Kanye West is a creative genius. Yes. I said it. Hearing this guy speak when he’s calm and articulating his thoughts in a relaxed manner, you hear not only the gems but the logic in everything that he says. He may be arrogant and, most of the time, he says the right things the wrong way, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a genius. I recently watched the Kanye West manifest-type documentary New Testament, and this only reinforced my thoughts about Mr. West’s genius.
The documentary opens on a shot of a Roman statue set to the voice of Kanye West: “I always feel like I can do anything. That’s the main thing people are controlled by, the perception of themselves.” He goes on to say, “If you’re a Kanye West fan you’re a fan of yourself. I’m just the espresso, that shot in the morning that get you going.” The documentary is a string of Kanye West quotes, pulled from various interviews surrounding his press tour for the album Yeezus, set to footage ranging from Roman statues to life in the everyday world. Although the excerpts were considered rants during West’s press tour, hearing them again, without seeing West, makes you appreciate the passion Kanye is filled with. You realize that these rants aren’t rants, but more “inspirational visionary breaks in pop culture.” Whether it comes across good or bad, everything that Kanye West does comes from one emotion and one emotion only: passion.
Kanye may be brash, arrogant, and, at times, very loud and disruptive, but his intentions are always good. Now I’ve never met Kanye but, if you pay close attention to him, whether it be his interviews or his performances, you can see that everything he does derives from passion. Kanye is passionate about everything, that’s why everything that he gives us, everything that he creates, is perfection, because he creates it with passion, not for the opportunity to get another check or endorsement deal.
Now, I agree that the word genius is used loosely to describe individuals. But Kanye is a true creative genius. This guy gave us College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, Blueprint, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Nike Air Yeezys 1, Nike Air Yeezys 2, Louis Vuitton x Kanye West Jaspers, and Yeezus, and that’s just to list a few. Leave your opinions about Kanye the man out of it and judge him solely on his creative talents, and you’ll agree that he’s a fucking genius.
The New Testament documentary provoked many thoughts for me. It immediately inspired me to continue creating, continue writing, continue designing. Kanye said something, well a lot of somethings, that really struck a chord with me, but this quote in particular stood out; he said, “People don’t stand up and protect their dreams. They want creative people to shut up and be quiet, but these are the people with the real ideas.” Steve Stoute would go on to reinforce this issue at the panel he spoke on with Kanye West this morning at the Cannes Lions Festival in France. They’re absolutely right. If you believe in something, you have to fight for it. And Kanye fights every day to be the best creative he can possibly be. If you want to be an actor, then act, act with everything that you have, because that’s what it’s going to take in order to get past all of the people telling you you can’t be an actor. Kanye West figured this out a long time ago. There is always someone trying to tell you that you can’t.
I can’t speak on Kanye West the man because I don’t know him. But when I hear him say things such as, “The time is okay to be the greatest you,” or “I want to direct people to the light,” I know that his heart is in the right place. I know that he only wants to help. He only wants to show the world that we can reach another level if we try hard enough. “I won’t be limited to one dream,” Kanye says. We tend to look at celebrities like they aren’t normal human beings. We forget that they are people just like we are and, just like us, they have many passions and we shouldn’t marginalize them.
If you don’t want to believe Kanye West is a genius, that’s cool. But when you’re looking for just a bit of inspiration, that nudge to get you over the edge, turn to Kanye. Because he’ll be there to remind you that you can do it. We should appreciate Kanye West while he’s here. Who knows when we’ll see another genius like this again.
Photo Credit: NABIL