“Does he like mustard?” the magazine poses, as Kanye West looks off into the distance, a bright smile on his face. West, everyone’s favorite braggadocious hip hop aficionado has been the internet’s darling as of late. Recent news has found him on a fake Rolling Stones cover shot by Tyler the Creator, blowing up Twitter with his #trollingstone hashtag. I know what you’re thinking, are we really covering Kanye this week? Bear with us. Prior to the Rolling Stones cover Kanye took to Twitter in an epic rant, calling out Wiz Khalifa for his tweets towards KK (West’s own darling Kim Kardashian). West missed one thing though; Wiz, chronic pot head, was actually referring to his own strand of weed, titled aptly, Khalifa’s Kush. But such a mistake couldn’t stop Kanye from unleashing a torrent of equally strange and entertaining tweets, all numbered to avoid confusion of course. Some favorites include: “3rd no one I know has ever listened to one of your albums all the way through”; “maybe I couldn’t be skinny and tall but I’ll settle for being the greatest artist of all time as a consolation”; “You own waves??? I own your child!!!” Things got personal and nasty real quick but West was quick to offer a sincere apology days later for dragging Wiz’s family through the mud.
This isn’t the first time West has gone off on Twitter in an epic way “” and just like every time before it brings forth some harsh backlash. Kanye is well known for his ego. He certainly is an arrogant and narcissistic man, often sickeningly so. A recent claim sees him calling “˜Waves,’ his upcoming album, the “greatest album of all time.” A classic move for the College Dropout artist. But what strikes us as strange is the hatred that stems from such an attitude. We get it, vanity and narcissism are not the best traits to have. In a religious outlook they are grave sins. But a bit of ego does not make Kanye a monster “” he isn’t beating his partner or expressing racist and xenophobic views. There are degrees of bad, and one can be just as mad at those engaged in the latter acts as the former. But what is shocking is just how much hatred Kanye’s own confidence garners “” what happened to the love of the ego, the love for the strikingly bold and loud? We hold artists like Axl Rose, Liam Gallagher and John Lennon (who claimed he was more popular than Jesus. That’s right, JESUS), to be sexy and bold icons of music and stardom. They were braggadocious, loud and outright obnoxious at times. But they were the epitome of the musician everyone strove to be; just as loud, just as bold and just as crazy.
What happened to that desire? Where rock and roll, filled with sex and drugs, has transferred its reins to hip hop, filled with sex and drugs, the desire for superstars has died down. The minute Axl Rose came on stage crowds lost their mind “” people would certainly poke fun and criticize his ego and his crazy antics, but those traits were what made him such an interesting and powerful musician. But when Kanye West, an equally passionate and powerful musician boasts and brags, he is labeled as a nuisance and dismissed. All too often you hear people say that “Kanye makes good music but he is such an asshole/jerk/joke (insert insult of choice here) that I can’t handle him.” You even hear people put off by his ego so much they are unwilling to even listen to his music. If you can’t separate the music from the person then so be it. If you don’t like hip hop that’s fine. But the notion that an African American artist with an ego is so shocking and off putting speaks volumes about our society. And it isn’t just Kanye. When we have access to celebrities’ lives 24/7, thanks to social media and the advance of technology, it’s no wonder we often catch them at the worst. Could Kanye West stand to tone down his ego a bit? Of course. But does having a passion for your work and a sense of self worth, heaven forbid in an African American man, mean you shouldn’t be taken as a serious musician, artist, actor or fashion designer? Not at all. If people are so afraid of someone feeling powerful or confident in themselves that they feel the need even if it is often inflated too much, they might stand to get a little more confidence themselves.