The time was 2004, I was on the brink of mini-adulthood: 18 years of age. At this time, music was everything to my peers and I. Music was our first form of communicating who we thought we were; it was the forging of our identities. Music was able to simultaneously satisfy our earbuds and increase our endorphins, bringing us to a level of pleasure that prompted so many of the dreams we set out to pursue. Our music was a representation of how we expressed our joys, our pursuits, our passions, or lack thereof. It provided an ability to stay relevant so we could stay grounded. In 2004, College Dropout became our second language. Kanye West was new and fresh. The Fresh Prince to our Bel-Air.
Kanye has always been a trendsetter. He never waited for us to acknowledge him as an unstoppable powerhouse, before seeing himself as one. Never one to mince his words, there is nothing new about him making headlines. When we consider all of the conversations we’ve had about Kanye over the years (the passing of his mother, an outlandish relationship with Amber Rose, marrying Kim Kardashian, public stunts of explosive opinions against Taylor Swift, President Bush, to differences with Jay-Z, to a nervous breakdown, this), he isn’t in the headlines for music as often as his is for his divergent opinions on slavery, privilege, money and fame. Hear more in his interview with Charlamagne.
Is it a stunt to remain relevant? Is the fame causing an internal conflict? Is the true Kanye unraveling right before us? Whatever it may be, the power struggle between free thought, reality and entertainment is blurred.
So where is Mr. West going with his recent comments? He argues his words can sometimes get in the way of him expressing himself. It is hard to pinpoint exactly where he is going with this, but what is obvious is that too much power can be the same downfall for those who once opposed it in others. Often times we can boost ourselves up to believe so much in ourselves, we miss out on the opportunity to grow from mistakes and self-analysis. It seems this is a major struggle for Mr. West because in all his ranting he has not taken accountability for the impact of his ill-informed ‘free thought.’ We loved us some Kanye and while some still have hope while others have completed withdrawn, a huge takeaway here is: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.”
-Donna P., Write to Live Team