Kanye West dropped “Facts”, right before 2015 came to a close and while Yeezy loyalists praised the song, fickle Hip-Hop fans, on the other hand, did not. Tweet after tweet flooded the timelines, riddled with disdain for what is most popularly known as Kanye’s diss record aimed at Nike, his former home.
The disgruntlement didn’t start there, however. It had been brewing for some time, dating back to when Kanye West dropped Yeezus, in 2013. There were complaints about his new sound, which could mostly be accredited to Travi$ Scott. There were complaints about the subject matter his songs contained. There where even complaints against his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who many think “changed” Kanye, both musically and overall.
Kanye West hadn’t really addressed the bitching and moaning, until he made a record called “I Love Kanye”, which is featured on his latest album, The Life of Pablo. The song is voiced from the perspective of those who don’t exactly approve of the “new” Kanye and mockingly serves its purpose, with lines like,
“I used to love Kanye/I used to love Kanye/I even had the pink polo, I thought I was Kanye”
Here’s the thing.
What is it with Hip-Hop fans and their fetish for artists to stay the same for their whole career? Hip-Hop is an entity that is, has been and always should be evolving. Kanye West released his debut, The College Dropout in 2004. Twelve years ago, bro. So much has changed for him since then. He lost his mother, who was a huge piece of his life. He had a tumultuous love life that eventually resulted in a happy ending, as he got married and became a father twice. Shit changed. And for real artists, when shit changes, so does the music.
Take Jay Z for instance. There was a point in time where he rapped about his days in the Marcy projects, and all the shit he used to get into. Why? Because when he dropped Reasonable Doubt, in ’96, he wasn’t too far removed from that life. But if you fast forward to his most recent album, Magna Carta, Holy Grail, he’s rapping about Basquiat paintings, and Tom Ford. He’s shooting videos at the MoMA. He’s rapping about a life that he probably wouldn’t have thought twice about living in the 80’s and 90’s.
Again, as the lifestyle changes, so does the music. As the times change, so does the music.
Why would an artist want to remain stagnant their whole career, instead of changing with the times? If Kurtis Blow put out an album tomorrow, rapping in the same cadence as back in the day, nobody would go get that shit. Nobody would listen to a single song, unless Future was on the hook and Metro Boomin was on the beat. So how much do you really “miss” the old version of (insert artist here)?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the new direction Kanye West’s music is going in. It’s creative, it’s forward moving and it doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out right now. Do you know how hard it is to continuously reinvent yourself, while simultaneously staying relevant? How can you hate that? Enjoy the music, man. Embrace the new wave. I think Hov said it best: “Wanna hear my old shit? Buy my old albums”
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