Kanye’s Complex

With a faithful weaving of prophetic witness, social critique, and political dissent Rod Garvin has put together an excellent piece on Hurricane Katrina, Race/Class, and Kanye West.

“It’s about imperfection. Everybody can relate to that.”
– Kanye West to Che Smith, friend and co-writer of “Jesus Walks”

At a time when hip-hop was plagued with oversexed M.C.’s and superficial rhymes you could say that Kanye West flew onto the scene like an angel out of heaven. His smash first single “Slow Jam” would pre-empt any chances of being mislabeled as a Gospel artist, but the inspirational, yet non-preachy “Jesus Walks” earned him a place next to other Patron Saints of Imperfection such as John Coltrane (“Love Supreme”), Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On?” and Tupac Shakur (Too many songs with spiritual force and social relevance to name just one). Hua Hsu of the Village Voice had it right when he wrote in his review of West’s first album The College Dropout entitled “The Benz or the Backpack?” that self-conflict was in. With his second album, Late Registration, West proves that he is the king of cognitive and spiritual dissonance, which helps him capture the complex nature of the human condition better than any of his peers in hip-hop and perhaps better than anyone in music – period.



2 thoughts on “Kanye’s Complex

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  1. While I appreciate Kanye’s appreciate Kayne’s contribution to a largly dark music world, I think his comments concerning the recent hurricane disaster were neither bold nor truthful. Everyone in the media was scrambling over each other to blame bush and conservatives for what they saw as a lack of response. Truthfully, it was bush who pleaded with the black mayor of NO to implement the evacuation and disaster plan to no avail and then seriously considered taking over the disaster relief from a mayor and gov. who were incompetant at best. We should not jump on the band wagon and look to the federal government to be a savior to a problem that was largly caused by a lack of action of the local governement. The federal government has done admirably well once they got the ok from local authorities to respond to a disaster that no one could have predicted.


  2. I agreed with Kanye. I was glad somebody said something. Sure – there may be subtler truths that he didn’t mention, bits of detail he didn’t include about the demographics of those suffering in the Big Easy, but he didn’t have much time, did he? Overall I was still glad he said what he said. Racism is happening behind closed doors and closed mouths in this country. Here’s to the big-mouths ready to lay it all out. [raises a pint]


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