2/17/16

Dear Kanye . . .

Dear Kanye -

I want to start by clarifying that I was a HUGE fan of yours in 2000. Yes. 2000. Your work for Jay-Z's "The Blueprint". You changed and refined and - frankly - revived Mr. Carter's career.

In the four years between that album and the release of "Through the Wire" (still my favorite Kanye track) which you literally recorded through a wired-shut jaw following a near-fatal car crash and the "The College Dropout" album that followed you produced and guested/featured on so many tracks that I was sure you were going to be amazing. And you were. You really, really were.

We got our first glimpse of how brash and vulnerable you could be when you called out then-President George W. Bush's apathy for New Orleans and the black residents of the Ninth Ward. You were shaking. You seemed passionate and scared and uneasy but required to speak up. You were right - then.

You continued to push the envelope and you were creatively listless and you couldn't figure out (from a lay, outside perspective) if you wanted to be a rapper, artist, producer, creator, politician, advocate, provocateur, sex symbol, or a combination/all of the above. And if you had a better voice of sense in your ear you'd have figured it out a decade ago. But then your mother, very tragically, died in 2007 and you just sorta', well, lost me. Your upbeat tribute to Dr. West "Hey Mamma" was the last song of yours I truly loved. Because, like Kobe Bryant after his trip to Colorado, you were never the same in my eyes.

I get that you don't get up in the morning to please me. I'm old. I'm outta touch. I'm not into avant garde anything. I'm not into $500 sweatpants and I'm not into albums that even the artist who releases them describes as an "experiment".

You've lived your life to the fullest and you've loved and lost, loved and won, loved and married, had two children, and made all the friends and enemies, money and award-bait your unquestionable talent and ambition can bridle. I'm happy for you.

I'm officially giving up on you (stop laughing - we both know you don't care but I have to say this). Your inability to let go of a grudge against a woman who's only real offense was winning an award you felt should have gone to your friend Beyonce is difficult to fathom (if you and she were not famous and "entouraged" your treatment of her would have landed you criminal charges for harassment) but your rabid attack of her and claiming her fame is owed to you (she was, to clarify, guilty of winning an award you wanted for your friend to win so she was at least a wee famous already, right? And it is not like you and she share a ton of overlapping audience/fans.).

But that's not all. You claim that if venture capitalists were "serious" about helping the world they would invest in your music/vision instead of schools in Africa. You target a dude who's only real crime was getting high and having a strain of weed that shares your wife's initials and having a child with a woman you once loved. You brought an innocent child into your horrifying, selfish narrative. You claimed to "own" him and that child. How would you react if someone said that about YOUR children?

You mock Michael Jordan's products (then profess your love of/for him). You shout Bill Cosby's innocence from the rooftops (ignoring that he's admitted to drugging women). You flaunt your wealth and then ask for empathy for your debt (which is not "debt" but money spent in pursuit of your dreams - an amount of money very, very few will ever have to spend/squander to begin with . . . thousands drive cabs for years and years to save up $30,000 to get a "medallion"). You plan and negotiate and strategize your every move (down to your airbrushed t-shirts) and you make your own children part of the game. You defend your wife in the same sentence as you disparage people who have done less (or more - depending on the rant) than she ever did to deserve her wealth and fame (to clarify, your wife and her entire family are household names for exonerating a murderer, having sex on tape, and being naked).

Your music is still generally interesting (now that you're past your "unlucky in love" phase) and occasionally enthralling. Your talent is still something that if you were not "you" I wouldn't hesitate to listen to and openly adore. I'd sing its praises. I'd try to embrace it or wedge myself into its target audience. I'd really try.

But then you'd Tweet out one more drop of venom and hate toward some target that simply doesn't deserve it and you'd walk away from your role as son, father, husband, artist, provocateur and fall back into your old traps of being angry and disenfranchised besides having just about everything you might, otherwise, want in the world. Your rich, famous, talented, and iconic.

Let that be enough.

Sean