Kanye West isn’t totally unlike cilantro. Some people go crazy for cilantro, they love it in their burritos, in their curry, their smoothies salads and pretty much anything else. Some people just really, really like cilantro.
Others can’t stand cilantro. They think it’s overpowering and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. They find it outspoken, arrogant and kind of an asshole. But I digress.
The night The Life of Pablo (T.L.O.P.) was first expected to be released I stayed up well past midnight, switching between the forums on Kanyetothe.com and r/Kanye on Reddit, becoming increasingly aware that this album wasn’t going to drop tonight, as promised.
Which came as no surprise. This was an album that had already undergone a cover change and three name changes as well as two different track lists released on Twitter just days apart. The Life of Pablo couldn’t just be released like any run of the mill hip-hop album, after all it was meant to be “the album of life” or something along those lines.
As I sat up until 2 a.m. sifting through the comment sections of subreddits and websites devoted exclusively to Ye, one thing became clear: Kanye wasn’t the only person who thought this was going to be the greatest album ever made.
Fanboys were already gushing, after having heard only the five or so tracks that had already been released. This ‘Kanye West might actually be a God among us’ sentiment was only taken further with websites like Pitchfork calling the album “the sound of a celebrated megalomaniac settling for his place in history,” — the review I’m sure Kanye knows it deserved.
But not everyone was so quick to designate TLOP a masterpiece ready to be locked away in the Smithsonian with everything else that has shaped Western culture as we know it today. Popular music vlogger Anthony Fantano gave The Life of Pablo a relatively disparaging review, as did The Guardian, which called the launch “at turns, rambling, chaotic, deeply underwhelming, impressively audacious, and completely infuriating, which, whether by default or by design, made it a perfect match for The Life of Pablo, an album that’s also all of those things.”
This brings me back to my initial point: people have already made up their minds about Kanye.
And I don’t think it’s the musician that polarizes people’s hate so much as this schtick that has become seemingly inseparable from the man himself.
That’s why the album itself drew so much flack: the name changes, the updated lyrics, the guess the what TLOP stands for to win a pair of Yeezys, are all part of this schtick of a creative genius beyond everyone else.
So, of course people are going to get up in arms when Kanye declares he’s “pretty sure me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous.”
Because that’s what Kanye does, he makes inflammatory remarks in really public forums. Kanye likes getting people riled up.
And evidently so does Kim. Posting those Snapchat videos purportedly showing Taylor Swift agreeing to the lyric she denounced reassured everyone who has been defending Kanye for the last five months that Taylor Swift is indeed a snake. This sent Taylor Swift fans back into the fiery rage from whence they came when they first heard that song in February.
What I’m getting at is it doesn’t really matter that Kim released those Snapchats and it certainly doesn’t matter what Kanye released as the music video for ‘Famous’. It was going to be either over the top or absolutely genius regardless of whether or not it featured a bunch of celebrities, Caitlin Jenner and George W. Bush included, all having a great big orgy.
If he released a three minute close up of an old McDonald’s cup in a urinal and called it an homage to Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’, some people would advocate it be played in the MoMA and the rest would advocate throwing it in the trash.
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