It’s been 8 years since I’ve seen the real Kanye West. The past four albums released since Yeezus in 2013, have been disappointing to say the least. Madness as Heath Ledger unfortunately taught us is like gravity. It just needs a little push. Enter the billionaire actress that starred in only one “independent” movie. I’m sorry but there is a well-documented wake of careers of once promising men suddenly, completely unable to perform at their usual high levels while in her presence. But rather than dwell on the better part of a decade that has passed since he married what’s-her-face, and the garbage albums that ran completely parallel with it, I’d rather focus on what was truly incredible and could still be again in the future.
Born in Atlanta but raised by south Chicago since age 3, Kanye had an affinity for the arts throughout childhood and ended up pursuing a degree at Chicago State University. He dropped out to pursue music full-time, much to the behest of his mother who happened to be an English professor at the university as well. However, after College Dropout she admitted that college wasn’t the right path for everyone contrary to what she had been taught so vehemently by her own parents. “It was drummed into my head that college is the ticket to a good life … but some career goals don’t require college. For Kanye to make an album called College Dropout it was more about having the guts to embrace who you are, rather than following the path society has carved out for you.” His mother embraced his musical genius, as did the Windy City as a whole.
In a town now and forever divided since it’s inception by differences geographically, demographically, with literally major league baseball teams representing one another’s sides, Chicago is a beautifully flawed metropolis. The impressive skyline, parks and artistic monuments throughout the city make it hard to imagine the homicide rate that annually accompanies them. But there were always some rare commonalities that every neighborhood shared, individuals that were fully embraced on both sides. Jordan. Dillinger. Payton. Kanye. We all as a people, bob our heads the exact same way to Graduation. If you frequent any decent club even now, I promise you as a former resident half the records played that night will be by its favorite son. No matter what ridiculousness he commits, the city is what every parent should be when regarding West. Infinitely patient, empathetic, and unconditionally loving no matter what. Yes, he has said and done some dumb-ass shit, but I ask you, mental health not withstanding…has anyone ever heard of a real genius that wasn’t a little fucked up and eccentric?
No one on earth can write hooks like Ye. No one. What he relentlessly churned out for over a decade is nothing short of remarkable. Look past the latter-day sins of albums since Yeezus and realize just how impressive his catalogue of work really is. He first masterminded the masterpiece that is Jay-Z’s, The Blueprint in 2001. Following several successful stints producing for other artists Kanye was given the green light to record an album reluctantly from Roc-A-Fella records, with Jay-Z at the forefront encouraging the label to give him a shot. Fast forward multiple platinum albums later and we have the ultimate collaborative culmination with Watch The Throne. The most fun Kanye West visibly ever had, at arguably the pinnacle of his career artistically, was when he was on stage with Jay-Z. As individuals we should all strive for the confidence he exhibits, but with Mr. Carter added to the mix it clearly made him more secure, relaxed, even joyful while performing alongside his older brother, mentor, and friend.
Sometimes the only way to really move forward is to go back to the start. Hitting the reset button and figuring out what drove that person who still lives deep inside. It could be multiple terrible albums later, but if Ye can bring that creative swagger back through true self-realization, people won’t remember the miscues. They will only remember the comeback. I literally grew up on Kanye West. From freshman year to adulthood, he was the soundtrack to all the good times of those years and I’ll always be eternally grateful for those memories. Saturdays should always start with Good Morning and end with Ni**as In Paris.
Drunk and Hot Skewers
Scallops, Strip Steak, Papaya, Red Onion, Roma Tomato marinated in Garlic Expressions.