This is a tough pill to swallow, but it might be over for Kanye West.
Wait, hold on, allow me to rephrase that.
As long as Kim Kardashian is around, it might be over for Kanye West.
By now, you’ve surely had your fill of his jabs at Nike on “Facts” that dropped on New Year’s Eve. And, try as you might, it’s hard to justify it as anything else than yet another subpar record that you wouldn’t dare try to pass off as a serious Kanye West song. It’s lazy as hell and lacks any substance whatsoever.
Kanye should be too big to release anything that’s a throwaway track, but he’s done it with “Facts” and it is further evidence that Mr. West is in a totally different space now that is affecting the quality of his music. This is something that we’ve been trying to cope with for several years as we wait for the next great Kanye West song.
Unfortunately, we’re still waiting.
“Blaming Kim Kardashian might be an easy way out but what the hell else can you blame this on?”
We tried to put our all into “All Day” but it was just a massive clusterfuck of nothingness. “FourFiveSeconds” sounded better on paper than out of your speakers. Everything else that Kanye has touched lacks the fire and ingenuity of pre-Kim Kanye. It hasn’t all been necessarily “bad,” but it’s certainly a far cry from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It’s never fair to compare an artist to his original work, but the shift and subsequent drop off in quality of Kanye’s music over the past few years has been jarring, to say the least.
This might be worse than Nas going from “NY State Of Mind” to “Oochie Wally” because Nas was trying to crossover and not be stuck in Timberlands and Triple F.A.T. Goose jackets for the rest of his life. Kanye already made the transition from underground to mainstream and can pretty much do whatever he wants.
If I was somehow new to Kanye West’s music, and you played “Facts” for me, I’d slap you twice with both hands if you told me that this is the same guy who helped effectively bridge “conscious” Hip-Hop artists (i.e. Talib Kweli, Common & Mos Def) with the mainstream (i.e. Jay Z, Cam’ron & Ludacris).
That guy simply doesn’t exist anymore.
Blaming Kim Kardashian for Kanye West’s failure to launch might be a reach but it certainly feels like she’s had an impact on him musically. Think about it: MBDTF dropped in 2010, shortly after West and Amber Rose split. A year later, West and Jay Z released Watch The Throne to somewhat mixed results. West and Kardashian went public in 2012 and it’s been an uneven ride ever since. Yeezus was indicative of West moving away from his musical roots and into something that sounded less like a calculated risk and more like “I’m just gonna do whatever I want.” We yearned for more “Blood On The Leaves” than “On Sight.” Even if you loved the album, you were aware that this was a different Kanye West.
He seems more infatuated with fashion than making music these days. “Facts” signals that by his chest-thumping dis toward Nike with his “Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman” proclamation. Honestly, nobody cares about Kanye vs. Nike except, well, Kanye. Oh, and maybe Kim.
“Facts” would be acceptable if it were a parody record because it parallels Drake and Future’s “Jumpman” like an SNL skit. But, it’s not. An artist as creative as Kanye should never be that languid in his approach to music. The lyrics – which have arguably never been Kanye’s strong suit – are borderline laughable with his references to Steve Harvey’s Ms. Universe mishap and Bill Cosby’s legal issues lazily presenting themselves. It just isn’t clever.
Of all the things that Kanye could talk about, especially considering the current climate between African-Americans and police, you’d like to think that there’s something more important than listening to him wage war against a multi-billion dollar company. But here, the depth is as deep as a kiddie pool.
“If this is an indication of what SWISH will sound like, no thank you.”
You have to wonder if Kim Kardashian has become his muse. It sounds absolutely ridiculous but Kanye must play his music for his wife. And, not for nothing, Kim doesn’t quite come across as knowledgeable in the field of Hip-Hop. Remember when Big Daddy Kane said that he could “fart on a record, trust me nigga it’ll sound good” on “Show & Prove?” Well, it was hyperbole to Kane and truth to Kanye. Kim will tell him no different.
Blaming Kim might be an easy way out but what the hell else can you blame this on? He’s older and a father of two, but that doesn’t mean you make uninspired music, does it?
He’s like Shaq trying his hand at shooting three pointers late in his career when he could still be a force in the paint if he wanted to. But, for whatever reason, he doesn’t want to do that anymore. And it doesn’t help if your wife is the ultimate yes (wo)man.
Who knows if Kanye is paying any attention to the reaction to “Facts.” If he is, maybe he’ll realize that he’s been dogging it and will find a source of inspiration somewhere. Maybe he’s trolling us. Who knows? But if this is an indication of what SWISH will sound like, no thank you. Like Roy Jones Jr. inexplicably stepping into the ring well past his prime and getting knocked ridiculous, I’d prefer to just remember Kanye for what he was rather than what he is. Because what he is doesn’t lend credence to the legend tag that he rightfully earned years ago.
We miss you Kanye. Please come back.