Friday, April 20, 2018

Bigmouth strikes again

While everyone else seems to be enthralled and enraptured by Kanye's return to Twitter, it's fair to say I don't feel the same way.

West announced that he was back with characteristic humility, claiming: "Some people have to work within the existing consciousness while some people can shift the consciousness". And how has the man referred to by the Guardian's Jake Nevins as "hip-hop's pre-eminent and most brazen sage" gone about demonstrating that he's a consciousness shifter? By posting pictures of trainers and a series of gnomic tweets and  platitudes of the sort usually found superimposed on images of sunsets posted on Facebook by people you vaguely remember from school.

As vacuous as these might seem, he's declared that they aren't just tweets: "oh by the way this is my book that I'm writing in real time". Apparently, it's a work of philosophy - which suggests he has as tenuous a grasp of philosophy as he does of reality. This return to Twitter has been prompted by "an innate need to be expressive". But of course - it couldn't possibly be for anything so crass as the need to plug a forthcoming album or two, could it?

Not only is he spouting bullshit that people are incomprehensibly lapping up, though; he's also spouting contradictory bullshit. On the one hand, he announced that "As a creative your ideas are your strongest form of currency" and "You have to protect your ability to create at all cost"; and yet, a day later, he was insisting "too much emphasis is put on originality. Feel free to take ideas and update them at your will all great artist take and update" and "let's be less concerned with ownership of ideas. It is important that ideas see the light of day even if you don't get the credit for them. Let's be less concerned with credit awards and external validation".

The latter sentiment is of course very rich coming from someone who felt the need to interrupt Taylor Swift's speech at the 2009 MTV VMAs to make the case that Beyonce should have won the award, and it's much easier for someone in West's exalted position to say that anyone's ideas are fair game. But, on top of that, he said the precise opposite the previous day: if, as a creative, "your ideas are your strongest form of currency", then you can't happily allow them to be taken and used by others for free.

How this confused, nonsensical, pseudo-profound drivel isn't being called out as such is a complete mystery to me.

But at least, I suppose, he's not Morrissey.


Unknown said...

Ben, your condemnation of Kanye feels harsh considering his very real and public struggles with his mental ill health. At the end of 2016 he was in such a bad place he was hospitalised, for crying out loud. I'm unbothered by his Twitterings if this marks a very welcome return to the public stage, after more than two years since Pablo As no lesser luminary than Jay-Z pointed out during his recent interview with David Letterman, the man is a genius. Yes, he may have a Wildean sense of it, but he is certainly, uncompromisingly that: no one can listen to his seminal work on The Blueprint, let alone The College Dropout or Late Registration without being convinced. If I were asked to balance his 'philosophies' on creativity (which by the way, sound no more ridiculous than other pronouncements from famous musical types, I'm thinking of Eno and Bowie's 'Oblique Strategies' with such advice as "Do the washing up") with his many profound contributions to hip hop (and by short extension, pretty much all vital and interesting music of the last decade and a half), I'm cool with that. I hope he's well, surrounded by a loving family and loyal friends, I hope he's back to his best, and is happy doing what he's doing. Unfollow him on Twitter and play Through the wire, you'll feel much better.

Ben said...

But I'm not following him - I'm following lots of people who are retweeting his bloody tweets!