Monday, September 27, 2010

Kanye West IS Hip-Hop

Wake up people. Kanye West is the epitome of Hip-Hop. As controversial as that statement may might be true.


Hip-Hop is ever changing, unstable, unique, creative, trend setting, unorthodox, and most importantly for the sake of this article, MATURING.

Often unconnected individuals view Hip-Hop, solely as the one-time genre of music, that was different, so it was rebellious...uncanny...and even detrimental to future generations (#BigUps Tipper Gore). I'd have to disagree though. Hip-Hop is a culture, a way of life that extends far beyond music. We're talking language, film & television, fashion, sports, overall lifestyle. You name it, Hip-Hop's had its hand in it, somehow, some way. Very influential. Very controversial. Very (fill in the blank).

It is notorious for taking something, created by something, or someone else and making that "thing," its own success. Kind of like what Yeezy did to Chaka Khan's vocals, Nike's athletic footwear, and the Louis Vuitton brand. Yes, these are all very prominent figures in their own regard and industries, but no doubt, some have been introduced to them partly because of this third party.

There are certain incidences, songs, and images that come to mind when you think of Hip-Hop, and the same is true for when you think of Kanye West. There's Taylor Swift and her incapability to compete with Beyonce, there's G.W. Bush and the fact that he doesn't like black people, there's even some Grammy-award winning music, in the mix there somewhere...but bottom is a movement. He is a movement.

His entire career has been an intriguing metaphor, similar to the ones he creates and delivers ever so eloquently over the beats he cooks up in Hawaii, or wherever he actually makes them. Striving to reinvent himself, risking the loss of thousands of supporters...he does what he has to do. It is necessary. Staying at the top of your game is easy, for someone like Kanye. But staying at the top of this game, is a definite struggle for anyone. "Entertainment is one percent what you create and 99 percent how it's received, if you're on a mission to be great."

The Kanye West character that we swear we "know," possesses all of the same attributes I used earlier to describe Hip-Hop. Trendsetter? Yup. Unorthodox at times? Yes, indeed. Unstable? Unique? Creative? Yes, yes, and without a doubt. These characteristics, equip him with the tools required to make a serious impact on not just Hip-Hop, the culture...but life. Mine, and even yours.

Granted it may sound off the wall now, but what if I told you back in 1986 (although biologically impossible), that the Coca-Cola Company would hire rapper Kurtis Blow to endorse one of their newer soft drinks? And then do it again in 1993 with a rap duo (children, mind you) who wore their clothes backwards, and again in 2009 with a rapper from Toronto, Canada...all for the same drink.




OR I could have LIED to you and said in 1989 that in a few years the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences would present the first rap Grammy EVER to a rapper & a dj from Philly...who had nothing to talk about except how their parents drew on them.


OR, what if I told you back in 1996, that this kid from Brooklyn would one day grace the cover of Forbes 400 with Warren Buffet...while I played Reasonable Doubt out of my tape deck?



There existed a point where Hip-Hop was blatantly disregarded and ignored, even though it showed BIG potential, (check ADIDAS's gross sales numbers post the Run DMC move). And even now, Hip-Hop has proven itself multiple times. Here is a group of the most creative people in the world...moving together (even though at times it seems, we are light years apart). Nope, the "public" didn't like that idea. What's going to happen to our jobs? To our communities? To the way we conduct business? Those were their thoughts. Threatened, doesn't begin to describe how they felt/feel.

This recent XXL quote pretty much sums it up:

"To go from people not wanting to sign me to ending up at the Grammys completely annihilating shit. No one man should have all that power."

Hey Mr. West, you're absolutely right. But since you can't give it up...what do you plan to do with it?