In the October 2010 issue of XXL Magazine, [lastfm]Kanye West [/lastfm]self-penned an article describing his life intentions, the media’s perceptions of him, the difficulties of coming back to the rap game, and his own personal evolution.
[pullquote quote="In a way, I had thrown a Molotov cocktail at my own career, and it gave me an opportunity, for the first time, to go away and find out who I was. Because I felt very alone." credit="Kanye West"]
Kanye West is the epitome of cool to many of his fans, but in his self-written article in XXL Magazine, West blows up the traditional idea of cool. He stresses cool as the ability to be yourself. Much like [lastfm]Michael Jackson[/lastfm].
What is the definition of cool? Michael Jackson made “Heal the World.” He could do that because he was golden. He was himself. He didn’t have to try to be cool. Think about a lot of your favorite bands and groups. Would they make a song called “Heal the World”? No, because they are too concerned about their leather jackets. Ironically, they are probably wearing leather jackets because of Michael Jackson. Once you’re put in power, you have to take advantage of the position you’re in to make the world better. There were times when I thought I was making the world better, or maybe I just wasn’t thinking at all.
[pullquote quote="Now I’m the biggest jerk in the world. Good morning, Kanye West, this is your life. " credit="Kanye West"]
Although 808s and Heartbreak was met with mixed reviews, the general consensus was that it was a pretty innovative album on West’s part. But West says most of that album was because of the influence of [lastfm]Kid Cudi[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Drake[/lastfm]. It didn’t really encapsulate who he is.
I spent the last year improving every element of myself as a person. By default, my raps are way better now, because I’m at a point where I don’t have to come up with lines–I just think of what I’m really doing and make it rhyme. January first of this year, I started back in the studio. I knew for a while I was going to start that day. I still had a lot of pain, and I needed to write that pain out, and it’s on my new album. But toward the end is when the Kanye West music really came. Everything is a form of my music, but the style of 808s & Heartbreak is better served by Drake and Kid Cudi than it is by me. I think they could both carry that sound better than I could, and also being that Cudi helped design that sound. That style of music is very nighttime, very streetlights. It’s, like, ‘streetlights glowing.’ All that.
Kanye West then goes to compare the media after the “[lastfm]Taylor Swift[/lastfm] Incident” as a girlfriend that he “messed” up with. So, what does that make all his amazing music after the initial “break-up”–the “make-up sex?”
The relationship with the public and with your fans is like the relationship with your girlfriend. How could I not, at a certain point, be like, ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been at the awards show. I’m sorry.’ Not that I don’t deserve to get beat up or change who I am inside, to make sure that that doesn’t happen again…I knew I wasn’t in a great spot publicly after the incident, but I would just block it out and work as hard as possible and let my work be my saving grace. In a way, I had thrown a Molotov cocktail at my own career, and it gave me an opportunity, for the first time, to go away and find out who I was. Because I felt very alone.
And in the end, it comes down to how people initially perceived Kanye West, not who he truly is inside.
I wasn’t expecting the reaction I got. When I did things like that or the “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” moment, it wasn’t a matter of being selfish, from where I stood. It’s more like I was being selfless—that I would risk everything to express what I felt was the truth. In this case, it was like I was driving a car and I needed to run this red light to make it to the airport, but by me running this red light, I ran someone over in the process, and that’s what people saw from a distance. Now I’m the biggest jerk in the world. Good morning, Kanye West, this is your life.
It sounds like Kanye West has evolved as a compassionate and conscientious human being. Recognition of your flaws (being a jerk, etc) is the first step to growth and change. Thank you for not running away, Kanye. We toast you–no matter what people label you as.