Kanye West has been in the news quite a lot in recent times and increasingly not for the right reasons. Most recently, the rapper was hospitalized for exhaustion (which many insiders claim was actually a mental breakdown). Fans awaiting to hear his very unique brand of inventive R&B on the Saint Pablo tour were in for disappointment after the star canceled 21 of the planned shows. But for those who have been following Kanye West’s life since his grand entry into the world of music, this is perhaps not something unexpected. After all, Kanye’s public image has shifted significantly over the course of his career, from humble rap prodigy to an entrepreneur with clothing and shoe lines and many plans that don’t involve his music even tangentially, including, if he is to be believed, political aspirations come the 2020 presidential elections. To put it simply, Kanye hasn’t really seemed like Kanye for quite some time now and this is something that a lot of people have commented on publically over the past few months.
He’s got a little self- exploration going on…
In fact, it may not be wrong to say that Kanye has been feeling this himself too. The star has mentioned quite a few times that he misses the ‘old Kanye’, a clear indication that the artist has moved away from his roots quite dramatically and he knows it. If you’ve heard The Life of Pablo, a few of the songs seem to indicate this mindset, such as I love Kanye & no more parties in L.A. Whether he intended to do this or not remains another question, even now but the fact that he likes the old Kanye speaks volumes about his current state of mind.
Kanye’s life has been a roller coaster ride and he has given rise to much of the controversy surrounding his authenticity with his contrasting stances now and back then. His lifestyle has shifted dramatically from his early backpacking, suave, schooled style in the early years of his career to the 100% Hollywood ‘icon’ persona that he seems committed to now.
On the personal front too, Kanye West has faced some dramatic changes. He left his high school sweetheart and what seemed to be a fairytale romance to marry high profile reality TV star turned business maven, Kim Kardashian. He is facing some backlash from fans too, who are making it clear that they too want the old Kanye back. But, it appears that Kanye West has just lost the way to his old self. He is struggling to keep it ‘real’ and this is evident in his music too.
J Cole’s song only underlined the artist’s internal struggle
Kanye is trying hard to retain the authenticity that drew him closer to the masses and made them adore him for the hard hitting, completely genuine music that only he could manage to deliver time after time. Today, the tables seem to have turned with even his fellow artists calling him out on his apparent move away from his roots. J Cole’s ‘False Prophets’ track from the “4 Your Eyez Only” album seem to be putting in words what so many of Kanye’s die hard fans have been feeling for some time now. ‘He’s a star’, go the lyrics, ‘And we can’t look away due to the days when he caught our hearts’. Is Cole challenging Kanye? No one has said so directly but the lyrics are very, very apt.
There is no doubting that Kanye seems to be caught in the middle of an identity crisis. This was the man who screamed “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” at one point in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Now, to come to a point where he screams “he would of voted for Trump”, is a mighty turnaround indeed and one that shows how far Kanye has swerved from his own path. The difference is clear as night and day.
People close to Kanye believe that much of the see-sawing can be attributed to the holiday season and the many bad memories it brings up for Kanye. Losing his mother in November of 2007 has ever since been incredibly difficult for Kanye to get through without an episode. They say that the emotional drain that ensues annually since her passing is actually one of the reasons why Kanye seems to be coming around to taking the easy way with Hollywood influences coloring his music quite heavily. The Kanye West from his “College Dropout” days may not be evident right now nor his music upbeat and empowering the way it once was, but we hope that his fight for authenticity does end with a win for him!