Much like the man himself, my one-way relationship with Kanye West has always been a fickle one. I think I heard his name for the first time when the VMAs/Taylor Swift fiasco flooded news outlets and social media platforms back in 2009. Suffice it to say, it was only a couple of years ago when I actually started to listen to his music. His 2010 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy played in the background during my silkscreen workshops. Until then, I neither sought nor was exposed to rap music. I remember thinking that each track melded beautiful instrumentation with shrewd and often profane lyricism; as per its title, the album married elegance with honest vulgarity. For whatever reason, this balance was striking to me and informed what I considered to be Kanye’s genius. This year’s The Life of Pablo bolstered these opinions and drove me to accept my friends’ invitations to go see him in Sacramento this last weekend.
Of course I had expectations going into the concert. I wanted to be moved. I wanted to cite that night as a memorable one with my friends. I wanted to write an article praising his lyrical brilliance and the careful, deliberate crafting of his tracks. When “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” started playing, I felt ecstatic. I turned to see my friends, and they looked excited to see Kid Cudi with him on the floating stage. Soon enough, for whatever reason, Kanye West cut his concert short after a medley of three songs and a minutes-long rant. He said, “Get ready to have a field day, press. Get ready, get ready. Because the show’s over.” He dropped the mic. And he left. The lights turned on, and the audience stirred. Many started to chant, “F**k you, Kan-ye!”
As we walked up the steps towards the exit, we saw a group of guys gathered in a circle looking clearly upset. One of them started to perform the “I Love Kanye” track from The Life of Pablo. And it was hauntingly appropriate. He started, “I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye/The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye/I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye…” Others quickly joined in.
In the same vein, I wanted to write a rant about Kanye for this week’s article. Appropriate, no? But after hearing about his recent hospitalization, I just couldn’t.
The details surrounding his admission into the UCLA Medical Center are still a little unclear, but it is enough to say that Kanye is getting the help he needs — especially amid reports of him suffering from exhaustion and a mental breakdown.
I’m finding it difficult to reconcile my feelings for his art with his erratic and arrogant behavior. Part of me thinks it’s because I feel personally betrayed, but the more knowing part of my brain is aware that I’ve always grappled with this when it comes to Kanye. Call it the Kanye Paradox; yes, he’s offensive and tactless, but he makes innovative art that is worthy of admiration.
Hopefully, he comes out of medical care feeling better and is met with the support he needs. Regardless of my own (and others’) feelings of betrayal, this is my wish for him.
None of the materials used belong to the author or Her Campus UC Davis.