For the past year or so, social networking has been Ye’s best friend. I even created a Twitter just to follow this guy and see for myself what the rest of the world was always buzzing about. Kanye and the folks at G.O.O.D Music have exploded into the music lime light with their weekly FREE releases. Although Kanye has managed to climb back to the top of the food chain in the rap industry after a one year hiatus, I’m beginning to feel the level of transparency he has reached is becoming increasingly hazardous.
G.O.O.D Fridays have been a gift. Not having to sift threw a bunch of posts or youtube videos to find some quality music has been a luxury for bloggers and fans alike. Kanye has stayed true to his word and posted a new song (and will continue to until Christmas) on his website for the past 10 weeks. We all love free music and mixtapes however, artists are still best defined by their albums. Originally titled Good Ass Job, Mr. West’s 5th studio album was suppose to drop in early September (after already being pushed back) along with several other artists from G.O.O.D Music (Kid Cudi, Consequence, Big Sean) in a highly-anticipated G. O. O. D. Music Day. Album push backs are no surprise and are often used as a marketing technique. In respect to Kanye’s new album, this is not the case (Kanye swears they’ve been working on mixing and finishing tracks). In addition, whoever is in charge of album sales/marketing of Kanye’s album, whether it be the label Def-Jam/ Roc-a-Fella or Kanye himself, has been far too charitable. If you take a look at the album tracklist, you’ll see 7 of the 12 tracks have already been released. If you are an avid follower of the blog, or a loyal fan of Kanye… you’ll probably know all the songs on the album largely because of my primary subject of interest; Kanye’s short film Runaway. In a recent interview with MTV, Kanye acknowledged this concern by saying that people may think they’ve heard the songs but they haven’t heard the finished album versions. Well there is no denying that some of the songs I’ve heard off the album were poisoned with DJ tags and scratches and were certainly not CDQ. Conversely, regardless of the quality, if you can decipher the lyrics and melody of a song you’ll have a gist of whether you like it or not. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything I’ve heard and it is Kanye at his finest. Simply put, I just wish there was more mystery as to what was on the album thus creating more anticipation for its release. For many people the album will just be an organized, finished version of Kanye’s releases in the past year. Ironically, all of us somewhat disappointed fanatics go out of our way to find leaks and early previews of albums. Kanye bascially leaked the album himself and the blogosphere pretty much got a slap in the face. Be careful what you wish for right?
Last Saturday, Kanye released a 35 minute film which he wrote and directed, inspired by his corybantic imagination and music from the new album (now titled My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). In summary, the movie is a well-directed music video with a strong artistic undertone atypical to urban culture but distinctly Yeezy. It deviates from the traditional music video in that it contains ample dialogue, snippets and remixes to songs off of the entire album, and has a obvious plot with a deep underlying message which I’m yet to decode. After reading several reviews about the film and watching it a few times (not only because I didn’t wholly comprehend it but also because the music is phenomenal) I’ve come to the general consensus that Kanye West is a rare talent who exudes genius in just about everything he dedicates himself to [no ‘mo]. Whether he is making music, building a music label, revolutionizing fashion, or being an asshole, Kanye always makes a statement. This impression goes beyond this short film and to be honest my thoughts on the film itself aren’t spectacular (found it entertaining but a little weird). It’s not the content of the film that struck me, but the concepts and mentality that inspired the film and doing something so bold, so lurid, so…Kanye. I hate to hop on the bandwagon and praise the infallible Kanye West but all in all he is one of the most influential musicians of my generation. 10-15 years from now people will make their lists for top 10 hip-hop MCs of all time and I’m curious where Yeezy will fall in those ranks. I highly doubt Kanye will be remembered as the ostentatious megalomaniac he is often portrayed to be by the main stream media, so it’ll come down solely to what matters: the music. I apologize for the dick riding but I spit the truth…take a listen for yourself. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy drops Nov. 22.