Mr. Story Post: Kanye West; Faulted Genius or Massive Twat?

Over to you …

19 comments

  1. David Allison

    BOTH! Both with bells on!He’s a total knob. He’s also extremely, extremely talented and I still love those first two albums a great deal. Funnily enough, Caroline bought me the Childish Gambino album for Xmas. You may have heard about it. Let’s just say don’t bother. It’s *fine*, but the whole thing is such a HUGE rip off of Kanye, it kind of reminds you how good the original Kanye is.Oh, by the way, Nolan dropped me off our official first album: King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, so need to get reviewing that soon. Don’t know if you’ve heard, but he’s had a ruddy awful week with his house being burgled and his Nan dying, hence he’s not been around much…

  2. misterstory

    Agreed. My response to my own question was ‘both’. It’s odd as I don’t think Hip Hop makes for good albums but of the ‘good hip hop albums’ a few are Kanye’s … but I think he lets himself down to often with weak lyrical content and I would question if he should really concenrate on production?Twisted fanatasy thing-a-me-jig album is awesome. Its a terrific album …. once you get past Dark Fantasy, track 1. Lyrically its utter garbage. What was he thinking? And why isn;t there someone saying ‘Hey Kanye, thats fucking piffle. What the living piss are you banging on about!’I’ve spoken to Nolan and met up with him last week (and his Dad). He’s had a pretty top notch week. I’ll start a new post on the album. I like it. It’s really started to get into my head.

  3. Guy Hornsby

    Crap. Big love to the Nolan. that’s atrocious. Still, could be worse, at least United are still top of the league (bastards). On Kanye – well, you’ve both answered what I’d have said. The guy is a brilliant producer and talent. He’s made some of the best hip-hop in the last decade, and at the same time he’s got an ego the size of Jupiter and has been responsible for some of the biggest public calamities I can think of. But I kind of love the fact he doesn’t have an off button or a quality control to stop himself. On the one hand, he did this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihpcN_vns0kAnd then on the other he did this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTJxj7a9-DAThere‘s something utterly ridiculous and daft about saying: "my video cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it. I was jumping across canyons.""If I don’t win, the awards show loses credibility,"And while it’s a car crash, I like the fact he’s not just a totally cossetted artist. He’ll say what he thinks, even if it’s nonsense half the time. But it’s a proper dichotomy. College Dropout and Late Registration were amazing, but Graduation didn’t really do it for me at all. And Dark Fantasy didn’t grab me at the time, though I’ll give it another go now off the back of this. You’re right. the title track was nonsense, but that never stopped U2.

  4. misterstory

    Good links brother Guy.I think ‘MBDTF’ is the best album though. I love the 1st 2 albums but the skits do my head in. MBDTF is a proper album. Start to finish concept. No skits. Ok an opening track of tremendous lyrical piffle but after that it just keeps giving. It is a really strong collection and some a really strong use of guests.I liked 808’s too. I know Brother David has a similar problem with auto-tune vocals as I do with ‘happy music’ (see 2 bears post) but I thought 808s was solid good album output with some aweomse singles. And lets not forget, it was massively original at the time too.

  5. Guy Hornsby

    I will have to revisit. And it’s horses for courses. The skits on many albums are usually a bit crap once they’re a few years old, (De La Soul aside, THEY can do anything they like). But didn’t really connect with MBDTF the frist time round. Best check that out again. Have to admit there’s not much in modern hip hop that’d grabbed me. I know the Roots are great and I’ve seen them live, but they’ve never really leapt out enough for me to sit up and take notice beyond "wow, they’re good." I do really like Q-Tip’s The Renaissance. A modern classic. And Lupe Fiasco’s stuff is good too. But even Jay-Z’s never reached the heights of The Blueprint again. I was going to have a listen to Childish Gambino. Just for curiosity, but did strike me a bit as ‘rap music while middle class people can like’. WHich should be me down to a tee really. I will say one thing though, even with the last album, which was patchy, The Streets are amazing.

  6. David Allison

    Totally with you on the Q-Tip album. Even better than that was Mos Def’s last album, The Ecstatic, which I think is one of the best rap albums of the past 10 years. It’s bloody amazing. Also with you on De La Soul – their later albums are incredible and no one seemed to give them the notice they deserved. Loved The Grind Date.Wouldn’t bother with Childish Gambino. It’s not worth it. Finally, I can never and will never get on with auto-tune. The end.

  7. Guy Hornsby

    Ah yeah. You know what, I’ve never listened to Mos Def, though I think he’s a bit of a dude. I’ll have to check that out. Though I can’t think of him without seeing him being taken apart by Christopher Hitchens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsGUYnFAvdYThe Renaissance is timeless. That’s why I love it. It’s odd, I have a lot of old school hip-hop (and I’d include De La Soul et al in that) but not much in between until a few newer albums. I think it’s in a bit of rut generally, punctuated by some amazing albums every few years.

  8. misterstory

    The Ecstatic by Mos Def is one of the best hip hop albums if all time, forget the last ten years. It’s a stunning piece of work. I’m with you on The Renaissance to a degree. Ok then … Shout out suggestion of total quality hip hop albums …

  9. Guy Hornsby

    Well clearly Three Feet High and Rising, Straight Outta Compton, Fear Of A Black Planet, Paid In Full, The Black Album….

  10. Nolan Kane

    He’s understood and a genius. His last album was one of the most complete, well thought out and executed album in the last 5 years. Lyrically I think he’s got his own style and maybe one of the best with play on words in commercial hip hop. He’s a personality for sure but I don’t understand why people keep on going on about him getting drunk at award shows. Oasis did it all the time and that was cool… He does it and he’s a liability? He made the majority of his first album with his mouth wired closed. He has saved, created and launched the careers of some of our favourite artists and has released 4 of the most important hip hop albums of the last 10 years.On the side note of good hip hop; that’s a different kettle of fish. Major labels seems to be having issues signing new talent that they are willing to invest in. With that 2011 saw some of the best career work from the likes of the roots, eminem and common. There were also great albums from apathy, evidence, bad meets evil, Royce 5’9 and many more. Plus you have the likes of Soul Khan who is one of the most exciting mc’s I’ve come across in recent years. I’m a bit let down that you boys are setting your bench mark at De La Soul’s efforts (they’re 4 years old at latest) and albums that came out in the early 90’s at best. That’s like saying indie music hasn’t been the same since the same time span.

  11. David Allison

    Interesting point, Nolan. Sure, maybe we’re getting old and out of touch, but Kanye aside, where are the breakout hip hop albums? Not saying there isn’t good hip hop, but it’s not making the imapact. I’ve heard of Apathy and Evidence, but not the other two. Haven’t got on with Apathy from what I’ve heard, but I do like this Evidence track:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEK4FttsCTMMaybe I’ll check out some more of his stuff.I think the comparison with indie music is actually an interesting one, because actually, aren’t both in the doldrums? Where are the great British guitar bands of the moment, for example? Again, I could find you some cracking bands, but they’re not breaking out, they’re not having any impact. So actually the hip hop comparison works well.In fact, let me take this further. Look at dance music too in the post David Effing Guetta universe. Sure there’s loads of great stuff, but look at what’s selling and getting played. There aren’t those great crossover records that spoke both to the commercial crowd, the proper house heads and the indie crowd. Music’s becoming compartmentalised – by niche radio stations, by the internet, by the lack of a weekly music show on TV. It’s a problem for all genres.Back to best hip hop albums ever. Can’t believe no one’s mentioned Paul’s Boutique, Midnight Marauders, AOI: Mosaic Thump, Stankonia or Enter The Wu Tung.My fave hip hop album of last year was Shabazz Palaces. Bloody weird but very rewarding and rich. And Nolan, I gave up on Kanye after 808s, so I’ll pull my finger out and try the last album. Word!

  12. Nolan Kane

    808’s was gash, I agree. With that weather we like it or not, because of 808’s, Kanye opened the doors for the average joe to go and check out some brilliant artists who at the time were making some cracking synth/voice box driven music. 808’s was an experimental album that should have been released for free on the Internet. There is a massive commercial block at the moment I agree but only to a certain degree. Sadly our fat cousins have discovered mixing sub par urban Artists with Guetta creates a sound they feel is new and ground breaking. Sadly for us on this side of the pond it’s not. Guetta took what the likes of tocadico, alter ego and a a few others were messing with for a short two year period, made it poppy and now we’re stuck with it at least for another year or so. I think that the Internet actually is a positive. Everyone has accesses to everything and pushes a direction on music. If it wasn’t for the Internet many artists wouldn’t be making music, touring and expanding our tastes. Over all the people have spoken and at the moment in time they like guetta. On a side note I think you’d be surprised by that lack of chart presence and radio support for dance music. There are generally only 2 or three that break the top ten a year (pre guetta). Many of the tracks we love and were massive became that way because we heard them in clubs every weekend. The same thing still happens these days but instead of looking for a record for 2 years in every record shop you visit, you can buy it off of beatport.

  13. Guy Hornsby

    I hold my hand up and acknowledge that I just don’t listen to much new hip-hop these days. I still love it, but I’m just massively out of the loop. I have so much electronic music in my life, and much of the rest of the new music I listen to is from recommendations from friends and on the radio, but I listen to 6Music, so it’s not like there’s a lot of hip-hop or urban music on there. I’m not saying there’s no good new music out there, it’s more that my sphere just doesn’t touch a lot of what others do. And if it came down to it, i’d still choose guitars and synths over beats. It doesn’t mean I don’t love it, just that it’s not what I’m listening to much of these days. I did really like the Mos Def album on first listen though. Nolan – I think the problem some people have with Kanye is that – for all his talent, and undoubted skills as a producer and artist – there’s a definite ego and "I AM COOL" vibe. Now that’s fine, and I actually love that about him, because ther’es no off switch and no self-imposed gag, which means he often reveals more about himself than he should. But…. and it’s a but, if you’re like that then you get pissed an an awards show and embarrass yourself on stage then you’re going to look ridiculous, and also a bit disrespectful to the artists that won fair and square. Oasis get pissed up all the time, but then they always did, and in fact they based their entire career around being hellraiser Mancs. They weren’t turning up at Paris Fashion week, dressing in head-to-toe in red, drinking Cristal and generally living the life of a cooler-than-cool hip hop mogul. So, there’s a degree of perspective more than anything.

  14. David Allison

    I think hip hop is a habit. If you listen to it, you want to listen to it. If you don’t, it becomes harder to get into. I’ve definitely noticed that when I’ve not been listening to much – which I haven’t lately.

  15. misterstory

    I’ve just had a quick look at my great big IKEA packing case full of Hip Hop CDs that I never listen to. It’s quite depressing really. Dare I say this … but I think Im just getting too old for a lot of it. Where I used to be able to turn a blind eye I can’t anymore. Plus, it makes me really arsey when Im driving!

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