Updated: Feb 20
If there is one person who’s always in the headlines, it has to be the infamous rapper Ye, more commonly known as Kanye West.
West began with producing music. In 2000 he began to produce for artists at Roc- A- Fella and revitalized Jay-Z's career with the 2001 hit album ‘The Blueprints’. He went on to record some of the greatest hip-hop and rap masterpieces like ‘The Life of Pablo’ (2016) and ‘Jesus is King’ (2019) and ‘Donda' (2021). West recorded his debut album The College Dropout while recovering from a serious car accident. It garnered 10 Grammy nominations. Kanye West's creative expression is not limited solely to sweet soprano. He has been a great force in the fashion industry. He released a fashion line in the 2012 Paris Fashion Week. He’s collaborated with both Nike and Adidas. Air Yeezys are still one of the best fashion statements ever made. West founded his own music label production company GOOD MUSIC in 2004. His varied entrepreneurship projects have made him a billionaire. It’s only fair that Kanye is known for his music, which is arguably one of the best ever made but that is not the case. Though his euphonious talents are appropriately celebrated, he’s known in more circles for his public escapades. Kanye has never been shy of stirring up controversies. One of the biggest feuds in music industry began with his words
‘Yo Taylor! I’m really happy for you and I'mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!’
The Swifties never forgave him for hurting their queen. After this very publicized mess at the 2009 VMA, Kanye went stirring trouble with Taylor once again in February 2016 when he sang in his song ‘Famous' referring to Taylor Swift
‘I Made that bitch famous.’
Taylor denied having consented to being referred like this and the then married Kanye and his wife Kim went on to say that the singer indeed had. Kim Kardashian even released an edited record of the phone call which shows Taylor agreeing to the reference. On later release of the full uncut and unedited record, it became clear that Taylor had never said yes.
The marriage in Kardashian-Jenner clan wasn’t without its share of troubles. Kanye would often make loose remarks that put a wedge between him and Kim. While Kim apologized for his erratic behaviour and comments, she has served him with divorce papers. Now they battle custody and Kanye airs battle scores regularly to the media.
Kanye launched his political career when he ran for president on the 2020 United States presidential election. He primarily advocates for consistent life ethic. The controversial position on abortion, war problem as well as euthanasia that the ideology holds was pivotal in its failing to hold public consent and increase following.
Despite the disputable nature of his history, one could say he has mastered the art of being a celebrity. He knows how to propel himself into the public eye. I believe it’s not always done in a clinically pre-planned manner that so many celebrities air their scandals. No, West has specially curated the art of being maximally vocal and gregarious. He hides nothing and tells all, at the same time, he is fiercely protective of his privacy when he wants. When celebrity culture has been the downfall of so many stars, I only see Ye thriving. He doesn’t cave under the constant critical eyes of the paparazzi , not is he bothered by the backlash he receives for authentically showcasing what he really thinks and acting upon it, be it good or bad. What I don’t see is a facade, and I am glad of it.
Despite its severe social side-effects, celebrity culture of 21st century is all about providing the tabloids and audience with drama, both onscreen and off-screen. It expects the celebrities to be perfect out of the stage, if not perfect then just the perfectly imperfect version of their true self that could provide gossip fodder. It expects celebrities to be interesting, say tangy controversial things, hide nothing yet not come off as too much on the face. Be subtle, still remember to stand out. Apart from being a total people pleaser and pandering for the world on the streets and the internet, celebrities are expected to constantly meet the standards of being on top of their craft. No one wants the famous person to be just famous, they should also be talented and constantly rebrand their craft but not lose their niche of audience. For most, these are standards that are impossible to reach. Yet somehow, Kanye meets the standards without even trying. A good man he’s not, still he’s the perfect celebrity: a sour, sensational polarization.