The Curious Case Of Kanye West Vs. Society

The Curious Case Of Kanye West Vs. Society

Why does society hate Kanye West? More importantly, what does that say about society?

Kanye West is one of the most influential, creative, innovative individuals of the 21st century. His mark on hip-hop, streetwear, music video production, etc. is unmatched. He’s one of the most committed artists working right now, and his art has been praised, enjoyed, and imitated all across the globe. So why, then, is he one of the most hated celebrities in the world?

“I'm living in the 21st century doin' something mean to it//Doin’ better than anybody you ever seen do it//Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it//I guess every superhero needs his theme music”

Our society has evolved to have one common mantra: whatever you do, do not make others uncomfortable. Don't worry, this is not another trite critique on society; I'm sick of those just as much as you are. However, it's important to make this observation seeing as it is society's biggest quarrel with Kanye West.

When Kanye put out his sixth (or seventh, depending if you count "Watch The Throne") album, "Yeezus," his objective was clear. He was not interested in making the music we wanted. He had already done that with his previous album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," an album many consider hip-hop perfection and one of the greatest albums of all time. Now, Kanye just needed to vent. Almost every song was lashing back at society in one way or another. Of course, people looked past Kanye’s message and latched on to the eye-catching third track, “I Am a God.”

Public outrage was immediate. Your favorite middle-aged mom took to Facebook, chastising Yeezy. Never mind the fact that Kanye was instrumental in making religion accepted in hip-hop with “Jesus Walks” 10 years ago and the fact that he consistently puts God and his faith at the center of his life; this one song makes him a blasphemer!

Of course, these sudden Kanye West experts didn’t even pretend to examine what this song could be saying. Kanye used this song to attempt to illustrate his frustration with society. The third track very well may have been called “I Am a Low-Life Good-For-Nothing Black Person,” and nobody would care. In fact, this idea isn’t even that crazy. Plenty of rappers such as Vince Staples, Kendrick Lamar, and Earl Sweatshirt rap about their self-identity in a completely degrading, self-hating way. But when one rapper stands out and visits the other side of the spectrum and loves himself, now we have a problem. This is because our society would much prefer to watch you wallow in self-loathing than brag about your own character.

Sure, you can be the best. You can change the face of hip-hop single handedly, design the most sought after sneakers, and put out two high-end fashion lines, all while starting a loving family that you care for and protect. But once you acknowledge your accomplishments… well then, Mr. West, you have fallen out of America’s good graces.

See, we’re a rather forgiving country. We can forgive Ben Roethlisberger for sexually assaulting a woman, Chris Brown for beating up Rihanna, Bill O’Reilly for sexually assaulting his coworker, and any number of politicians for any number of lies. But when one of the most talented, accomplished names in music is a little too confident: well how dare he? Thankfully for us, Kanye doesn’t care.

“They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus//That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes//But if I talk about God my record won't get played, huh!?//Well if this take away from my spins//Which will probably take away from my ends//Then I hope this take away from my sins//And bring the day that I'm dreaming about//Next time I'm in the club everybody screaming out “Jesus walks!””

All of his life, Kanye was told he couldn’t. Growing up as a poor African-American Chicago native, the world told him he couldn’t make it. Attempting to make his name as a rapper when he was a well-respected producer, the record execs told him he couldn’t do it. Rapping about minimum wage, religion, and the false security of college instead of money, sex, and drugs, the rap game told him he couldn’t do it. Starting his own clothing line with no design background, the fashion industry told him he couldn’t do it. Trying to go beyond art and spread his message through politics by running for president, just about everyone is telling him he can’t do it (that’s for a whole different article, though).

“Ain’t nobody expect Kanye to end up on top//they expected the College Dropout to dropout and then flop...Last year shoppin my demo, I was tryin’ to shine//Every motherf***er told me I couldn’t rhyme//Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem//Or use my arrogance to power my dreams.”

When just about everywhere you look you’re being told you can’t do it, you have to close your eyes and tell yourself you can. So excuse Kanye for proving the world wrong. Don’t put a muzzle on a dog and then be surprised if it wants to bite back when it escapes. Kanye knows that in order to make a sandwich, there might have to be a few crumbs. Sometimes great art requires great sacrifice ("Whiplash," anyone?). If being a little arrogant and obnoxious is what it takes to produce one of the greatest discographies in music, I think Kanye would take that trade 10 times out of 10. And down the road, when professionals are still breaking down the instrumental to “Lost in the World,” humanity will thank Kanye for not listening to his doubters.

There is also something to be said regarding race. The aforementioned wave of political correctness makes this paragraph difficult to type without happening to push a few buttons, but the argument should be made. The late 1900s were dominated by rock stars: Axl Rose, Ozzy Osbourne, Keith Richards, etc. These guys were the biggest party animals the world had ever seen. They would come to shows drugged out of their minds, then go back and destroy their hotels with a tornado of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Did it ever seem like these musicians had any ounce of humility? Any air of respect? Absolutely not. Kanye can write one of the most touching love songs I’ve heard to his mother (“Hey Mama”), pour his raw, heartfelt emotions out into an album ("808’s & Heartbreaks"), preach complete respect towards women, all while avoiding starting one single beef with any individual, and yet he’s still regarded, as our Commander-in-Chief so profoundly puts it, as a “jackass.” Nobody raises objection to white long-haired dudes, but a clean cut black kid from Chicago better watch what he says.

“I woke up early this mornin’ in a new state of mind//a creative way to rhyme, without using nine’s and guns”

I’d like to believe it’s born out of ignorance—that the average Kanye anti-fan just sees the entertaining YouTube videos and simply doesn’t know the amazing artist behind them. Whatever the case for our society’s hate towards him may be, one thing is for sure: our distaste of Kanye West says more about us than it does him. Once we turn against one of the greatest creative minds alive, some serious evaluation needs to be done regarding where our values lie.

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Meet Atlee, A New Artist On The Rise

"No one can fit in a box. We are all unique contradictions of all our self-inflicted, convictions." xx- A

How do you feel when you find great, new music? Does it make your heart skip a beat like when you first locked eyes with your crush? Do you become mesmerized that it takes you to a whole new universe? Do you become curious about the artist, wondering what their story is behind the music they share? However it makes you feel, it's probably amazing. I'm here to introduce to you a new, up-and-coming artist, and talented member of SHGOOD. I am here writing this article to bring you that feeling of amazement.

Atlee is a 29 year old artist from San Francisco, CA. She was 4 or 5 years old when she joined her first Musical Theater Company. The first show she ever did was Aladdin as a chorus extra. She lived in Los Angeles as a working actor for five and a half years until she started to feel out of place and not herself. "The whole time I was there, I felt out of place. I felt boxed in, suffocated. I signed myself up for a fourteen day silent meditation retreat in Yosemite. I didn't have a phone, laptop, pens, or anything to write on. It was just me and my thoughts." Being by herself for 14 days helped her realize she couldn't pretend to be someone she wasn't. She left her friends, her agent in LA and moved to Seattle (fun fact: it's the music capital of the world).

In Seattle she's collaborated with producers and other artists. "I worked with a producer named Jay," said Atlee. "I was in the studio listening to a beat he had made and I wrote lyrics within ten minutes. He asked me to go into the booth to record it. I think we finished the song within a hour, no joke. He gave me the amazing opportunity to perform the song with him a week later at Upstream Music Festival here in Seattle." Imagine performing a song live a week after writing it? Not many artists get to do that. That's huge! Especially for a young, talented artist like Atlee. Many artists get nervous before performing in front of a crowd of people. Yes, including big stars like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Justin Bieber. "The day of the performance, even minutes before going on stage I didn't feel nervous," Atlee responded. "It came natural to me. Connecting with the crowd and singing came natural. I just let nature take its course. I loved every minute of it, and I realized this is something I really want to do."

Now you're probably wondering what kind of music she produces and what her sound is. Atlee describes her sound as an alternative edgy-pop mixed with old-time soul. She says, "If Lorde and Etta James had a baby, that would be my music." Artists like Frank Sinatra, Lauryn Hill, and Alanis Morissette inspired her to make music and taught her how to write a killer song, to be honest, and helped her realize what true, raw passion sounds like. If you look into the deeper meaning behind music and performances of well-known artists rather than thinking it's a catchy song, you'll begin to see the story and emotion they're willing to share with people. "I hope my songs give all those who listen the freedom to live out all of the many parts of themselves."

Earlier, I mentioned Atlee was a team member of SHGOOD. Now, you're probably wondering what's SHGOOD? A dynamic collective of creatives who help partners reach new heights through event production, artist management, digital marketing and content creation. SHGOOD was started by two young college students, Jordan Vogel and Kevin Lee. "I met Jordan through his friend and I enjoy working with him," Atlee responded. "He's helping me get my music out there and they're all wonderful people."

Atlee is currently working on an EP and I recommend keeping up-to-date with her on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, and on SHGOOD. She is one artist you don't want to sleep on. She is a "circle in a world of squares."

Cover Image Credit: Atlee

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10 YouTube Videos That Will Immediately Bring You Joy

Can coughing for 3 minutes and 31 seconds really make a funny and entertaining video? Yes, with the help of some fancy editing skills.

I get stressed or need something to take my mind off of things I can always turn to YouTube for funny and creative videos. Sometimes we need a good video to pick you up and cheer us up from a bad day. Here are 10 videos from YouTube filled with puppies, snacks, sarcasm, and pure weirdness.

1. Even More Reasons to Smile by Thomas Sanders

Thomas Sanders and his friend will give you 16 minutes and 33 seconds of pure happiness, jokes, positive news, and friendship.

2. Battle of Pocky ft. HealthyJunkFood by Simon and Martina

A video filled with delicious, unique pocky from Japan and some other questionable food with some questionable expressions. Also check out HealhtyJunkFood's channel to see them make Giant Pocky with Simon and Martina.

3. I was a Human Sock for a Day (I Tried Following a Safiya Nygaard Video) by Simply Nailogical

The Queen of Holo transforms into her true form as a sock. (all will be explained when you watch the video)

4. Putting 200 Fake Nails on One Nail by Jenna Marbles

Just a weird, crazy video of stacking nails on nails because why not. Though it's Jenna Marble so were you really surprised?

5. "I Let My Dog Walk me for a Day" by Buzzfeed

A video about a sweet pupper and his hooman. What is there not to love?

6. The Most Difficult Decision Ever" by llSuperwomanll

The queen of relatable makes another video that would make you say, "Yup, so true."

7. How you sing Korean songs when you can't speak by The World of Dave

When you like foreign music but you don't know the language. *hint* *hint* *nudge* *nudge* all Kpop fans who don't speak Korean fluently.

8. A Movie Star in the Making" by SuperwomanVlogs

A vlog about Lilly Singh's sweet pupper. Quality content that deserves a Golden Globe, Oscar, and Academy Award.

9. "*cough*" by Jacks Film

Probably one of the most unusual, strange, confusing video of 2018 but it's worth watching every last second.

10. Honest Trailers- The Oscars (2018)

The Oscars pretty much summed up in a 5 minute 58 seconds.

So go enjoy these videos when you feel stressed out because your procrastinate to finish your paper till the last minute or you need some videos to binge watch.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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