Yeezy Taught Me
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Yeezy Taught Me

A lesson from Kanye's fifth studio album

Yeezy Taught Me
Wikimedia Commons

Let's try to picture Kanye West in 2009: he's the most hated man in the world. He's already on thin ice due to his controversial persona on Twitter; he gets up on stage at the VMAs and tells all of America that Taylor Swift doesn't deserve her Best Female Music Video award. He has subjected himself to public and internet scorn. Every self-respecting person on the internet or with a platform has rebuked his actions and disaffiliated themselves with Kanye as a person.

He has destroyed his name in the face of the public.

On top of that, he is continuing to suffer the loss of his mother, with whom he was very close, less than two years prior, as well as a tough breakup with his girlfriend, Amber Rose.

With all this, He retreats into hiding. He submits himself to solitude for months upon end working on a project to end all of his projects: a piece to save his reputation.

It is a year later that he drops his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It is a maximalist, exceptionally cohesive album, combining rap and hip-hop complete with classical, theatrical, electronic, comedic, and rock n' roll elements. It combines themes of Christianity as he wrestles with sin and temptation, with his mother and his ex-girlfriend, his overbearing ego, and his ambition combined with profound moments of vulnerability, and acknowledgment of his flaws.

The album itself, however: flawless. Everyone has his or her own opinions on which Kanye album is definitively their favorite. However, I find that it impossible for anyone to deny that MBDTF is the most technically perfect, and overall strongest of Kanye's albums.

Most people predict that it will be album of the decade. It's timeless and doesn't get old because it is so nuanced that each listen brings on a new reading. Most of the songs on the album are over five minutes long, but because they are so detailed and expertly produced, they maintain intrigue.

And yet Kanye claims he hates it.

The album has sold 1,351,000 copies in the United States alone, and its Metacritic score is a whopping 94. Because it so accurately encompasses all of the things that people like about Kanye and so little pushes the artistic and cultural boundaries that he so wishes to push, he finds the album tiresome.

"I felt like I took all the things people liked about me and mashed it together on this record," he says.

As if it is a bad thing.

MBDTF doesn't pave the way for a new genre like 808's and Heartbreak did, nor did it inflame controversy from its god references like Yeezus did, nor did it marry hip-hop with EDM like Graduation managed to do.

Yet it is a masterpiece, exorbidantly lauded, universally loved, and his welcome back into a (somewhat) forgiving public sphere.

It is a collection, of everything that makes Kanye... Kanye.

And what can we learn from this?

Perhaps that our output is something that- in order to succeed- we must catalogue, shape, and collect to put on the right face for the public. We must gather the greatest hits of our personality and achievement for our resumes, our first impressions, and more.

But, if we are to truly change things in this world, we must individually shape every facet of our identities, and sharpen our edges that we have something interesting to provide to the world.

To be satisfied with our output, we have to concern ourselves with our input.

What the world will like best about you is always going to be your greatest hits, but you're always going to know yourself more intimately than to be perfectly summarized in 13 songs.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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