The Parthenon

Another Kanye think piece: Stop overthinking Kanye

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#CODINUNDRUM: A column about random pop culture stuff, mostly Beyoncé

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I’m not going to talk about Beyoncé. There is nothing more to say than what has already been said. She deserved to take home the award for Album of the Year, but the National Academy of Recording Sciences, which tends to gravitate toward the old-school studio way of production, chose another equally deserving winner.

But I’m not going to talk about Beyoncé.

I will, however, talk about Kanye West.

Variety writer Andrew Barker said it best: “Kanye West is one of only a handful of modern working musicians who will likely have an entire chapter dedicated to him when the final volume of pop music history is written.”

As a huge fan of West’s music—and let’s just be honest, I’m obsessed with his total image—Grammys night was a good night for me. West has become increasingly tolerable and almost endearing to the general public, and his performances and light-hearted moments added to that view.

The next morning, however, as interviews and sound bites started to roll in from various entertainment news outlets, it was clear West’s somewhat evolved image had reverted back to square one.

As interviews and sound bites started to roll in from various entertainment news outlets, it was clear West’s somewhat evolved image had reverted back to square one.”

— Codi Mohr

His comments about Beck’s Album of the Year win ignited the Internet with several op-eds and think pieces. But they seem to be taking it all a bit too far and way too personally.

In my head, what really happened is as follows:

West walks the red carpet with his beautiful wife, does some interviews without sounding like a total self-centered jerk (thanks to questions being fielded by Kim), kills his solo performance of “Only One” and completely throws down with Paul McCartney and Rihanna in “FourFiveSeconds.

He takes his seat post-performance and prepares to congratulate Queen Bey on her imminent Album of the Year victory.

Prince opens the envelope. “And the Grammy goes to… Beck, ‘Morning Phase.’”

West, shocked, makes the most of the moment. If the world’s eyes aren’t going to be on Beyoncé, they’re going to be on him. He starts to climb the stairs, knowing the reactions behind him will distract viewers and audience members from watching Beck.

Inches from the microphone, West spins around and returns to his seat. The crowd loses its collective mind.

After the show, West and Kardashian-West do the obligatory interviews, and Kanye decides, in the moment, he wants his comical stunt to be symbolic.

So he calls out Beck for not deserving the award, and the world revolts against him once again.

First of all, why would the Academy seat someone with such a reputation so close to the stage? With West, there is always a potential, or maybe more of an inevitability, for controversy or spectacle, so why risk seating him so close to the action?

To label myself as the typical fan standing up for an artist who makes a mistake, Kanye’s just being Kanye. So he interrupts a silly award show. As someone who takes award shows of all kinds quite seriously, even I can admit how irrelevant it all is in the end.

Unfortunately I truly believe he never had any intention, originally, beyond a meta representation. But in his hunger for attention, West devised a way to keep his name in the headlines — as though he needed one.

The show is about recognizing artistry. Although West disagrees, the Academy is made up of industry men and women who, even if they choose more traditional winners, know music. They made their choice, right or wrong, and West is exploiting that choice for his own publicity, simple as that.

Codi Mohr can be contacted at [email protected]

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1 Comment

One Response to “Another Kanye think piece: Stop overthinking Kanye”

  1. Chris on February 11th, 2015 1:55 am

    I understand that you’re a huge fan but you give him far too much credit! Sure, when working in a studio, he is a musical genius…but give him a mic and a platform to speak (not sing/rap) on something he feels strongly about, and he becomes his own worst enemy. He is far too reactive, and has little to no filter to think on his feet. It’s clear that in those moments, he’s seeing red and can’t think straight, to the point of barely being able to articulate his thoughts. It’s uncomfortable to watch. There’s plenty of examples but the ultimate is the Katrina telethon.

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