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I Miss the Old Kanye

1,252 words

Kanye West broke his ten-month silence on Twitter with a square photo of an indigo record, captioned “‘JESUS IS KING’ OCT 25TH” in an apparent announcement of his long-anticipated studio album. West has made multiple claims about an album release in the past, but none of them have come to fruition, leading many to speculate that this record will not materialize as well.

Unlike other teased West efforts since his last album, however, this particular record has enjoyed a series of listening parties in which attendees were forced to leave their cell phones in a plastic bag until the event ended, a short film, and multiple promoting “Sunday Service” concerts put on by West that hint at its equally divisive and inevitable theme: The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christianity is not unfamiliar territory for Kanye, having dabbled on the subject as early as 2004 when “Jesus Walks,” a song he produced at the very beginning of his career on his love for the Son and the disinterest of the recording industry in songs featuring religious themes, found itself on his debut album The College Dropout. Recent works, including ye and The Life of Pablo also featured multiple odes to the Christ mythos. These usually focus on the power of God to forgive and his followers to find new life, but also occasionally drift into distinctly Kanye West territory, like creating an entire album to compare himself to a saint. These records all used Christian motifs as a touchstone, not a foundation, however; between tracks extolling the power of God and the forgiveness that imbues West and his cohorts with a lust for life, the self-proclaimed Yeezus blesses us with lines about getting bleach from a supermodel’s anus on his tee-shirt or wishing there was a GoPro camera mounted on his penis to relive his sexual exploits.

It’s this exact attitude about religion, interspersed with unabashed relishing in degeneracy, that has made West so popular among just about every demographic under 35 in the Western world, and especially so among urban blacks. The manner in which West structures his full-length releases is a perfect glimpse into the psyche of American blacks who have been thrust into a world in which eternal salvation is promised to them in spite of their generally abhorrent behavior. Volumes of output, mostly in the form of uninteresting hip-hop, have been created by American blacks from walks of life as unsavory as gangbangers and drug dealers about the importance of God and the premise of eternal life. It’s such a recurring theme in the art of various dark-skinned ne’er do wells that one wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the average American black loves Jesus more than a white farmer from Minnesota.

What, then, make Kanye any different from hordes of black “artists” that follow similar patterns of evading responsibility in their music? For one, West is at least somewhat talented. His origin story as a Chicago-based producer and unexpected rise to prominence as a rapper came from the release of his 2003 single Through the Wire, initially recorded when West’s jaw was wired shut following an auto accident. West had spent several years curating samples and producing soundtracks for other rappers on associated labels, lending him an artistic credo not often seen with a vast majority of black rappers in the United States that seemingly appear out of nowhere, most often with instrumentals produced by in-house audio people and seemingly picked out by some Jew in a suit looking for the most ridiculous person they can reasonably put on tape. West also generally avoids violence as a theme in his music, a significant departure from many of his peers in the genre; he even professes a profound distaste for the violence that tore his Chicago community apart in Everything I Am, in poignant ebonics: “Man, killing is some wack shit.”

Kanye possesses, then, a handful of salacious qualities that make him immensely attractive to the youth population of the Western world, and curiously, of particular interest to White male youth. For one, there’s his infectious rapping style, his production oeuvre, and of great importance, his characteristic swaggering ego. Were West to be some kind of meek, humble artist who was happy enough for his work to be recognized at all, the idea that he would have achieved this level of fame is simply unthinkable. It’s also this unabashed self-importance that makes West such a popular figure among the youth of today; when one has little they can be publicly proud of, it’s only reasonable that sharing in some secondhand boasting would be a source of enjoyment.

It’s this cult following that makes West’s upcoming album, Jesus is King, an excellent proving ground for just how easily influenced white youth are. It’s entirely plausible that the average high schooler merely grinned and bore it through the religious interludes that dot nearly all of West’s work since 2004, and will become disillusioned with the artist if he releases exaltations about Jesus over the top of some gnarly industrial trap beats. Another realistic scenario is that following the release of this album, zoomers will pretend they’re born-again Baptists for a few weeks on Twitter. Whatever the outcome, the same conclusion can be drawn. In the secular West today, there’s little that Christianty has to offer except as some kind of marketing ploy or a safe haven for blacks to be absolved of their sins and go back to their usual behavior the following day.

West making an album devoted exclusively to gospel, or at least gospel-oriented, tracks is not out of scope for him, either. His controversial endorsement of Donald Trump earned him the half-hearted respect of countless civic nationalists and mainstream conservatives and gave him another dose of infamy that he indubitably craves; this pivot to gospel music comes on the heels of West claiming hip-hop is music “of the devil” and is destroying the fabric of Los Angeles, where he currently resides. It’s emblematic, in some ways, of the current state in which popular music is produced; there is no room for spirituality in the washes of radio hits, something Kanye discussed on The Life of Pablo. Kanye, while talented, is clearly not immune to the fame-seeking and otherwise base behaviors his ethnic group is notorious for. This Jesus Is King experiment is living proof.

In more ways than one, the creative output of Kanye West is the sum of both his music and the promotional material that he creates alongside it. The media hype generated by West and his team are just as much a form of art as his music, fashion line, and Twitter meltdowns, and is therefore subject to the same criticism and praise as anything else. West’s sudden appellations to Christ have been a rousing success. Between stirring the pot of blue-checked lefties, teasing his fans with multiple postponed release dates, and creating an air of mystery around the record’s content, West has succeeded in creating one of the most fascinating — and frustrating — pieces of performance art in our time. That performance, however, is one deeply honest past its surface. West may truly believe that he has been saved, but it’s his quintessentially black ego that forces him to make such a showing out of it. And despite talk of devoting his life to Christ, Kanye still seems to fall back on old patterns: At the New York album preview event, crewneck sweatshirts were being sold for $140.

Will the music be good? Probably. Will it be important? Probably not.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Hibblenail
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Kanye was raised Catholic.

  2. Ambrose Kane
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Kanye West, like many celebrities and music stars, thinks more highly of himself than he has reason to. He’s a shallow man, a fool who is able to make a name for himself only because we live in a vacuous and anti-intellectual age. He is praised by simpletons for being ‘creative,’ but it seems to me that his so-called creativity is limited to glitzy fashion shows where he promotes his overpriced ‘homeless chic’ clothing line, including his most recent nonsense such as ‘Jesus is King.’

    I’ve watched a few of his music videos over the past few years in order to get a sense of how this self-inflated dope could be so popular. This endeavor only served to confirm my original thoughts about him.

    I thought the same about rapper Jay-Z whose rap style is so monotone and whose lyrics are mind-numbing that it borders on being a mere caricature. Some people have praised both Kanye West and Jay-Z as business geniuses, but I tend to think their IQs are much lower than people think. They simply can afford to hire people much smarter than themselves to direct and manage their business affairs.

    The popularity of West and Jay-Z proves what a horrifically stupid age we live in.

  3. Vagrant Rightist
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about West, because I have never listened to one track even, but I grew up with black music thinking it was cool and normal. And like the writer here, I used to see a certain inventiveness to it even. But at some point you start to realize that this music is not really connected to you, you might enjoy aspects of it at the time, but feel kind of ill, hollow and a certain unease later on. (I would say this is still true for more sanitized, more white-friendly negro music)

    As the cumulative effects of interacting with blacks IRL stack up on you, you realize that black music is a rhythmic animal call, often to violence and sexual display and little else. Whether hip hop, dance hall or other black genres it’s the music of something removed from our understanding of humanity, and whites trying to draw meaning from it, or trying to incorporate it into their identity in some way, however subtly are on a degenerate path.

    As black music is of course also the music of black identity, giving our consent to the expansion of black identity, which means crime, violence, disorder and inability is not something that should be encouraged, but actively discouraged and curtailed. When we support negro musicians we support crime, violence, disorder and inability. That’s the reality.

    Regretfully, there are a vast amount of white people who in some way have contributed to this by imbibing and accepting this poison, because in so many ways black music has become something of a cultural norm. I would like to see this situation reversed.

    Personally, if I were in control of the world, I would ban all new negro music. Maybe have a tolerance on prior stuff, but only in certain contexts, never in public places.

    Black music along and black athletes have been the biggest cultural weapons in selling blackness to whites, selling their ‘indispensability’ to white civilization, and I call utter bs on this.

  4. James Lovstuhagen
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Every generation of celebrities has a few that find religion and even begin speaking out against what they had done before, like Little Richard, Dave Mustaine, Johnny Cash, etc.

    I think the potential big difference with kanye is that he is still truly in the spotlight and is infamous for grabbing attention.

    Is it all a cynical ploy for attention? I am not sure simply because he apparently has mental health issues and is quite famous for storming the stage, going off script, etc., in ways that don’t benefit him. I find him to be too unpredictable and damaging to himself for it all to be calculated. I have some hope that he will stick with this theme and push black America toward soul searching and looking for answers outside of intersectionality.

  5. Mike Mortensen
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    He also hosted the Pornhub Awards last fall. The unabashed pushing of R&B/trap/rap music into the forefront of the zeitgeist (I can tolerate R&B, jazz and jazz pop and jazz influenced music very well actually, but I can’t listen to rap anymore, nor the hollow vacuum of predictable beats known as “trap” music, when I see what the larger scheme of pushing them are, and also them completely sucking) and the complete mainstreaming of porn are 2 culturally astroturfed fake things that probably have the intended effect of making miscegenation desirable and anti-Whiteism widespread. They have been UNBELIEVABLY successful in doing so. I will continue to be heartbroken by such “materialist” things. sorry not sorry.

    He also won’t be a catalyst for the “black community” to embrace Christianity moreso than they already do, beyond the fascinating paradox of blacks being more religious, relative to other populations, while simultaneously also being more carnal and sensually driven. Nor to seriously re-evaluate the manner in which they are “used” as a cudgel against us, it is silly to think so from my vantage point. And further, I don’t believe it’s something that they themselves are not aware of, complicit in, and tangibly benefit from.

    To be completely frank with you, I’m a little exhausted of constantly having this guy shoved in my face as an inescapable cultural golem over the past 8 years or so. If it were more talented rappers like Pusha T, or Vince Staples or someone like that, it would still be aggravating, but I would atleast understand it somewhat. This guy’s oeuvre is very, very overrated. And I can take or leave his Armenian (and part Scottish and Dutch) in-laws that are used as THE BLUEPRINT to screw up Western women.

  6. Jud Jackson
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I first heard Rap “Music” (what key is it played in?) in 1990 when I was 34 years old. I hated it then and I have hated it ever since. There was even a rap song about F. Hayek versus some Socialist Economist (I forget who) and though I admire Hayek as a great thinker, I hated the “song”. God, I wish Rap would go away. I still like some Black Music; Nat King Cole, the Platters, and a few others.

    • Richard
      Posted October 25, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Likewise. John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, and Louis Armstrong could be added to your list of respectable Black musicians.

      Rap infuriates me and I immediately judge the character of anyone who listens to it regardless of their race or ethnicity. It’s extremely disheartening to see middle and upper class Whites listening to rap.

  7. James
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Jesus, how in Christ’s name could his music be considered good (besides perhaps its production) by any discerning white person’s standard? Forgive the combative, visceral reaction, but this baffles me.

    • Richard
      Posted October 25, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Speaking of Jesus, how in Christ’s name could his music be considered good (besides perhaps its production) by any discerning white person’s standard?

      It isn’t. “Christian” Blacks are some of the most hypocritical creatures as their behavior contradicts the values of Christendom. We’ll often see Blacks sporting large tattoos of a crucifix, which is one of the most overt signs of hypocrisy. Any authentic Christian would never mark their body with a tattoo of a crucifix as this is one of the most disrespectful acts one could make regarding the quintessential icon of Christian identity.

      Marks to one’s body are signs of mutilation and vanity — they’re the markings of evil and degeneracy. Our flesh is the flesh of God and not ours to mark. Perhaps more Blacks should become familiar with Leviticus 19:28.

  8. Richard
    Posted October 25, 2019 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    There’s nothing to miss about Kanye as he was always an opportunist in an empty shell. I’d never classify the “Old Kayne” as being “real” or authentic to any capacity. His verbiage has always been obnoxious, materialistic, narcissistic, superficial, and self-serving.

    In the modern era of popular music, only a couple of rappers come to mind for their authenticity. They’d include the likes of T.I. (Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.), Ghostface Killah (Dennis Coles), Common (Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn), Nas (Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones), and Clipse (Gene and Terrence Thornton).

  9. Goober
    Posted October 26, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    A lot of (((white nationalists))) seem bothered by Christianity.

    Whatcha doin, rabbi?

  10. Rollo the First
    Posted October 26, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    How awful a powerful black man is challenging everyone (and especially blacks) to focus on their church and family instead of degenerate filth.

    How terrible a man walks away from porn and the ghetto, all because he becomes a husband and father. How disappointing a black man memes millions into more traditional modes.

    The kvetching of Kayne’s critics says more about them than him.

  11. Antidote
    Posted October 27, 2019 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    I have tried to ignore this ridiculous Negro whom I call Koonyah West since he first appeared. Below is a list of the times he invaded my coontact free zone:

    Appeared as the Christus with crown of thorns on cover of (((Rollin’ Stone))).

    His fat mother was killed by a Negro liposuction doctor.

    Said George Bush “didn’t care about [email protected] people” because of Katrina response. (Bush later said it ‘was the most painful part of his presidency’).

    Stormed stage to invade Taylor Swift’s space and complain about whiteness.

    Alleged jewel heist in Paris.

    Wanted to make Confederate battle flag his personal crest.

    Buys Monster Lake Ranch and starts invitation only “worship services” for local Whites.

  12. Some guy
    Posted October 30, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    My uncle worked with a black guy. When reminiscing about life, he would always say “trust in god. Trust in God and everything will be fine.” He would also offer my uncle a discount for the prostitution ring he ran on the side.

    My uncle said “How can he talk about god when engaged in prostitution?”

    As another coworker told him, “They are different from us.”

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