Commentary by Nick Moreno
“Did you see what Kanye said?”
This was the first thing I heard in class this week. It wasn’t the first time in the last two weeks that I heard some iteration of this question.
Rapper and producer Kanye West recently broke his 11-month Twitter hiatus, and he immediately made headlines.
First, West was criticized for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and defending the president. He went as far as to call the president a hero of his.
Hip hop fans and artists were outraged. Many people vowed to boycott him over social media. The controversy did not stop there.
Kanye was then criticized for saying that slavery was “a choice” in an interview with TMZ.
These statements created even more backlash Kanye backtracked on his statement via Twitter, but the damage had already been done.
The Hill reported that a Detroit radio stationed vowed to stop playing his music.
Diehard Kanye fans are sticking by his side, but for a lot of people he is becoming harder and harder to defend. Controversy has been a large part of the rapper’s career, but a lot of fan see this as a breaking point.
West has always walked a fine line between genius and lunatic. His off-stage antics often overshadow the genius of his work and the almost unparalleled effect he has had on hip hop. Some revere Kanye as one of the best hip hop artists ever. But, incidents such as interrupting Taylor Swift at an award show, checking into a mental institution after admitting his bankruptcy, and even saying that George W. Bush does not care about black people on live television have all become points of criticism for West.
This recent brand of incidents once again brings up the question: Is Kanye West crazy or a genius?
In the last week he released two songs of his own. One with rapper T.I. titled “Ye vs. the People” in which he argues his point of view. The other is titled “Lift Yourself”.
Again, Kanye today was featured on a song released by rapper Travis Scott with a collaboration from Lil Uzi Vert. These artists are two of the most popular artists in hip hop today. The song titled “Watch” is poised to dominate the summer charts.
Kanye has repeatedly hinted on social media he has a lot of music slated to release this summer including collaborations with veteran rappers, Kid Cudi and Nas.
I know many Kanye fans will always defend him. Many continue to praise his genius for creating all this attention before releasing new music. Others will continue to call him a lunatic who hasn’t been the same since the days of his early work. Maybe both sides are right.
So, is Kanye West a genius or a madman?
I don’t have the answer to that question. However, I do know that I will be listening when the next Kanye song drops.