‘Some of My Plaques, They Still Say Kanye’

In light of all this furor surrounding Kanye it’s worth noting a few things. First, Kanye clearly isn’t joking. This isn’t a big ‘troll.’ There may be elements of irony, but the guy is serious (as serious as he can be). His absurd megalomania has been amply demonstrated for years. People love him for it (not me), but to think that he would somehow stop short of a turn to the far right, the natural political expression of such an exaggerated mentality, is short-sighted. 

Second, Kanye is overrated. He is talented, particularly instrumentally and with beats in a way often seemingly rare in hip-hop. Tangentially, in this grandiose and narcissistic climate, he is a natural cultural figure. But there is an enormous volume of music, contemporary and not, that is better than his. In recent hip-hop alone, A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here…. Thank You 4 Your Service (2016) was better than anything I’ve heard from Kanye. Maybe it’s a personal judgment. I don’t think so.

Those willing to reconsider the sincerity, half-baked and eccentric as it is, of his recent sentiments might also continue and reconsider the general importance of Kanye in our cultural climate. Is he necessary? Maybe not.

Will Solomon writes a newsletter, Nor’easter, on climate and environment in the Northeast US. He can be found on Twitter and elsewhere at @wsolol.