When Rappers Aren’t Heroes, Part II

Seeing people that you idolize fail is saddening and you hope they are able to persevere, but seeing them transform into something that’s unrecognizable is another level of shock that’s hard to explain. We excuse the weird, illogical decisions and overlook problematic incidents because we can see, or pretend to see, the end goal. We hope the craziness leads to great art or great spectacle.  When we can’t recognize that goal or purpose anymore, we really start to question what the hell is going on. The eccentricity is no longer palatable, it’s burdensome. This is what it feels like to be a Kanye fan right now. Truthfully, I don’t know if I consider myself a fan of his anymore.

Between saying he would’ve voted for Donald Trump earlier in the week to him leaving a show only after performing three songs last night, I’m questioning a lot of my feelings about Mr. West. Kanye stated that even though he didn’t vote, he appreciated the way Trump was truthful in his campaign for presidency. To say that you liked the way someone campaigned when they used outright scare tactics and preached isolationism that spoke directly to white supremacist ideology is vexing. How can I with a clear conscience say that I’m a fan of yours anymore? During his rant Saturday night, he alluded to Hillary’s losing of the election was due to people no longer wanting archaic political figures and, with the changing times, people wanted something new and unconventional. There is truth to that, but supporting a person that wants to halt any social progress the US has made over the last eight years does not adhere to changing with the times.

The 2006 version of Marc Rob (with all the LRG, Miskeen, and airbrushed tall tees a growing boy needs) would be thoroughly disappointed in the 2016 “Book of Eli” Kanye. The same person that made “Crack Music” approved of the Trump campaign. This year has been trying to say the very least.

One of the proudest moments I’ve ever felt of a rapper (or of any musician in general, for that matter) was when Ye called out George Bush on national TV for the ineptitude that was displayed when dealing with Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005. He spoke to everything black folks had been saying for years and he did it for the world to see. We knew the government did not support us and no one cared. You can argue that George Bush isn’t a racist and that Kanye was wrong for using that stage to bring that message, but the local and federal governments woefully failed its citizens and it lead to the worst man made disaster in US history. That “say whatever is on your mind” mentality is what initially drew people to Ye; you never knew what he was going to do next and it was equal parts exciting and enticing. Today, we don’t know what the next disaster will be. His biggest strength is now his Achilles’ heel.

During a concert in Sacramento Saturday night, Kanye went on a diatribe about Beyoncé pressuring MTV to give her awards in exchange for performing, how Jay-Z ignores him and other nonsensical things that aren’t worth writing in full about (but you can view here). There was nothing being said that was insightful nor entertaining. After the 15 minute rant, he abruptly ended his show only after performing three songs. During the rant, fans booed and threw things at him while on his levitating stage. After the spectacle, fans outwardly started denouncing the Kanye brand at the concert and on social media.

Kanye is gone. What was once admirable is now exhausting. In relationships, when they fail, the excuse “It’s not you, it’s me” phrase gets thrown around. Not this time. It’s you, man; it ain’t me. And, now, you’ve got to go.

(Speaking of Hurricane Katrina, if you want to reading the greatest article ever written on the aftermath of Katrina victims, read this beautiful article by Wright Thompson “Beyond The Breach”.)

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