Kanye West got his break out as an artiste through his Christian record Jesus walks where he made us believe that a Jesus record could be bumped in the club. That was a unique thing in that tim e where records about getting shot sold more but Yeezy managed to break through those barriers to bring something new to the table.
Growing up I always felt that he was not too deep and not to hard, he had a balance I related to especially after listening to Family Business on college drop out and records like all falls down. Later he began to conguse us with symbolism, maximalist art and what not. The rapper has an ego and outbursts at media but amidst all this we still find a few things to learn from Kanye that will differentiate us from the average artiste.
Firstly Kanye teaches us to hold back limiting beliefs. If anyone does that well in hip-hop it’s kanye. Kanye West will challenge the norm and hold do something because that’s what he wants to do before he considers societal reaction. Well sometimes this has put him in documentaries as being part of secret societies (which he denies and laughs off). I’m not the one to defend him on that but basically let’s say he challenges taboos and limiting beliefs. He challenges class-ism and questions the validity of some limiting beliefs people hold about what Hip-hop should be limited to.
For example as soon a s he starts doing anything classy the average person says he is doing something “white” as if black people are only supposed to rap about poverty and crack. Kanye West will put elements in music that you think are not supposed to be in “Hip-hop” and that’s what makes him stand out from you and others.
Secondly, Kanye is not afraid to experiment with new things. He definitely does not stay in his comfort zone, sometimes that’s where he loses me but hey you will realize he has pioneered many trends in fashion and beats. I look at music today and I’m really like, “No way!!!”. Be reminded that Jesus Walks itself and the whole college drop out album was him trying a new thing. He did not follow the trend of the time, he created the trend. He bent the rules of that time and that distinguishes you from me once again.
Most rappers would like to follow trends. They want to do Nigerian sound when they are Zimbabwean because Nigeria sells. Kanye will take the same Nigerian sound and do something amazing with it before he hands it back as it is.
If you are a Zimbabwean artiste, why can’t you also do that? Okay you admire Nigerian and South African sound I understand, but instead of remaking the same thing why don’t you take it and twist it like Oliver Twist.
Lastly, from kanye I learnt that one can be able to gain authority in their niche through speaking their mid. I’m not a big Kanye West fan as I used to be but I cannot deny the things I learnt while I was.