The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Kanye Declares That He Is God...And That No One Cares About His Divinity


Kanye West is everything wrong with rap music. In every media outlet that matters, music critics have been relentlessly hyping him as the second coming of Christ. His debut album, "College Dropout," apparently blew their minds, and when his latest LP, "Late Registration," dropped, he was flooded with the most lavish round of critical plaudits that I've ever seen. The normally tough to impress Indie Music website, Pitchforkmedia.com, gave him a near perfect score and everyone lauded him for being a "deep," "conscious," rapper who was shifting the musical landscape away from "gangsta rap."

Of course, many of the same people giving Kanye West this acclaim have very little knowledge of rap music. Many of them are the same people who think that Outkast's best CD was "Stankonia," and that Eminem is a serious artist rather than a guy who released four CD's talking about the same exact things ("Mockingbird" is the same song as "Song For Hailie," "Kim" is the same song as "Bonnie and Clyde 99," I feel like I'm taking crazy pills).

Now the reason why Kanye is everything wrong with rap music isn't that he's such a terrible musician. In fact, I think he's a phenomenally talented producer, even though every beat he makes is heavily sampled and therefore slightly derivative. But let's be honest with ourselves, he's a terrible rapper. His flow is garbage and his lyrics are mediocre at best. Anyone who knows anything about rap can hear the album and recognize that this is a producer trying to rap, not the other way around. I'm rather certain that I can rap better than Kanye West and I'm a 24-year old Jewish kid that grew up in Beverly Hills (even though Beverly Hills is a notorious feeder to the world of hard core gangsta rap and entertainment lawyers and agents) .

When I finally went out and bought "Late Registration," I expected to be awed by West's recondite and lyrical philosophy. The verdict: not so much. "Late Registration," is a decent album but it's not about to make my top albums of 2005 list. But please nobody tell that to Kanye, he might cry. If you don't believe me, then check out this article from MTV News where he discusses what he'll do if he doesn't take home the Best Album Grammy.

"If I don't win Album of the Year, I'm gonna really have a problem with that," said West. "I can never talk myself out of [winning], you know why? Because I put in the work. I don't care if I jumped up and down right now on the couch like Tom Cruise. I don't care what I do, I don't care how much I stunt, you can never take away from the amount of work I put into it. So I don't wanna hear all of that politically correct stuff. You put the camera in front of me, I'm gonna tell you like this. I worked hard to get here. I put my love, I put my heart, I put my money [into Late Registration]. I'm $600,000 in the hole right now on that album and you tell me about being politically incorrect?"

People love these songs," he continued. "You talk to somebody whose grandmother just died and listens to 'Roses,' and you tell me about being politically incorrect. I'm talking about history. I never got five mics [top rating] in The Source, I never got five stars from Vibe. They said it's not a classic. So 'Jesus Walks' is not a classic? 'Roses' is not a classic? 'Gold Digger' wasn't song of the year? 'Oh, but Kanye, you can't say that.' Why? Who are you? I don't know you."

Please, somebody shut this guy up. I'm sure he worked very hard on his album, but here's a fucking newsflash, so did every other half-decent musician. Working hard doesn't necessarily make you great. Kanye, if you want to be a great rapper, why don't you try learning how to rap. Just a novel thought, that's all.

And the worst part about this whole Kanye West love-in is the media's constant extolling of his talent. In an article from the LA Times today, Robert Hilburn, reiterates the same schtick that everyone's been babbling about all year. Keep in mind, Hilburn is about 90 years old, white and approaching retirement: if there's anyone more in touch with hip-hop culture, I don't know who it would be.

Here's what the cultural prophet says:

"West, who picked up eight nominations Thursday in the 48th annual Grammy Awards race, is the most compelling arrival in hip-hop since Eminem, a thoughtful, crusading rapper and producer who has liberated hip-hop from its "gangsta rap" shackles. His music about life and community reflects values that are reminiscent of the idealistic, socially aware work of Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder."

West also took a leadership role in hip-hop away from the studio. He made a passionate plea on MTV for an end to the widespread gay-bashing in rap lyrics, and he criticized the Bush administration during a Hurricane Katrina telethon for responding so slowly to the needs of New Orleans flood victims.

He's "thoughtful" and "crusading?" Are we talking about the same man who on his latest album declared that "the United States government administered AIDS." That's not social consciousnessss, that's paranoid conspiracy theory. That's the problem with music critics, they automatically proclaim any rapper "conscious" if they aren't talking about "fucking bitches," and "busting gats."

Furthermore, being able to babble about how George Bush doesn't care about black people doesn't make you deep, it makes you ignorant. If Kanye West had half a brain and wasn't completely uneducated (he BRAGS about being a college drop out and a poor student) here's what he might have said: "George Bush and the Republican Party have handled this situation disastrously. At times, it leads me to believe that they only care about their core of their voter base and seem completely apathetic to any demographic groups that might not be interested in a party platform consisting of cuts to the New Deal safety net that has allowed people to escape poverty for the last 60 or so years."

Once again, people: Kanye West is NOT deep and nor is he any sort of musical savior. He's an average rapper with a good ear for selecting old 70s-soul samples. That's it. So the next time you're at some club and you see some ass-clown dancing around to "Golddigger," and trying to pretend he's sort some of gangsta/prophet/pimp, punch him hard in the nose. Do it for me. Do it for Kanye.

6 Comments:

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Kandyd said...

J, you're wrong on this one. While I dislike Kanye's pompousness, I can understand where it's coming from. He's a product of that mysterious "black middle class", both of his parents were college professors NOT just college-educated. WIthin a minority, he was a minority, that's what that means. He's more college-educated than he thinks, lol ...
As far as his lyrics, dawg, he's coming along pretty well. On "Touch the Sky" he outshines Lupe Fiasco, who I don't believe has ever got behind the boards like Ye did but has mic skills. Kanye's no Prince, but lemme tell you: he's talented.
On the same subject, but different topic: why do media figures dislike "gangsta rap" yet choose to review 50 Cent's movie and write stories about him? Ironic, huh?!

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Slav, point 1: no guy who names himself Lupe Fiasco has any sort of mic skills. I admit Kanye West is talented as a producer, but he's a mediocre rapper, period. You and I both know that. You know how I feel about Nas but he unquestionably his a great flow. Kanye West has nothing resembling a decent flow. Of course, he's a talented guy but he's no savior.
Onto the next point: Media Figures do that because they're parasiite they do owhatever they can to sell papers or mags. The bottom line is the bottom line. 50 is popular they cater to our idiocy. That's my problem with journalism, instead of setting trends, they follow them.

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous slav said...

True, true ... mainstream media is definitely made up of followers, people who leech off the original works of others. Save for a few folks, i gotta say. Then again, look who MSM's audience is ... older, whiter, with nothing to do. It's a bunch of folks like ur 90-year-old antique Bob Hilburn. Hey, Lupe's "Food and Liquor" is the next CD buying .. the last was Damian Marley. As for Ye, man, I don't listen to dude as much as I did. I still think he has flow. He has shit to say, I respect any dude that can do that.

PS: Come to Cinespace Dec. 13 .. Lady Sov from UK, Jay-Z's newest signee, will perform. Then the 15th, Knit Factory ... my boys Infinit P and Chino XL headlines.

 
At 3:45 AM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

I would but I got Xmas parties on those days, LABJ is on the 13th..and my other friend is the 15th...oh well..next show

 
At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Nater the Hater said...

AT-Liens was definitely Outkasts best album...

Kanye is so talented. How could you dis him like that, Jeff? I mean it's not like he creates his own tracks from scratch or anything. Don't you know that it takes a musical genius and a savvy business man to sample Ray Charles' "I Gotta Woman" right at the peak of the Ray Charles hysteria? But you have to credit him for being quite profound. I mean, listen to the sage advice he gives women on his song "work out plan". And I quote: "That's right, put in work. Eat your salad, no desert. Get that man you deserve." Tell me that is not the most profound shit to ever shimmy through your eardrums.

 
At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lest ye not forget Kanye has referred to "Geico" and the movie "Vanilla Sky" in multiple songs. Big no no.

 

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