Sunday, December 04, 2022

Say What You Will About Kanye - Ain't Nobody Ever Called Him A Liar

LATimes  |  While West initially struggled to be taken seriously as a rapper, his solo breakthrough came after a brutal car wreck that required his jaw to be wired shut. The impervious confidence of his song “Through the Wire” and his debut, “The College Dropout,” propelled him to 10 Grammy nominations in 2005.

When he castigated President George W. Bush’s failed response to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina on live TV — “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” — many Americans saw a brave rapper taking on the government and standing up for the Black community.

“In that moment after Katrina, his lack of social graces made him an important figure speaking truth to power,” Wasow said.

West recorded a bestselling, orchestra-driven album, “Late Registration,” with indie producer Jon Brion. West’s next LP, “Graduation,” won a 2007 sales war with 50 Cent, seen as a victory for ambitious, heartfelt hip-hop.

Yet the sudden, tragic death of his mother in 2007, after complications from cosmetic surgery, shattered his world. He seemed to blame himself for it — “When I moved to L.A., she moved to L.A. And she wound up in a place that would eat her alive,” he wrote in XXL after her death. “If I had lived in New York, she’d still be here.”

He rapped about his feelings on 2008’s “Pinocchio Story,” from the bleak and groundbreaking LP “808s & Heartbreak”: “The only one was behind me / I can’t find her no more, I can’t call her no more … The day I moved to L.A., maybe that was all my fault.”

“A single mom with a single child, they had each other’s backs no matter what,” Baker said. “That’s a little bit of where that fierce protectiveness comes from. When I found out that Donda died, my first reaction was, will he be OK?”

His boastfulness and hair-trigger temper enlivened awards shows and earned a “South Park” parody. In 2009, he rushed the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards to vent frustration over Taylor Swift beating Beyoncé for best female video. It blew up a planned tour with Lady Gaga and led Obama to insult him on that hot-mic recording. From a fellow Chicago legend, it hurt. “You know I’m your favorite,” West said afterward. “Just tell me you love me. And tell the world you love me. Don’t tell the world I’m a jackass, I’m fighting hard enough.”

West made some of his finest music in the next years, including 2010’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and 2013’s “Yeezus,” and in 2014 married Kardashian in a fame-merging event for the ages. Yet signs of creeping antisemitism began to emerge. West said in a 2013 radio interview that “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people. … We ain’t Jewish. We don’t get family that got money like that.” He responded to criticism by saying, “I thought I was giving a compliment. … I don’t know how being told you have money is an insult.”

Fans began to question his beliefs, and even his stability, in 2016. He wrote on Twitter that “BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!” and depicted him and Trump nude in bed in the video for “Famous.” He declared onstage at a California concert that, while he didn’t vote, he “would have voted for Trump.” He underlined the point by meeting with Trump in New York, claiming, “I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future President if we truly want change.”

That November, after Kardashian was bound and robbed in a Paris hotel room, West’s paranoia spun out further. Onstage at a concert, he said, “Jay-Z, call me, bruh. You still ain’t called me. ... Jay-Z, I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head. Just call me. Talk to me like a man.” He ended the show early and canceled his remaining tour. Just hours later, after police responded to a welfare check call at his trainer’s home, West entered treatment at UCLA Medical Center for a “psychiatric emergency,” according to the Los Angeles Fire Department dispatch call.

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