#1529 It’s time for Kanye West to stop beating himself up

Photo: XXL

Kanye West gets me every single time. Whenever I read anything he writes, Tweets or raps, I find it so interesting, entertaining and inspiring that I literally want to cry or stand up and start slow-clapping. West has contributed 40 pages to the October issue of hip hop magazine XXL, including a first person account of his life post-Taylor Swift-gate. He writes:

“I knew I wasn’t in a great spot publicly after the [Taylor Swift VMA] 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. The only person that came to visit me the night it happened was Mos Def. He came to my house right afterward and said, ‘Move. You’re not going to be able to make it out here. You can’t make it in America right now. You have to move.’

“And that’s what I did. I went to Japan for three weeks, then moved to Rome for the rest of the year. I worked as an intern at Fendi. On weekends, I would fly to Paris and sometimes take off four days just to be in Stockholm, Sweden, just to meet with Johnny who runs Acne, or the Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, to find the perfect pair of jeans.

“People asked Miles Davis, ‘What do you want to be remembered for?’ He said, ‘That I’m Black.’ People know Kanye West is Black, if they never did before. That’s one good thing, that when that house burned down and it was just the base, they saw that base was Black. Regardless of whatever Polo shirts or tight jeans or suits were worn, whatever complexion of whoever I was dating, whoever my friends were, you saw that the base was Black.

“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. It’s so funny, in a way. On one end, Drake probably sits and thinks, Wow, I want to make a song like Power. And I’ll sit around and be like, Man, I want to make a song like Say Something.

“Drake was the first thing that actually scared me and put pressure on me, because it was the first thing that was blatantly from a similar perspective and lane. When I feel pressure, I step my game up. So I believe that Drake made great music for people to love and enjoy, but he also forced me to step my game up, because I have to be Kanye West.”

First things first: How good is the image above? So good! As far as I can tell it’s a play on the old Rat Pack Life magazine covers of the 1960s.

Second: Kanye West has style and class and he has continually apologised for the mistakes he’s made. The man’s only human. So can he and Taylor Swift do a song together already? And can he bring out a clothing label already?

West said it himself back in 2003 (referring to his 2002 car accident): “Good dude/ Bad night/ Right place/ Wrong time/ In the blink of an eye his whole life changed.”

He’s survived a literal car wreck and a near-suicidal career train wreck. Surely it’s time to leave the past in the past.



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