Op-ED: The new Kanye

Cameron Johnson, Reporter

While growing up I came to idolize famous people or celebrities who were influential in areas that I was interested in. I looked up to Kobe Bryant when I was first learning to love basketball, and when I become infatuated with Apple I loved Steve Jobs. But undoubtedly, the person I looked up to the most was the Chicago rapper Kanye West. His musical genius mixed with an unmatched swagger made a big impression on my younger self, and I dove head-first into his music and every aspect of his life.

Unfortunately, a hard part of growing up is learning the ugly truths of people you may have naively given your allegiance to. I remember being shocked when reading of Jobs’ ruthless business tactics, and I couldn’t believe the news when Bryant was accused of rape.

However, when it comes to Kanye, the process of him showing his true colors to the public is unique. It is important to remember that in 2007, Kanye’s mother, Donda, passed away after complications from a plastic surgery operation. 2008 saw the release of his fourth studio album, “808’s and Heartbreaks,” which was a completely different sound for Kanye. The death of his mother clearly affected his sound, and consequently, the album was met with harsh reviews.

2009 may have been Kanye’s greatest misstep when he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. This incident created a ripple effect of bad grace with the media, public, and some of his close friends.

Clearly a low point for Kanye, he went on a one-year hiatus to focus on himself emotionally and also to find his sound once again. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was released in 2010 and it showed the music genius was back on top once again, and seemed back in order, both mentally and emotionally. But as we all know the next 8 years were filled with Kanye moments that made us question what was really going on in that brilliant mind.

Questionable song lyrics and music videos with his naked wife tipped off that something wasn’t quite right, but Kanye seemed to go incognito once again when he deleted all his social media. In 2018, Kanye came back to social media, mainly making his mark on Twitter. His choice to wear a MAGA hat and support President Trump outraged fans and made people ask “just what in the world is he thinking.” He’s said things such as “slavery was a choice” during a TMZ interview and that he’s freed himself from the “sunken place” (referring to the movie ‘Get Out’).

However crazy these antics may make Kanye out to be, I do admire the man for a few things. He isn’t afraid to express himself, however questionable his opinions may be. He isn’t easily scared by those who talk down on his way of thinking and he’s using his platform in the best way he sees fit.

His ideas are free-flowing; whether it be music, fashion, or most recently politics. But that free-flowing style may contribute to his downfall.

Kanye recently deleted his social media once again, so who knows what’s in store next for the music icon.

He is still a big figure in my life, and his music continues to move me in ways that are hard to explain.

I hope his break from the world of Twitter will help him gain a better perspective on the social climate, but most importantly I hope he continues to speak about what he believes in.