Rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, fashion designer, husband, and father: Kanye West certainly achieved many accomplishments in his 18 years as an artist. He has also achieved notoriety for his controversial statements and actions regarding other infuential artists and figures. Who could forget when during a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Katrina, Kanye proclaimed “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” ; or the infamous 2009 VMAs where Yeezy interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to proclaim that Beyoncé’s video for Single Ladies was “one of the best videos of all time”
Over the weekend at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, Ye has (almost) done it again. After Beck beat out Beyoncé for Album of the Year, Kanye poked fun at his own 2009 VMA interruption scandal by jumping up onstage before deciding against it and sitting back down. He later made comments to the press stating “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé.”
Love him or hate him, Kanye continues to be a fixture in the entertainment industry because of his undeniable talent as an artist and rapper. This is a man who watches other rapper’s videos to strategize how he can be better. This is a man whose insane passion for music, coupled with his drive for perfection, has produced some of the best albums in the past 10 years. Which leads me to this question:
Why does someone so immensely talented have to run his mouth every chance he gets?
While not everyone agrees with the outlandish and sometimes cruel statements he makes, everyone talks about it. This morning when I logged onto my computer, the Internet was full of articles and videos discussing the comments Kanye had made about Beck. In less than 12 hours everyone and their mother was talking about what Yeezy had to say about a Grammy he wasn’t nominated for. Kanye West is as great of a businessman as he is an artist. He knows every controversial statement he makes will put him in the headlines. He also knows there’s no such thing as bad publicity in this day and age.
By the way, Kanye West isn’t the only egocentric artist to make unpopular and controversial remarks. John Lennon, founding member of the Beatles, beat his wives and emotionally abused his oldest son Julian. Yet, he is remembered as one of the greatest artists of all time. Another example would be black metal artist Varg Vikernes. Vikernes is not only openly racist, but served 15 years in prison for the murder of guitarist Oystein “Euronymous” Aarseth. He continues to put out well-received albums and have a solid music career.
The most frustrating part about this, as a Kanye fan, is that people will write him off and dismiss him because of the comments he chooses to make without giving his music a real listen to. It’s a case where sometimes the decisions and opinions of an artist overshadow the actual talent they possess. In Kanye West’s case, his career continues to flourish despite his sharp tongue, for now.