Hate him or love him, 10 years ago, Kanye West dropped his game changing album, The College Dropout. Doran Miller-Rosenberg reminisces on Ye’s legacy.
Kanye West is a man of many worlds. Along with Eminem and Drake, his popularity was a result of his mass market accessibility as much, if not more than his supreme talent. While droves of rappers languish in the squalor struggle due to their niche appeal, in the past decade Kanye has captured the world’s attention, no matter how anyone feels about him.
The College Dropout turns 10 today, and in some ways Kanye’s career has taken a turn for prepubescence, with tantrums and stunts replacing the work ethic and prodigious talent that got him where he started. As much as he wants to paint himself the same Chicago boy, he’s not.
As we showed earlier today, Kanye’s early work is rough, desperate and amazing. It produced some of his best beats, and rawest verses. His lyrical and technical complexity as a rapper has developed extensively since that time, and his melodies, sample use and acoustic aesthetics have shifted drastically.
Overall Yeezus wasn’t up to par with works like Dropout, Late Registration or BDTF on any level. It felt like he put more effort into disastrously promoting Kanye West the brand than into creating great music this past year. And that’s a damn shame.
It’s irrefutable that Kanye West is a genius, but what does that mean in terms of his worth? Whether it be creatively, or for the loftier goals that he’s set: making the world a better place?
Woody Allen is a genius, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a horrible human being. I don’t know that he is, but the evidence certainly seems to be there. At what point as a society do we reject an artist for his or her behavior?
This is not to compare Kanye West to Woody Allen, but instead to suggest there be limits to what we accept from artists, or any public figure. Your art is only worth so much repulsion, and when your best art is behind you (in the case of Allen for sure, and perhaps West as well), there’s only so much the public has to stomach from you. Artists often forget that how they’re considered historically won’t support them in the now if the public turns against them.
Much of Kanye’s rants, raves and peacocks over the past few years have hinted at a deeper intention, an untamed frustration at being unable to directly shape the world around him. Does he want to transform it for the betterment of mankind? He certainly believes so. Here’s his speech about The College Dropout’s 10th anniversary. You can make up your mind about what the future for West holds, but it’s hard to take it at face value with lines like:
Maybe he is, but it doesn’t seem like it.
Original appeared at Elite Daily
Photo Elite Daily
Doran Miller-Rosenberg is a Brooklyn native and a graduate of SUNY Purchase. As a journalist with musical omnipotence, he has covered rap, politics, sports and pop culture for a wide variety of outlets including Lost Lettermen, Brooklyn Fans, Société Perrier, USA Today and now Elite Daily.