Monday, November 24, 2008

808's & Heartbreaks Debate

[NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: If you are the one reader who was wondering where the 808's & Heartbreaks post went as well as "The Breaks" post (featuring Ludacris Theater Of The Mind), BLOGGER, is what happened. EVEN WITH THE DISCLAIMER THAT WE HAVE AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR BLOG, they just went ahead and took the entire post down. So I've resposted it along with some new posts to cover the past weekend (see below). The Man with the invisible hand. Click on the picture. GREAT KANYE FADER INTERVIEW.]

I've been debating or not to post on Kanye West, ever since the whole Glow In The Dark tour show. For the 1 reader who actually remembers, I went to the show in LA and it really was just a confirmation of how much a circus Kanye has become. And when I saw Perez Hilton's review of the same show, that just put me over the edge (I mean is a having a backstage pass a part of the show now?). To recap, I thought the show didn't live up to the hype (the holograms, stage, etc. weren't as dope as I thought he billed on his blog) and even though it was amazing that it was just him on the stage for 90+ minutes straight, but the show felt forced and there was no interaction with the crowd at all (I felt like I was watching a video).

The thing that I've always loved about Kanye was his passion, balls out approach to his music/art (just not givin' a uck) and especially his recognition of the whole hypocrisy, dichotomy of life. Case in point, his lyrics:

I get down for my grandfather who took my momma

Made her sit that seat where white folks ain't wanna us to eat

At the tender age of 6 she was arrested for the sit in

With that in my blood I was born to be different

Now niggas can't make it to ballots to choose leadership

But we can make it to Jacob and to the dealership

That's why I hear new music

Kanye West - "Never Let Me Down", The College Dropout

See, a part of me sayin' keep shinin',

How? when I know of the blood diamonds

Though it's thousands of miles away

Sierra Leone connect to what we go through today

Over here, its a drug trade, we die from drugs

Over there, they die from what we buy from drugs

The diamonds, the chains, the bracelets, the charmses

I thought my Jesus Piece was so harmless

'til I seen a picture of a shorty armless

And here's the conflict

It's in a black person's soul to rock that gold

Spend ya whole life tryna get that ice

On a polo rugby it look so nice

How could somethin' so wrong make me feel so right, right?

Kanye West - "Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)", Late Registration

And there are other examples, but I don't want this to become more of a rant than it already has. To me, he was one of the first MC's to really recognize this and expose it on a more mainstream level. By the time Graduation & The Glow In The Dark tour came through, I just felt he became more contrived from some insecurity, almost a character of himself, on public display. It wasn't really showing in the music. Hence the lack of 'Ye posts around here.

So fast forward to his mother's passing (R.I.P.) and the break-up with his fiancee and we get the news of a complete sing-song, vocoder (a la T-Pain/Roger Troutman) album. Now I don't have a problem with the vocoder, talkbox like some more "underground" heads do, as long as it's done well. Just didn't want it to be a gimmick. And sing-songy hip-hop never bothered me as long as it's done well (Outkast anyone?). Then I heard "Love Lockdown" and "Heartless" and saw the videos and really wasn't feeling them. They seemed arty for art's sake. I thought we were going down that contrived road again, but listening to the entire album a few times now, it might be one of my favorites of 2008. I like how there's a difference in the feel between the songs, even though they are connected in sounds and theme. It is something completely different, unique and though I don't like every song, I do love some of the songs like "Welcome To Heartbreak" and "Street Lights".

You be the judge, the album dropped today.



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