Bound 2 Enrage: Tell Me How You Really Feel About Kanye West



Hip-hop superstar, self-appointed renaissance man and cultural provocateur Kanye West will of course bring his audacious Yeezus Tour to Nashville's Bridgestone Arena tonight, Thanksgiving Eve, and tickets are still available. Freelancer Itoro Udoko handily tackled the issue of Kanye's prolificacy and ambition in a print feature for last week's issue of the Scene, and that's certainly worth a read.

But one interesting thing about Itoro's feature — and about nearly every other drop of ink and pixel spilled over West in recent months — is the vitriolic response it garnered. The same thing happened on the Scene's Facebook wall when we shared the Kanye show announcement. Some of the responses were extreme (and, dare I say, hyperbolic), calling the superstar names like "psychopath." People call the star egotistical, arrogant, overrated, on and on and on.

Here's the thing: Aren't pop stars supposed to be arrogant? Aren't they supposed to have outsized egos? Aren't they supposed to say outlandish things and co-opt crazy symbolism and make occasionally baffling (and in my opinion, utterly entertaining) pieces of performance art? We're all talking about every move the rapper makes, after all, and that's precisely what we demand from our pop idols: that they keep us enthralled, and inspire LOL-worthy parodies.

So why do people have such knee-jerk responses to West? I've heard many say that he's untalented, and that's just flat-out wrong. Whether or not you're a fan of West's music, he's got an assortment of undeniable rap-pop gems under his belt, from Yeezus' "Black Skinhead" to The College Dropout's "Jesus Walks" and "Through the Wire," not to mention about half of the stuff on Watch the Throne. The guy HAS talent. So he's not your cup of tea, and he runs his mouth too much for your liking. That's fine. But isn't there something a little disconcerting about how personally offended some people seem to be merely by West's existence? I consider John Mayer a pretty intolerable stain on the fabric of American music, but I never find myself flying into fits of blind rage in comments sections over him (even when he says genuinely racist shit).

What I need to know is this: Why do people get their panties in such a twist over this guy? Tell me how you really feel about Kanye West. He's hardly the first rapper or pop star to compare himself to a god. He's not the first musician to cross over into fashion or marry an oft-maligned attractive person. He's definitely not the first celebrity to give his kid a silly name. So what's the deal? Tell me how you really feel.

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