As a long term fan of Kanye West,when questions regarding his music are asked this tweet springs to mind:
Chris Brown has over saturated the market. His features are no longer special and his music tends to all sound the same. The end.
— ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀ (@callmedollar) December 23, 2015
However the market in question is Kanye’s discography and various business ventures. He has over-saturated his own market of content and now fails to amuse his fan base hence barrage of fans calling for “Old Kanye”. This is acknowledged and played on in the song “I Love Kanye”. The Fourth Wall of the Yeezus persona is broken, to push an agenda of self depreciation to the listener.
Kanye acknowledges his transformation but unfortunately incorrectly. Kanye has never not been a controversial self-aggrandizing figure. He has never been an technical rapper but worked to prove himself as a creative, unique rapper and producer. “Chop up beats” Kanye rapped “They say he bougie, he big-headed/Would you please stop talking about how my dick head is” on Last Call. The same Kanye,voiced his dissatisfaction with Bush’s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina and stormed onto stage during the MTV Europe Music Awards.”Pink Polo” Kanye rapped “After each and every show a couple dykes in the van
It’s easy/The hood love to listen to Jeezy and Weezy/And, oh yeah, Yeezy” Misogyny,public controversy and misconduct are a vital part of the Kanye package,what gains the public approval of his fan base and has the defense of the “Kanye persona”. It isn’t when West sings, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous” on “Famous” that deters followers of Kanye,it is simply put, the deprivation of creative content,the intended agenda is now unclear.
The “old Kanye” may be a short hand way of expressing the longing of creative direction that leads to a legible album narrative.The drive to transform aesthetically and semantically to engage and appeal to those that follow Kanye. The Kanye that used interviews as an outlet to explain said changes.This idea is displayed simply by looking at the variation between Graduation, an album described as a “rock-tinged, electronic-influenced soundscape” and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a culmination of sampling and collaborations. The proclamation that 808s & Heartbreak is “Pop Art”. Followers are now given a less precise and perfected version of this, influences are now imitations in Kanye’s music, samples are hardly reconstructed merely toyed with to provide content.
Alexis Petridis fantastically outlines this feeling in her review of The Life of Pablo in which she states “it’s the sound of a man over-reaching himself. Perhaps it’s a document of a mind coming increasingly unglued”. Kanye’s creative direction is skewed,hard to follow and increasingly underwhelming.
Hunter Beck however provides an interesting explanation to the “New Kanye” he declares that from 2009 onward,Kanye plays a fictional character . Demonstrated by his increased public outbursts and the use of “Cinderella” by Roald Dahl in “Dark Fantasy” the opening song of his 2010 album. This explanation sees Kanye’s persona as a performance that critics the nature of today’s media. We concentrate on vice and sensation because it sells, Kanye’s outlandish statements such as his declaration to run for president have graced the pages of various publications. The notable difference in content is a way of reiterating this idea of an inattentive pop culture,When he wrote and recorded lyrics for Yeezus as freestyles in just two hours and made this known to the public, We still eagerly consumed his content skimming for provocative lyrics.
The flaw with this idea is that as a culture we’ve become increasingly critical;interested in feminism,racial politics and representation. Kanye’s appeal of controversy and erratic behavior is now questionable.