Thursday, August 11, 2011


Watch The Throne was released a few days ago. I'm just getting around to listening to it. To celebrate its release, GQ released a Jay-Z v Kanye West fashion battle to decide which of the suave-spitting MC's effect the hip hop fashion world the most. While GQ allowed the couple to trade blows with their style, they used an image that reminded me of a Kanye that I had forgotten even existed. Do you recall Kanye West's hiatus? The dipped out of the social spotlight during a very complicated year of heartbreak? When he returned he did so with the highly underrated album 808's and Heartbreaks which still gets an incredible amount of play on my iPod. With that came the craziest, and most influential style phase that I have seen in the world of hip-hop. The famous picture of Yeezy sporting a plaid, grey suit, white shirt, no tie, white sneaks and the iconic red heart lapel embodied his style for the most part. The hiatus was accompanied by a heroic, transient beat in his music that would rip the soul out of every listener that would actually pay attention. Stunning videos such as: Amazing, Love Lockdown, Paranoid and Mr. Hudson's Supernova to name a few were symbols of what it was that was really coming out of the super-creative phase in the rapper's life. It was this phase however that really let me appreciate what it was that made Kanye, Kanye. Taking the opportunity to do something other than rap, it made him really something that many close-minded people couldn't grasp anymore. In fact, it made him something that no one could grasp. While not giving the artist the status of a deity, he certainly gave us something to think about when listening to music, reading magazines and picking our ensemble for the day. However, knowing that the man singing about a heartless woman was also the same man who made a song about a fellatio workout proves his diversity, and why he is my favorite musical artist, hands down. 

Mr. West, 808's Era.
All credit due to the owners of these photos.

I feel like anyone who took heed to Kanye's transformations got a sneak peek at a bit of his soul. This is something that a lot of artists don't really reveal to their fans. A lot of fake smiles, stuntin' and city shout outs is expected from hip hop artists nowadays. Of course, to really see what it takes that composes someone's thoughts, that's what really makes an artist stand out. While the argument that Ye makes this a bit too simple, with flagrant outbursts of emotion that seem to pop up every year or so, it's still more than I've seen from a number of other people. I've seen rappers do some crazy things (coughCam'romcough) and I've seen rappers do some pretty inventive things ( wtf?), but I've never seen anyone dominate so many different aspects of influence as Yeezy does. If it isn't obvious yet, I'm a fan boy of the Louis Vuitton Don, but I'm only showing my admiration so adamantly because of my issues as a young man making the transition from creative to conformist. I'm always going to be able to listen to Kanye, and I'm always going to be able to wear what I want when I party, but for the majority of my waking week, soon I won't have many options. However, Ye gives me inspiration in this department. The ability to bend barriers until they mold to my liking is what I want, and I know it's going to be a risky maneuver, but I know it's going to be worth it. There's nothing worse than the stifling of creativity. I'm limiting the topic to fashion either! Sure, dress codes are a welcome counteraction to uniforms, but at the same time, there are still strict rules that prevent out-of-the-box thinking. I don't want to be in a position where I can't even think the way that I want to, but it may get to the point that I will have to if I want to make something of myself. That's why I can look at Yeezy as inspiration. I don't want to become the non-rap equivalent of the Dem Franchize Boys. I don't want to become a cliche. I would much rather be an anomaly. Murder to excellence, right?

By the way, OFWGKTA on two tracks. Frank Ocean = Beast.

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