Kanye West – Avant Garde?

Published February 16, 2015 by Sandee

Usually, I don’t watch the Grammys, but stumbled upon this year’s show. After the Kanye West “incident” at the Grammys, I’ve had this Beck song “Where It’s At” in my head, constantly. And that’s a good thing. Beck is “where it’s at!” A real artist. Original, honest. I feel the truth in his work. I’ve been into him for years.

It makes me want to pull my own teeth out when I hear pop entertainers, who need more than five people to work on one dumbass and hackneyed song, proclaim that they’re artists. While some true artists find their way into the hearts of the masses – Sly Stone, Prince, Stevie Wonder — having a fan base made up solely of the masses makes you nothing more than a commercial product. A writer for ‘Black Voices’ in the Huffington Post spoke of “socially constructed” pop stars, specifically referring to Beyonce: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-lute/dangerously-in-denial_b_6666334.html. But some pop stars do transcend into another strata because of the phenomenon of deification, when the masses turn you into a goddess or a god.

I wonder if Kanye West will ever see the error of his obnoxious ways. I kind of feel sorry for him, because I can see his desperation in trying to be “an artist”. But I don’t see where he actually is an artist. After the thing he pulled on Beck, and after reading about some of his delusional quotes, he just looks like a big baby, pathetically clinging to fame. And I wish people would stop patronizing him saying he’s a madman, implying some kind of genius. He’s someone interested in making a whole bunch of money who started believing in their own hype, and in what the masses were saying to him. Because he does have the support of the commercial industry and of the masses — pop entertainer clout — people who follow trends, and whatever pabulum happens to be marketed to them will be interested, no matter that it’s common bullshit. I don’t have a problem with common bullshit, and I like a lot of pop music. While I appreciate originality more, lying on the floor while performing doesn’t make you avant-garde, if what you’re singing or rapping about is common. Oh well, keep trying.

What do you all think about Kanye West interrupting Beck’s moment at the Grammys?

Now, this Beck song – it’s where it’s at!

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32 comments on “Kanye West – Avant Garde?

  • I can’t understand the following he does have. This narcissism appeals to a large group of people. I don’t think he will ever see himself for what he is with all this attention he gets.

  • It’s really strange, perhaps even bizarre how Kanye is perceived by the public at-large, but then they are Americans and therefore predisposed to dislike any person of colour who dares go against the accepted grain of “normal behavior” brother Kanye in his music is borderline outstanding, his timing and turn of phrase excellent (not down with his collaboration with that McCartney fella, but you know, anything to help a ‘struggling’ musician find his way I guess) his actions at the Grammy awards – on the surface – can be considered rude/obnoxious by some, but pay heed to the “why” not the “what” and deny him if you will, but rational minds will see you out there on your island, lonely with that glass of envious whine filled to the brim. Avant-Garde musically, perhaps, a bit too much auto tune for my ears but hey, in fact you could accurately say he is, but a better description would be, misunderstood. As for ‘look-at-meism’ when he does his “storm the stage” act (something I believe is prearranged with the show’s producers) he really likes Beyonce’s work – REALLY likes it – Jay should take note

    • Hahaha! — I think Jay SHOULD be watching his back — if ya know what I’m sayin’!

      I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on Kanye West’s craft. And maybe he is “misunderstood.” But if he has gripes about the industry I think he might express those gripes more effectively. And wow! — I never thought of that — that the shows producers might have been propping him up to “act out” like that…hmmm… Thanks for chiming in!

      Speaking of genius — now Jay-Z back in the day — brilliance!

      • All I’m saying is folk need to chill a bit on Kanye and mebbe scratch their heads over Common, now there’s a dude worth a whole month of Sundays! – Jay, back in the day, I can nod to that

        • It’s complicated being black in the entertainment industry sometimes, especially if you’re not on solid ground or that secure within yourself (hell it’s hard on white people). I can understand some of the craziness that goes on. I just think that some black people have to stop looking for validation in the white industry and stop begging for awards — have your own damn award show — as we do — like the BET Awards and so forth. Kanye West should have his own awards show. I’m just being facetious but really, I think what he’s trying to do is call out hypocrisy in the industry. But he’s not doing it effectively — to me it just looks like he’s begging and crying all the time — that’s how I read it ‘between the lines’. To me it seems like he’s too dependent on the mainstream so he becomes a victim. Another thing is do unto others — black people should ideally uphold the principles we’re asking people to apply to us. It’s only respectable. If a white artist were to do what he did to a black artist — there would be an uproar.

  • Just like other art, music is in the ‘ear’ of the beholder. Some people may love Beck’s music; some may love Kanye’s. They’re both obviously dedicated and talented or they wouldn’t be where they’re at. I just think Kanye needs a motherly or grandmotherly type to sit down with him, put a supportive arm around him, and say, “Listen up. There’s a time to voice our outrage and a time not to. That doesn’t mean we have to remain silent. It just means we should pick the right time and venue to share our opinions.” And if that fails, they should remind him of the Golden Rule. 🙂

    • I was thinking in that same vein that you speak of — ‘music is in the ear of the beholder’ — while writing this post. But I couldn’t get rid of my feelings on the filler lyrics that Kanye West uses — the repetitive words and meaningless rhymes, all in between simple lyrics with all this bloated self-imagery. Maybe it’s just me.

      I love your take on it though — that he needs “a motherly or grandmotherly type.” I suppose that’s what’s wrong with me — that I don’t see this side of things.

        • Well he does have nice music sometimes in the background of his work — grooveable beats — hahaha! Frankly I’ve only listened to a few of his pieces but it was enough for me to form an opinion — I can’t get past some of his — qualities — I’ll just say. I just cringe when I listen to him.

    • That is sweet of you to say and probably true! I wonder if he’s been to therapy. It can be brutal being in the lime light, and then having that happen to his mother.

      Hahahaha! Yes he is “way too old” — he’s almost 40.

  • After I read your post and read the comments, not to get Sigmund Freud here, I was also of the opinion that Kanye seemed more grounded when his mom was alive. Now, he’s married to the biggest attention whore on the planet and he’s doing what he can to keep up with his Kardashian. Since it’s been suggested that he was possibly set up to pull the stunt on Beck, I’m cynical enough to believe that there could have been behind-the-scenes negotiating by the network with him to do that. It’s all about the bottom line: whether we’re talking award show ratings, music downloads, concert appearances. He’s talented but he’s married to a punch line and now he has become one himself.

    Unrelated: Last week Milton and I saw an EXCELLENT off-Broadway play about racism in the workplace called “Rasheeda Speaking”. It stars Tonya Pinkins and Dianne Wiest and was directed by Cynthia Nixon. You can get regularly priced $77 tickets for $27 if you click this link:

    http://www.thenewgroup.org/rasheeda-speaking.html

    And use this discount code:

    RSSO27

    It’s a very thought provoking 90 minutes and Tonya Pinkins is sensational. I urge you to try to see it before it closes March 22nd. The theater is small so all the seats are pretty good.

  • Thanks for the feedback! And I’m so glad that you read through the comments. I like your theory. What you say just might be possible. And I wouldn’t put it past these show business folks to be in on something like this — geez — now I feel kind of naive for not suspecting this in the first place. I really was interested in seeing what other people felt about this.

    And thanks also for your recommendation about the play. I just happened to see the review in the New Yorker recently after you mentioned it — I believe in the comment section of either my post or yours. I’m so engaged this next few weeks I don’t know if I’d be able to get to it time — but thanks for sending the code and the link. If I can go — it’s nice to know I can get tickets for $27. I’ll let you know — of course — if I should go see it.

  • I only read about Kanye as I didn’t see the broadcast. It’s pathetic is what it was! Shame, shame. Sore loser who didn’t get his way. Beck is an artist. I’ve always loved him! He deserves to win.

  • Kanye is a remarkably talented guy, but he needs to grow up and get over himself. He seems to think that the only people worth paying attention to are the people he knows and likes, both as friends and performers. Beyonce is popular, but she’s not doing anything different than a million other performers. Being popular doesn’t mean the quality of your art is better than that of someone who might not be as popular. Kanye needs to separate his own appreciation for her from the fact that other people didn’t think she made the best album of the year.

    • Thanks for your point of view on this, Mary. I was fixated on this issue — guess I had too much time on my hands — hahaha! I’m so glad to get the feedback because whenever I go off on the deep end with someone — and start with an intense feeling of dislike — my inner voice tells me to bounce it off some other folks. So glad we both see Beyonce the same way — I feel so alone out there 🙂 — but I still soooo don’t get Kanye West, which is part of the reason for my vitriol. I was all like, “Where’s the outrage!” Ha!

        • Shirley Manson from the group Garbage went off on Kanye for his after-Grammy comments; it was great. And I’m glad there’s another Beyonce . . . disliker out there. I was starting to feel kind of alone myself. Frankly, most of today’s Pop music just passes me by. It all sounds the same, kind of terrible and soulless.

          • Yes! I read about Shirley Manson — I wished her criticism had been even stronger. I was really disappointed to see people in the audience smiling or laughing when he went on stage and then left as if changing his mind — the fucker! And as far as Beyonce — nothing behind the eyes I tell you — nothing! Yes! — soulless! I don’t get it — I just don’t get it! I could go on — hahahaha! — but I’ll stop here…

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