Rap Gods: Kanye West


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This week, I’ll be discussing current events regarding two of the biggest, self-proclaimed gods in rap music today. First, Kanye West. Earlier this month, Kanye cooked up some beef with Jimmy Kimmel, after the talk show host featured a skit that poked fun at the rapper’s BBC interview. After seeing parts of it (he was too infuriated to watch the whole thing), Kanye took to Twitter to bash Kimmel and compare him to Spongebob Squarepants. To settle the feud like a civilized human, Kimmel invited Kanye onto his show—and what followed was a cringe-worthy display of pure insanity.

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Now, let me just say, I love Kanye’s music *coughexceptforYeezuscough*.  My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was my favorite rap album of 2010, even over Eminem’s Recovery. That album wasn’t just awesome rap; it was awesome music. The production quality and artistic direction of that album definitely earned Kanye the title of “creative genius.” However, you can’t go on national television and proclaim, with a straight face, that you are in fact a creative genius. It makes you look stupid, self-absorbed, and egoistical. Leave it to the critics and fans to call you that.

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But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Kanye later embarked on a wacky, ten-minute tirade, never pausing for air or giving a second thought to what he was saying. Jimmy barely even had a chance to speak. All he could do was sit back and watch the madness unfold—literally. Kanye’s rambling was so weird and disturbing that I kept wondering whether the man had finally lost his mind.  During it, he compared himself to the likes of Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Michelangelo, and Jesus. Really, Kanye? Steve Jobs founded Apple, Walt Disney has theme parks all over the world that bear his name (among other things, of course), Michelangelo gave us the David, the Pieta, and the Sistine Chapel, and Jesus…well, I’m not really sure what he did, but I’m sure it was something important. But what I managed to extract from Kanye’s psychobabble were his demands to be taken seriously and how it’s wrong for the media to treat celebrities like zoo animals.

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I understand Kanye’s frustration, I really do. He considers himself to be an artist, and the music that he produces is his art. He dedicates a lot of time and effort to creating that art, even when it comes to that piece of crap Yeezus. And as an artist, he wants the entire world, including Jimmy Kimmel and the rest of the media, to take him seriously and refrain from  jeering at him. But if Kanye wants to hold onto whatever sanity he has left, then he has to realize three things.

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One: celebrities are zoo animals. They’re famous and interesting and will always be targets for comedians, tabloids, and other entertainment outlets. Is it fair? No, but that’s just the nature of the beast. If Kanye really is a “god,” then he has to get used to having doubters and opponents. I mean, it’s not like Jesus had it any easier.

Two: it’s Kanye’s own ridiculous behavior that makes him such a savory target for people like Jimmy Kimmel in the first place. Maybe if he tones down the egotism and absurdity, people will start taking him more seriously. But of course, we’re dealing with Kanye West here, so that probably won’t happen, which brings me to my third point…

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Three: when we laugh at him, Kanye needs to learn how to laugh with us. In other words, the guy needs to lighten up and stop misconstruing harmless jokes as war crimes. Just about every celebrity gets ridiculed by the media in some form or fashion. However, only Kanye has the audacity to log onto Twitter and bash the comedians who poke fun at him. It’s like when Carlos Mencia tells Kanye in the infamous South Park episode Fishsticks, “Just get it, man. Please, just get it. Why don’t you get it?”

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