As America's hate continues to simmer for our one last hope for rock and roll, I have to take a moment to express the great privilege it is to have a man like Kanye West at the helm of our popular music culture. He just might be the only true rock star alive today, and our reality-TV saturated media can never understand why. But we need Kanye. We've needed men like him for all times.
First off, let's gather a few of Kanye's finest moments:
"George Bush doesn't care about black people."
"Jesus walks with me"
“Fuck dis! (My video) cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it, I was jumping across canyons and shit.”
"I'm definitely in the history books already."
"I don't want to hear all of that politically correct stuff."
And most recently, Kanye dissed Taylor Swift on the stage of the VMAs directly to her face.
Ok, now that's just a morsel of the nonsense that has come out of Kanye West over the years. He's as arrogant as they come, and nobody should feel good about those things that he says. But our culture needs this man not because he's a role model, but because he is a rebel. He does his own thing, and doesn't care if somebody doesn't like it.
Kanye West must be appreciated in the context of rock and roll history. This art form was NEVER supposed to be about politeness and "class." It was ALWAYS about rebellion and controversy. And Kanye might be the only artist keeping it alive today.
But here's the other great thing about Kanye: he is honest. And that's it. So honest, in fact, that he will admit that he cares about status and fashion more than humility.
Isn't it easy to sound humble though? Seriously, anybody can sound humble. We all know what humility is. Kanye knows what humility is, but he also knows what art and hip hop is... NOT HUMBLE!
Granted, we should not try to be like Kanye. Society does not function when it is composed entirely of rock stars. But it always needs a few rebels to keep the pots stirred.
Possibly the greatest writer of all time, Fyodor Dostoevsky, regularly created characters who were despicable. He would even make them his protagonists. These anti-heroes were thoroughly relatable characters though. With every disgusting word or action, deep down we're nodding in agreement. Kanye is not unlike one of Dostoevsky's anti-heroes. As we experience the things he does and says, we think he's crazy and awful. But, there's something inside of us that kind of wants him to do it again...
Kanye is like Charles Barkley in the 90s ("I am not a role model."). Or Michael Jordan or Lebron James in 2009. The reason we should appreciate Kanye West is because he is bold enough to be a real-life existential hero. He is not a pleasant man, nor should he be. He is our shadow, our dark side that we never show to the world. I don't know about him personally, but a society needs that psychological release on occasion. Don't crucify him for the service he is providing you.