Kanye West; known to millions as the outspoken & controversial rapper, designer, and millionaire producer, has made it his mission to be known by all, doing all. Since coming to stardom in the early 2000s, he has strived to create a complex, developmental persona for himself. He paints the picture that he evolves into better versions of himself with every “new era” of his life. To most, the evolution of self is a good thing. To not be the person you were and to learn from your mistakes is inspiring and it sells. So what seems to be the issue with Kanye’s achievements? They come at the price of a God complex. Even with all of his fans as well as the many hats he wears as a businessman, Kanye refers to himself as a god.
Within the past year Kanye has maintained a fashion empire, collaborated music with some of the biggest names in Hip Hop, and even used his diagnosis of bipolar disorder to promote his new album. This concept of the “New Kanye” is one that has been sweeping over the nation. Despite many speculations of mental incapacities for years, many believe that Kanye being hospitalized back in 2016 established the persona of Kanye we are witnessing today.
So how does this “New Ye” reflect on what we should expect to see from him in the future?
To understand where Kanye is going, we must take a step back into his past. Even before his marriage to Kim Kardashian, Kanye used whatever came to mind as a strategic means to an end to promote himself in any capacity that he could. Kanye has never been shy to voice his opinions and has survived every career-tanking backlash since his “Bush doesn't care about black people” comment back in 2005. So how is it that even after all the controversy, Kanye’s career is still afloat to the point where he can exploit himself and his family for profit? Simple- social media thrives off of drama.
If a celebrity is not an upcoming artist, engaged, or pregnant, then all attention will be on the next mental break (classic example being the Spears meltdown of 2007). For Kanye, no one was surprised when he openly admitted to being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder on TMZ earlier this year.
This of course excused Kanye for any previous, present, and future behavior including his “slavery was a choice” meltdown (also on TMZ earlier this year). Where old “Ye” would’ve ended his career, new “Ye” is using his meltdowns and social blunders as a platform to show his audience that disorders can’t stop individuals from being unapologetically themselves.
The release of “Ye” brought its own set of waves of controversy, not only for Kanye but for his family. Due to his diagnosis acting as a get-out-of-jail free card, Kanye took the liberty to expose his mind and private life in his new album. Subject matters such as his thought patterns, to spousal disagreements with Kim, as well as his desire for his daughter not to grow up to be like her mother stirred rapid mediafire for the Kardashian-West household.
Mixed reviews of the album have many “inspired” by Kanye and many disgusted by his exploitation of self, family, and diagnosis. However, where many see exploitation, the Kardashian-West household sees profit. For years the Kardashian family has built an empire with the records kept of their lives via reality TV, and since joining the family, Kanye has done the same.
Kanye has always recorded his mishaps and even supported his own controversy as being himself, but as a result of joining the Kardashian family, he does these things more strategically. Hence “Ye”.
Kanye’s elevated view of himself has not only resulted in a new album but a bigger platform to “be himself,” as well as a newfound relationship with our current President Donald Trump. So now we wait. Wait for Kanye’s next big break, in whatever capacity that means. Stay tuned.