single bar. For the first time in my life, someone was standing up and proclaiming that your environment does not, in fact, define you. For better or worse, this insight was invaluable and fundamentally changed my approach to everything from athletics to academics to my interpersonal social interactions.

In many ways, I can definitively assert that Kanye is responsible for the root of my ambition as, before coming into contact with his music, I didn’t really think there was anything out there worth working for. As a kid, I was surrounded by run down homes, filled with too many kids, owned by parents (oftentimes just parent, singular) who didn’t have the means to adequately provide for them. All the adult men I was around were very vocal about their distaste for their dead-end jobs that required them to work long hours for little pay, and had detrimental impacts on their own health; a bunch of dudes steadily getting black lung every day but continuously chain-smoking cigarettes in what I perceived to be drawn out efforts to expedite their own conditions.4 I got unfathomably lucky being born to my mother, sometimes it feels like I won the lottery as she’s been such a continuous blessing, but I always knew that had I been born just a couple houses down, I would exist in a different universe entirely; it’s all enough to make any efforts to break the cycle seem futile. I give this personal context to emphasize that when I tell you Kanye West was my savior, it’s not hyperbole. Boiling it down to the rudimentary, Kanye taught me that it was okay to be yourself, to have your own ideas, and to trust in those ideas even when no one else believes in you. Though, these days, West’s perpetual disconnect from reality has led to us sharing opposing views on nearly every social and cultural talking point, I have to respect that his philosophy remains the same. Whether you like it or not, Kanye West is going to keep being Kanye West; and thank God (his or yours) for that authenticity, because without it I’d probably be married and working underground by now like all the other local kids who were tricked into believing they had no other options.5

Graduation would go on to be certified double platinum domestically and in Canada, as well as platinum in four other international markets (Australia, Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom), also being nominated for the same two Grammys as West’s first two entries in the trilogy; being snubbed once again for “Album of the Year” but earning Kanye his third Grammy for “Best Rap Album,” an award he’d then won every time he released a studio album. It was after this success that Kanye would go through the most traumatic events of his life since his near fatal car crash in 2002. I am of course referring to the death of his mother and manager, Donda West, who passed away as a result of complications following cosmetic surgery in late 2007; an event West has very publicly held himself responsible for on numerous occasions.6 In the same year, he also cut ties with his fiancé and long-time “on-again off-again” girlfriend Alexis Phifer. As a result of, and in direct response to, these events, Kanye released 808s and Heartbreak at the end of 2008, around the anniversary of his mother’s passing. Sonically, the record was a further departure from West’s previous work, trading conventional rhyme structure, clever wordplay, and inventive samples for much more alternatively influenced, Auto-Tune-heavy, melodic sorrow ballads that many fans didn’t know how to feel about. 808s and Heartbreak was welcomed with mostly positive reviews from publications, but in comparison to the incredible success of his previous work, the faint praise was tantamount to critical panning.

This perceived failure in conjunction with additional personal struggles resulted in various public meltdowns 2009. These would become the most polarizing moments of his career since the 2005 Hurricane Katrina relief concert incident; most notable being the now infamous Taylor Swift VMA controversy in which Kanye jumped on stage, took the mic from Swift, and proceeded to let the crowd know she was undeserving of the award she had just won7. This turned Kanye from hip-hop’s prodigal child into a cultural anti-hero that transcended music; this also marked the first inklings of the public questioning West’s mental state. Backlash around the VMA incident resulted in Lady Gaga cancelling her upcoming tour with West and subsequently, Ye’s self imposed exile to Hawaii where he hosted what was referred to as a “Rap Camp!” importing his favorite artists, producers, and songwriters to help work on and influence what would become his magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Artists involved in the creations of MBDTF included the likes of Raekwon, Jay-Z, John Legend, Rihanna, and Elton John; as well as producers like Madlib, DJ Premier, Mike Dean, No I.D., and Wu-Tang Clan’s Q-Tip & RZA. The totality of this formidable cast of heavy hitters is too long to list here, but the final credits of the tape reads like the Pro Bowl of musicians; with those involved describing the interactive nature of the recording process as “music by committee.8” Though the ordering of quality when it comes to Kanye West albums is one of, or at least was one of, the most hotly contested debates in music, it is widely believed by fans and critics alike that if Kanye only has only one classic album it has to be My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; with both Billboard and Rolling Stone selecting it as their “Album of the Decade” across all genres in 2019, despite the fact it was released during the first year of eligibility back in 2010.

A year following My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s release, West followed up by releasing his equally beloved collaborative venture with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne, which saw casual fans and hip-hop purists alike beginning to compare the pair to that of Outkast and Clipse as one of the greatest hip-hop duos of all time. The back to back release of these projects marked the beginning and end of Ye’s first redemption arc and propelled West, as a personality, into superstardom. I was eleven going on twelve by the time they both released and even at that age took notice to the fact West was becoming a household name. Critically both projects were intensely successful both being nominated for “Best Rap Album,” but My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was controversially snubbed for “Album of the Year” with many speculating that the unprecedented reception of both records had split the votes. Ultimately, West would collect his fourth Grammy for “Best Rap Album” with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne would leave empty handed.

After all was said and done, Ye took a two-year hiatus and returned with the most experimental record in his discography: Yeezus. An even further departure from what West had since become known for, Yeezus derived influence from unconventional production, unorthodox progression, and the most erratic conceptualization yet. I was thirteen when this record finally dropped and at first, like many others, I wasn’t sure how to feel, but over time it’s grown on me. In retrospect, it seems like following the success of MBDTF and WTT Kanye had no room left to ascend within the conventional framework of hip-hop and thus had to branch out; despite controversies around some of the content in the record, (and the infamous “300 like the Trojans” historical inaccuracy) I have to respect his bravery with this release. Regardless of the fact it received essentially no marketing, Yeezus would quickly go platinum and was heralded as the most critically acclaimed album of 2013 by multiple publications9 Despite this, the Grammy for “Album of the Year” continued to elude Kanye as he earned his fifth nomination for “Best Rap Album.” This time, however, he wouldn’t go home with any silverware, as West lost out (Alongside Kendrick Lamar’s good kid m.A.A.d city, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, and Jay-Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail) to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis of all people. Kanye hasn’t been to the Grammys since. With that, we close the book on the proverbial “Old Kanye,” and set our sights on his new chapter.

Since Yeezus, Kanye has released three studio albums The Life of Pablo (2016), Ye (2018), and Jesus Is King (2019). He is also responsible for a collaborative tape with fellow Chicago hip-hop icon Kid Cudi entitled Kids See Ghosts (2018), and the production of three albums released by his label GOOD Music in the summer of twenty-eighteen: Pusha-T’s Daytona, Nas’ Nasir, and Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E.

 It might be around this point that you ask yourself what separates these projects from the ones released earlier in West’s career, which is a fair question. From an unbiased position, barring Ye, which is terrible (and I don’t just mean terrible by Kanye’s standards, Ye is one of the worst albums I’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting through, and I listened to John Cena’s whole mixtape), none of these projects are objectively bad, with Kanye’s trademark production being the omnipresent standout component. That being said, West’s writing across these records has seemed to devolve substantially. As Kanye’s various public outbursts and meltdowns have caused most who know him personally to publicly distance themselves, many of the producers, writers, and frequent collaborators that had a hand in West’s first six albums have been absent from crediting post-Yeezus. Unfortunately for Kanye, it shows; as he hasn’t won a Grammy since, and hasn’t even been nominated (baring Pusha-T’s Daytona) since The Life of Pablo (further proof that Ye is a lazy inarguably inadequate mess).10 This commercial dwindling and critical failure in conjunction with Kanye taking to Twitter to ask for money, refusing to take his prescribed medication for his bipolar disorder, and his bafflingly ignorant and insensitive comments about politics and slavery have reduced Kanye to meme status; these days, he’s spray painting himself silver for god-knows-what and contracting out lackluster features to the likes of Lil Pump on insufferable songs like “I Love It.”

All the while the commercial sound of hip-hop has completely changed. With the youth starting to show a vast preference for high energy vocals that place less emphasis on lyrical content and innovative subject matter over what is essentially the same twelve 808 drum patterns, I wonder if the Old Kanye’s “chipmunk soul” would even be able to survive in this climate. Perhaps Kanye recognized this and, knowing he could no longer ascend to the same heights in that genre, pivoted to trying to make gospel music cool. I am of course just speculating, as no man other than Kanye can tell you what goes on within that enigmatic head. About a month ago, this article was born out of my utter speechlessness upon seeing Kanye on the cover of GQ riding around his Montana Ranch in a tank. No measure of linguistics can do justice to the emotions I felt in that moment as I stared into Ye’s custom Oliver Peoples shades wondering, as I’m sure many men before me have, how did we get here? I took me sitting down and actually working through this to realize, when it comes to Kanye, we haven’t gone anywhere. For better or worse, love him or hate him, Kanye is still Kanye; the only thing that’s changed is the success he has attained is now from being himself. That in mind, paradoxically, this success is simultaneously the cause of his deep disconnect from the everyday struggles that acted as a platform for him to attain his aspirations. The irony is as palpable as it is depressing; but I suppose, one day, we all have to kill our idols.

As I sat and read through the cover article for the Gentleman’s Quarterly May 2020 issue, I tried to throw the last few years of Kanye-induced anxiety under the rug. As things stand now it seems Kanye is in a better place; off the back of his latest epiphany, spending more time with his family, and doing rich people things on his oversized ranch. As I look to the future I’m not sure what it holds in store for Kanye, but at this point I don’t really care. I’m not checking for new Kanye records anymore, but I will still revisit his old ones for the rest of my life. Never before have I been so moved emotionally, to both ends of the spectrum, by someone that I’ve never met and I have to thank him for both the ups and the downs. I truly believe deep down that if I had never stumbled upon Graduation, today I would be an entirely different person and I owe that to Kanye. So here’s to you Ye, I wish you the best in whatever comes next in your story; I promise to utilize the values you instilled in me when they are applicable to mine. I can think of no better way to convey my emotions than to use the only language you understand, your own words:


At the end of the day,

I Love You like Kanye Loves Kanye


 – “I Love Kanye” (TLOP)

  1. According to Shawn Carter during an interview post-Late Registration.
  2. Reportedly West, who had just been named “the smartest man in pop music” by TIME Magazine, told Meyers, “Yo, I’m going to ad-lib a little bit.“.
  3. This has been confirmed by West’s early collaborators including Kanye himself, though the finer details of this lost final record languish in ambiguity.
  4. To the uninitiated, “black lung” is a colloquial term for a form of pneumoconiosis that is especially prevalent in coal workers; It’s an incurable respiratory complication caused by the buildup of coal residue inside the lungs. With effects similar to that of inhaling asbestos dust, black lung is a very painful condition that most miners consider a natural hazard of their work. In his final years my grandfather always described at as, “the mines finally consuming me [him].”
  5. Not to dismiss or diminish the virtues of the “white picket-fence” lifestyle, I just always had wider aspirations.
  6. Most famously in an interview with Q Magazine when asked “What did you [Kanye] have to sacrifice for the fame?” West responded, “My mother.” Going on to say, without further elaboration, “If I had never moved to L.A. she’d be alive.”
  7. While it’s likley this outburst was the direct result of overconsumption of the Hennessy West had been carrying around on the red carpet, he really wasn’t wrong with his assertions. Though the media chose to focus on Kanye’s disrespect of Taylor, many often forget that Beyonce did deserve to win that award over Swift.
  8. According to the MBDTF Wiki.
  9. Claim based on 146 individual year-end top ten lists compiled by Metacritic back in 2013.
  10. A hill I will die on.
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