“Kanye is a pioneer.” ~ Donald Trump Jr.
October 29, 2019 11:28 AM   Subscribe

All the Wrong People Love Jesus Is King [The Root] “Like many black folks, I grew up in a deeply religious household. That meant prayers before every meal, three church services a week on Sundays and Wednesdays, and pretending like a lot of gospel rappers weren’t fucking terrible. Thankfully, now I’m a grown-ass man who no longer attends vacation bible school or is coerced into turning a blind eye to Reverend Pastor Deacon Elder’s frequent extramarital excursions. So with my days of church pews and altar calls well behind me, I can say what a lot of lying ass Christians can’t: that this new Kanye album is some bullshit.”

• Kanye West, Heretic by Nature, Finds God [The New York Times]
“In an interview with Beats 1 Radio last week, he rejected the term “entertainer” to describe his current role: “I’m not here for anyone’s entertainment.” It’s clear that music commands merely a fraction of West’s attention these days — he is married with four children, he runs a successful apparel and footwear company and he’s exploring sustainable housing design — but later in the interview, he described continuing to make music as a cosmic responsibility, a symbol of his faith: “I believe because God has given me a gift that I prayed for and so many people love, that if I stop doing it, he might start to take other things away.” In other words, music is the anchor. That West’s turn to gospel has been met with skepticism is no different from the doubt he was faced with when he first arrived in hip-hop in the early 2000s. Then, he was a disruptive outlier with charisma and force of will, reluctantly embraced. But over time, his heresy has come to look a lot like faith. Funny how that works.”
• Kanye West found God. Did he lose himself along the way? [The Washington Post]
“By now, it’s clear that West has no real ideology. He only believes in provocation. Oh, and Jesus. So why does this album — which finally came out on Friday after West had blown through numerous self-imposed deadlines — sound so thin, so incoherent, so incomplete, so uncommitted, so insincere? As a producer, he’s worn out his tactics, from the crinkly soul samples, to the Auto-Tuned sneers, to the renta-choirs who always sound 20 times more prepared to do their job than West ever does. Is the stunt-solo from Kenny G on “Use This Gospel” really the most invigorating sound to be heard on this whole thing? There are no curse words on the lyric sheet, and that’s a first. West has said he’s going to sanitize all the naughty parts of his old songs in future concerts, too. But this tiny gesture only underscores how morally superficial “Jesus Is King” ultimately feels, dividing the complexity of the human experience into good and bad, righteousness and sin. West doesn’t want his newfound faith to feel complicated. “[I’m] wrestling with God,” he raps on “Follow God,” a church organ keening in the corner of the room. “I don’t really wanna wrestle.” That means “Jesus Is King” is either an attempt at self-erasure or an act of self-delusion.”
• Kanye West’s True Salvation on “Jesus Is King” [The New Yorker]
“On his groundbreaking album “Yeezus,” from 2013, Kanye West made his most ostentatious declaration yet: “I am a god,” he announced, on a song of the same name. He deified himself with such confidence that he spoke this status into being. As a tormented genius who’d defied expectations and successfully transformed himself from a pesky, overconfident beatmaker to a rap icon and footwear-industry titan, West was as close to a secular god as there was, with millions of worshipful followers behind him. But plenty has shifted in the past six years, a period marked by some successes for West but also by debt, mental illness, hospitalization, and an ill-conceived alliance with President Trump. [...] If West once imagined himself as a religious figurehead, now, in the wake of career-threatening turbulence, he’s assumed the role of humbled disciple. At least, this is the conceit of “Jesus Is King,” West’s new album and a document of an alleged spiritual awakening.”
• Christianity is the unwavering focus of Kanye’s gospel album [Pitchfork]
“Recorded (and, apparently, re-recorded) in the months after he announced a recommitment to Christianity, the album is West’s first offering in the wake of Sunday Service, the performance series he’s turned into something of a global church brand. As West sells it, figuratively and literally, Jesus Is King is a repudiation of his past sin, an absolution, a blank slate from which to spread the word of a very specific God, one whose blessings rain down on a cul-de-sac in Calabasas and a ranch in Jackson Hole. [ ...] There is not enough depth here to distract from his politics, or to complicate them. It’s an album of slogans, dashed-off and too short, and as he continues to test the edge between spontaneous and half-finished, it gets harder to ignore the facts hovering outside the frame. His call for the abolishment of the 13th Amendment, for example, is in direct opposition to his avowed support of a racist, punitive, incarceration-obsessed president. Yes, the bassline on “Water” is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time, but a moment like this feels like a consolation, not a highlight. Kanye albums used to stretch our perspectives and imaginations. Now they illuminate the contours of his increasingly shrunken world.”
• Kanye West's 'Jesus Is King,' Like Its Creator, Asks A Little Too Much Of Us [NPR]
“West, who just six years ago literally declared "I Am a God" on record, can't spin that feel out of thin air. On the new "On God," he tries to turn his narrative around, insisting that all his material success is "on God," i.e. because he's accepted Jesus. This flirts with a kind of prosperity gospel, premised on the shaky belief that net worth is a metric for spiritual salvation. It is, however, on-brand for an artist as historically self-important as West; one can imagine he'd make for a compelling megachurch minister. And yet, in the spirit of generosity, there is a part of me that wants to embrace the idea of a newly reformed Kanye. On one of the most traditional gospel songs on the album, "God Is," he sings alongside the Sunday Service choir, his voice wavering and warbling. It's an imperfect performance, but it feels like this is West trying to bare himself, to put aside ego and perfectionism in the face of something greater. For a moment, you can almost believe him.”
• Kanye West Strains His Voice on Jesus Is King [The Atlantic]
“His old tropes of embattlement in a world of doubters and users have simply been scrubbed of profanity and retrofitted with Jesus and Judases. By staying gauzy and aphoristic, strident and coy, he’s able to evade difficult questions about whether, for example, his affection for Chick-fil-A comes with a side of bigotry. Between the brash-beautiful production and the propagandistic lyrics, Jesus Is King doesn’t depict one man’s faith journey, but rather one man’s continuing Messiah complex—even as he professes new humility. He’s not coming to Christianity; he’s coming to conquer it. “This ain’t ’bout a damn religion / Jesus brought a revolution,” he says on “God Is,” and on “Hands On” he disses other Christians for doubting him. West wants to redesign the Church in the same way he has, in the past, wanted to redesign hip-hop, and sneakers, and affordable housing. The stylish and cold Jesus Is King movie worked along the same lines—bringing iPhone maximal-minimal sleekness to a millennia-old institution. Religion, though, entails not just design but also beliefs, and West doesn’t really do ideology. His voice commands, yet he doesn’t know what to say.”
• Kanye West’s New Album Is Intermittently Divine [Slate]
“His main error, I think, is in not relying even more extensively on the choir and developing Jesus Is King into more of a complete gospel album, at the expense of being quite as much of a true Kanye record. Only a few tracks here even break the three-minute mark, and even then West often seems to be scraping the barrel for lyric ideas (viz. the “Eve made apple juice” bit on “Everything We Need”). Perhaps it was the urge to get in and out fast, leaning on the element of surprise, but West’s best work is almost always more extended, trafficking in themes and variations, in diptychs and triptychs. Ultimately, I feel as though I took more gospel feeling away from Life of Pablo, despite its many profane passages. While what’s left out of Jesus Is King, in terms of vice and self-indulgence, arguably counts as much as what is there, it suffers by using the Sunday Service choir mostly like a special effect rather than highlighting the individual voices within it across tracks, to lend it the texture and dynamics one hears in a really great gospel ensemble—for an example, you need stray no further than comparing “Every Hour” to what you hear from Cleveland’s people on “God Is.” What’s more, putting a spotlight on the choir ensemble would have been more a proof of humility from West than anything he can proclaim verbally.”
posted by Fizz (43 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Imma let you finish but Krishna is one of the best gods of all time.
posted by ejs at 11:38 AM on October 29, 2019 [54 favorites]

[Pre-emptive note: if you just think Kanye sucks or always sucked or who cares, please don't comment here. Kanye is always a difficult topic; you might dislike him personally and that's fine. But be aware there's always an extra layer of baggage for posts about many black cultural figures, so dismissive and negative comments land as extra racist. So please just skip it. Thank you.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:40 AM on October 29, 2019 [45 favorites]

I didn't really listen to Life of Pablo, and I'm probably not going to listen to this - much less since Kanye decided to go MAGA. This comment on the FPP article seems fairly reasonable though:

Look, I am 100% for people (re)discovering their faith. But when I listened to this album it really confirmed for me what I’ve suspected for a while now regarding Ye’s own “born again” path. It’s the path that people at their lowest find, and it fills them with so much euphoria that they just go headfirst in, not even a breath before diving completely into it. CoS (I think) said in a review that this album showed all the dogma but none of the actual faith, and I think that is pretty spot on. Because this type of faith is just like a drug, it’s all euphoria and craving it more and more. But eventually the euphoria wears off, and all you’re left with is the daily work of faith. People in this type of “born again” faith (who are often people with mental illness or a history of addiction, I was the former) are all in as long as they can ride the high of grace. But then when they come down, it’s much harder to hold onto your faith. When it isn’t all sunshine, and it becomes work, they just go back to the depths that the born again faith pulled them up from.
posted by codacorolla at 11:40 AM on October 29, 2019 [29 favorites]

Over the past few years we've been watching a man have a mental breakdown on television and I find this very sad. He needs help. He has made some great art and some not great art but his trajectory is that of a man spiraling out of control and since his quirkiness is what makes his managers and handlers money they aren't interested in getting him treatment.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:42 AM on October 29, 2019 [31 favorites]

Kanye: God gave me a $68 million tax refund.

"As humbly as I can put it, He’s using me to show off," the musician said. "Last year, I made $115 million and still ended up $35 million in debt. This year, I looked up, and I just got $68 million returned to me on my tax returns. And people say, 'Oh, don't talk about these numbers.' No, people need to hear someone that had been put into debt by the system talk about these kind of numbers now that they’re in service to Christ."
posted by dnash at 11:44 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

"And people say, 'Oh, don't talk about these numbers.' No, people need to hear someone that had been put into debt by the system talk about these kind of numbers now that they’re in service to Christ."

Oh, he's preaching the prosperity gospel (Wikipedia) now?

CoS (I think) said in a review that this album showed all the dogma but none of the actual faith, and I think that is pretty spot on.

I think that commenter is talking about Consequence of Sound's review but I didn't find anything akin to that in their review. But their closing line is worth repeating:

"Essential Track(s): The first old Kanye song your player of choice skips to after Jesus Is King ends."

May I suggest Otis, by Kanye + Jay-Z? That's been lodged in my head on-and-off for a few weeks now. Not sure if the reborn Kanye will be playing this one, though. "Lord, please let them accept the things they can't change. And pray that all of their pain be champagne."

If you want to dig through his new album's lyrics, here it is on Genius.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:57 AM on October 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

I think so much of this stinks of stunt marketing, but that's not surprising. That has been the language with which Kanye has been speaking to us for the last decade or so. I am glad to see that people are not really falling for it.

The only album of Kanye's that I've really enjoyed in the last decade was his collaboration with Kid Cudi KIDS SEES GHOSTS, but outside of that, Kanye has just been one disappointment after the other.

I truly hope he continues to receive help for his mental health and that he lives a healthier life. I'm just not here for this stunt.
posted by Fizz at 11:58 AM on October 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

"In an interview with Beats 1 Radio last week, he rejected the term “entertainer” to describe his current role: “I’m not here for anyone’s entertainment."

That's for dang sure.
posted by Billiken at 12:08 PM on October 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Metafilter: Not here for anyone's entertainment.
posted by Billiken at 12:09 PM on October 29, 2019 [11 favorites]

this record just made me want to go listen to yeezus again, since it’s an objectively perfect album
posted by JimBennett at 12:09 PM on October 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

I just want to say that sampling gospel is badass and if anything good comes of this, it's that we see other great hip hop artists release albums that are thematically focused on gospel. It's been done in the past but I wouldn't mind seeing more of it. Old old ollllllllld gospel is a goldmine.
posted by nightrecordings at 12:30 PM on October 29, 2019 [9 favorites]

[One comment deleted. Not everybody may be aware of this context, so to fill people in: this site has had some very long conversations about racism in the last several months, and ways members of color have felt racist comments etc were badly handled and people have asked us moderators to be more proactive about responding. Kanye threads are almost always exceptionally difficult, because there are real criticisms and then there are baseless kneejerk criticisms, and commenters aren't always clear about which kind they're making or how much knowledge it's based on, and readers are left to judge who's making the comment and from what background. So if you're commenting please try to make it clear that you at least are knowledgable enough about Kanye to offer informed thoughts beyond he sucks, or he embodies some racist stereotype.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:40 PM on October 29, 2019 [21 favorites]

I've been seeing Forgotten: The Things We Lost In Kanye's Gospel Year, by Ashon Crawley, linked a lot:

If we use Zora Neale Hurston as our guide, we can understand that the black church has always been a place of class antagonism, and we can use that complexity to think about current trends in popular culture. We can wrestle with how political and economic critique have been separated out from performance, leaving the mere style, the mere method. And we can wrestle with the transformation of that style and method into that which it was created to critique. We can see a kind of disavowal of political and economic dissent, and then a superseding of what has been disavowed. After such a separation of style from substance, we can sense how some people desire to repurpose the style for any political or economic reality.

Crawley is a really interesting guy. I've only read excerpts from Black Pentacostal Breath but it's pretty neat.
posted by Frowner at 12:44 PM on October 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

I will always care about Kanye because of how meaningful his music has been in my life. I want the best for him, and even though it’s not my life and I’m not in charge of what’s best for him, I can’t imagine this is it. Either way I hope his best days are still ahead.
posted by sallybrown at 12:55 PM on October 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

There's been a fair amount of armchair psychologist diagnoses of Kayne on the internets as of late and I'm neither here nor there on Kanye but I really hope he is actually OK.
posted by GuyZero at 1:00 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Who knows, but it sure seems like he's not very into making music anymore. The whole album seems thrown together the night before it was due.
posted by ejoey at 1:05 PM on October 29, 2019

Who knows, but it sure seems like he's not very into making music anymore. The whole album seems thrown together the night before it was due.

It also seems like a rehabilitation of his reputation from when he leaned into MAGA/Trumpism. And this is what has that stink of a PR stunt. Kanye is a very talented artist but so much of his exterior life seems like a distraction from him actually performing/recording music. I do miss the old Kanye.
posted by Fizz at 1:09 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

This reminds me of Tim Tebow or the Duck Dynasty guys or Chick-fil-A or Hobby Lobby. Shamelessly using faith as a marketing tool. If you can get in, you get a rabidly loyal fan base that won't leave you for anything.
posted by JDHarper at 1:11 PM on October 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

The whole album seems thrown together the night before it was due.

Which is peculiar given that Kanye himself blew past several self-imposed deadlines leading up to its release. The album "Yandhi" was started in August of 2018 and was originally going to come out in September of that same year and that formed the genesis of this new release that comes out over a year later.
posted by hippybear at 1:29 PM on October 29, 2019

Kanye is officially canceled!

Haven't listened to the new one but he has always been a combination of brilliant and incredibly stupid. One of the greatest producers in hip hop, without a doubt, and this nonsense will tarnish his legacy. I'll choose to remember Katrina-outrage Kanye.
posted by dis_integration at 1:46 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I listened to Water because Pitchfork said it had a good bassline and it does but other than that, it sounds like pop Christian music. If that was his goal, he nailed it.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:54 PM on October 29, 2019

There's absolutely nothing wrong with gospel music or pivoting to gospel music. There's a history of musicians transitioning from gospel to secular and/or the flip, from secular to gospel.

I think this just feels a bit opportunistic and it is one of the reasons that people are a bit incredulous at this turn to faith from Kanye. It may very well be legitimate in which case, we'll see more gospel albums from Kanye down the road. That might yield some interesting releases, but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by Fizz at 2:01 PM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

The way the Right has embraced Kanye as he's started speaking churchese—and a particular flavor that worships power and prosperity over the poor and powerless—reminds me that the Right ultimately wants a homogenous culture, in which everyone marches lockstep to the same beat, under the same thumb. They gladly collect trophies of people that they previously excluded from their in-group once those people turn, wholly, to a gospel of dominance.

But Kanye (it pains me to admit), like many other supposedly post-Left people, was ripe for the change. When a person is from a marginalized group, it can be hard to tell if their fight for themselves is also a fight for the many, but time usually reveals all. See also, proponents of lean-in feminism, or really anyone committed to non-structural cultural critiques whose ultimate goal isn't liberation from the structure but the triumph of themselves, or tokens, within the existing status quo.

Personal liberation is seductive—it asks less and offers more immediate rewards than fighting for a different, more equal social and economic structure—and it is the Right's greatest recruitment tool. It's damn gross, but it isn't entirely surprising. Most people take the easier path.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:05 PM on October 29, 2019 [39 favorites]

I really enjoyed Life of Pablo, or the versions of it I wound up acquiring at least, and I think Yeezus is one of his best albums, which I know puts me in odd company but the experimentation and weirdness of them was compelling. The gospel elements of Pablo were great, I get frisson from Ultralight beam even though I fucking hate Christianity, it's shitty god, it's inhumane tenets and it's wicked, hateful, holy book. I try to practice separation of art and artist because if you don't, there's no art left to enjoy, all human beings ever are at least a little shitty if you look too close -- a philosophic element that I share with Christianity.

I'm always excited for new Kanye music and I admit I even enjoy hearing about his latest antics, even if they are pretty invariably the throes of a mentally-ill individual with too much power and attention and end up causing real harm to folks. He's certainly taken a dive for the worst with his MAGA heel-turn, but until now he hadn't really expressed that new shittiness through music. This, like, 20 minute album was trash. I would have believed you if you told me it was just some kid on youtube halfass aping Kanye's production. Lyrics lazy, message shitty, music mediocre, nothing to hook you or compel a further listen. Playing it at work, everyone had their own negative bit to say from all walks of kanye-opinion. The simplest comparison I can make is crappy pop-christian rap, people aware of a type of music and then beating it around to fit some weakass semi-religious junk into it.

I have to believe him when he says he isn't here to entertain, but I believe he is here to troll and make himself money. The only god he serves and believes in is still himself, which previously he openly acknowledged through his music, but now he's taking the sick cloak of America's pathetic Christianity and wrapping it loosely over himself. The old alternative isn't necessarily better, but t was more honest and direct. In many ways it's appropriate, just as American churches gorge themselves on mammon and un-christlike political ideologies.
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:19 PM on October 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

The whole album seems thrown together the night before it was due.

Which is peculiar given that Kanye himself blew past several self-imposed deadlines leading up to its release.

That only strengthens the sense of pathological procrastination. Yeezus was when it started - the production is still among his best but he has admitted that he threw most of the lyrics together at the last minute and it shows. Since then it's just gotten worse.
posted by atoxyl at 2:27 PM on October 29, 2019

Everybody wanted Yandhi
Then Jesus Christ did the laundry

posted by chavenet at 2:43 PM on October 29, 2019

Dylan did this and still won a Nobel Prize, so maybe Kanye is playing a long game.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:59 PM on October 29, 2019 [10 favorites]

I listened to "Use This Gospel" and "No Body", and eh. Even with all that help: Clipse, Kenny, Nicki, and Ty, it's... I didn't feel anything. You know what I mean? Listening was an empty and unsatisfying experience. I'll stick to Mavis, Andraé, Aretha, Take 6, and Tramaine Hawkins when I want to hear gospel.
posted by droplet at 3:19 PM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

I listened to Water because Pitchfork said it had a good bassline

Courtesy of Bruce Haack's "Blow Job". It's a curious juxtaposition - while Haack made a concept album about a war between heaven and hell, this tune dates from something like a decade later and could hardly be more disaffected and profane.

"Welcome to second best my friend;
the living part of life is just a blow job."

posted by solarion at 3:21 PM on October 29, 2019

Over the past few years we've been watching a man have a mental breakdown on television and I find this very sad. He needs help. He has made some great art and some not great art but his trajectory is that of a man spiraling out of control and since his quirkiness is what makes his managers and handlers money they aren't interested in getting him treatment.

Kanye is the new Britney.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:54 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

"Jesus is King" - Kanye

"I am a God" - Kanye

"What's a king to a god?
What's a god to a non-believer?"
-Frank Ocean, on a track by Kanye and Jay-Z
posted by miguelcervantes at 5:44 PM on October 29, 2019 [9 favorites]

The ‘come-to-Jesus’ album seems to be something that mature artists occasionally put out. There’s the Dylan one, and… uh…

The problem is that a come-to-Jesus album is usually inspired by a deep internal experience. A personal experience. Which, I guess, isn’t usually as relatable as songs about sex, love, and money. But who else did one of these albums? I want to say… Marvin Gaye? Maybe one or two of the Beatles?
posted by The River Ivel at 5:47 PM on October 29, 2019

posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:49 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just once I want to see a narcissist demonstrate his newfound love for Christ by, you know, dropping the narcissism.
posted by ocschwar at 5:52 PM on October 29, 2019 [18 favorites]

But who else did one of these albums?

Kerry Livgren of Kansas found Jesus and left and formed AD, a christian rock band. Even while he was with Kansas he released a solo album, Seeds Of Change.

Barry McGuire who had a solo career (Eve Of Destruction) as well as working with New Christy Minstrels got born again and released the album Seeds on Christian label Myrrh. One track off of that is Love Is.

B.J. Thomas (Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, Hooked On A Feeling) converted and released the album Home Where I Belong on Myrrh, which was the first Christian album to go platinum. Here's the title track.

There are bunches more of these stories. These are just the ones I know off the top of my head.
posted by hippybear at 6:13 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I used to be the kind of person who was proud of never boycotting things. If something sucked, I let it suck on its own merits, and I was proud of that. Then Kanye happened. Dude is married to a Kardashian and wears a MAGA hat.

Now, I get my ego kicks holding him up as proof that cancel culture doesn't exist, because if it did, I wouldn't have to keep f**king hearing about this man.
posted by saysthis at 7:28 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Kanye West Is Still Talking About Running For President (dlisted.com, last week)

Ten bucks says Trump has been encouraging Kanye to run, thinking this is his best bet for a pardon.
posted by ejs at 9:26 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I can report that a good number of my fundamentalist Baptist family and friends are absolutely on board. Make of that what you will.
posted by Optamystic at 2:58 AM on October 30, 2019

This album has an accompanying IMAX film. It was filmed in light artist James Turrell's legendary, and legendarily unfinished, Roden Crater project in Arizona. West donated ten million dollars to the project, which means that the timeline in which Rodan Crater will be open to the public is several years, instead of maybe never.

I don't listen to pop music and am only kind of vaguely aware of Kanye West, and I like it that way. But I am in love with Turrell's work and thought it unlikely that I'd ever be able to see Roden Crater in person in my lifetime. I am dying to get a glimpse of it in the movie and will pay the full IMAX ticket price to see bits of it in a half hour (!) film. In all the craziness and controversy about this guy, I'm glad and grateful that he sent some of his money and social capital to support the work of an artist of a completely different kind.
posted by Sublimity at 3:06 AM on October 30, 2019 [11 favorites]

The album "Yandhi"

Is that a thing? Like for real? He's making an album called YANDHI? I'm here with my pitchfork nonviolent protest along with a billion others, hopefully.

Probably I should be grateful it wasn't spelled YHANDI.
posted by MiraK at 5:57 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

He WAS making an album called Yandhi. That project morphed into this current release.
posted by hippybear at 6:26 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Over the past few years we've been watching a man have a mental breakdown on television and I find this very sad. He needs help. He has made some great art and some not great art but his trajectory is that of a man spiraling out of control and since his quirkiness is what makes his managers and handlers money they aren't interested in getting him treatment.

Counterpoint: his output is what made money. "George Bush doesn't care about black people" and "Imma let you finish" defined the legacy, but even then there were people annoyed that Kanye the Personality was overshadowing Kanye the Artist. If anything, his "quirkiness" has been poisoning the well for years. But his mother is dead, his in-laws are Kardashians, his managerial situation is complicated, and I'm always a bit skeptical that big celebrities even have friends. (Do artists he signed to his label count?) Who gets to decide what kind of help he needs? And what kind of treatment are we talking about here? He's functioning, so I'm not sure we can explain him away as substance abuse. Megalomania? He's been a walking, talking God complex from the start. Being problematic in general? Uh...I can't be the only one who remembers "Workout Plan" off his best-selling album.

Kanye is 42. He's been famous for 15 years. He's in a very similar position to all the famous comedians who have been coasting since their big hits. The comedians have the tools they developed through years of stand up (timing, observation) but their POV is all fucked now. They can't relate to regular people anymore. They can still manage some funny bits because they know how to set up a joke and land it, but they don't bother trying to workshop what doesn't work. They assume that the audience isn't responding the right way because the audience is wrong. They want their $68 million dollar tax breaks.

A lot of rich people start finding things to like about Republicans after they get rich. A lot of older people start to feel alienated from Democrats when they don't want to treat [women, gays, minorities, trans persons, etc] decently. A lot of celebrities start to appreciate the fervency of right-wing fans when they're less relevant to the mainstream. The only thing that makes the Kanye situation notable is that he doesn't have the shame to keep quiet about his decision to muck around with far-right political figures.

I haven't listened to the gospel album. 30 minutes seems really short, though.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:00 AM on October 30, 2019 [8 favorites]

i'm not sure how much this and the album overlap but i really enjoyed a bunch of this "sunday service"->

certainly i would be more likely to attend a local church if it was full of performers as good and excited as these!
posted by danjo at 5:34 AM on October 31, 2019

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