Kanye West is the new P. Diddy. Oops. I mean, Kanye West is the new Diddy. Does
that mean much? Of course it doesn’t! Not to yours truly, anyway. I’m still
scratching my head and wondering why the hell this dude gets so many critical
accolades. When the first real song on here (the first track is a dumb skit
called “Wake Up Mr. West”), “Heard ‘em Say,” opens with Kanye intoning, “Uh,
yeah…uh, yeah” over and over to get all warmed up, I am immediately reminded of
P. Doody and his brand of hollow hip-hop hucksterism. I see through the smog
here, people. Kanye West is a phony.
Oh, I know that he’s undoubtedly culturally and politically more savvy than
Diddy because he’s rapping about the usual rapper’s urban plights – minimum wage
jobs, being put down by the man – you know, you’ve heard it before, but
underneath it all is this smug and typical mogul producer’s bullshit that
ultimately says I still got more bling and booty than you’ll ever have. Frankly,
Or maybe West gets praised because the samples he uses are pretty funky. “Touch
The Sky” borrows a heaping helping of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up”, while
“Gold Digger” rapes Ray Charles’ musical legacy by basing its rhymes on his “I
Got A Woman.” Now don’t get me wrong. I love a good sample as much as the next
guy, but it’s hard to get down to them when they’re propping up such lame rhymes
as “Now I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger / But she ain’t messin’ with no broke
niggas.” Yeah, doggie.
And all right, I might be the first dude to say such but perhaps I just can’t
relate to the whole “nigga” thing. It might have to do with my being white, but
I could just lay it all down on the fact that my mom and dad always taught me
the wrongs of racism and the goodness of equality. So perhaps my poor mind is
still confused at the whole supposed difference between “niggers” and “niggas”
and why the whole idea of it being ok to use the words in an entertaining
fashion yet still get pissed off at them seems more than strange. Plus it just
gets goddamned boring hearing it after the, oh, billionth time by the time the
fourth song has rolled around.
But I still keep coming back to the fact that this charlatan is Diddy’s protégé.
“Crack Music” is exactly the kind of superficial heart-tugging sap that the
P-Meister would kill to be able to perform in front of all his friends while a
100-voice choir helps him keep it real with God. “Hey Mama” has the Diddy
handprint on it as well, with the corny exclamation “Yeah! You know what dis
iiiiiiiissss / It’s a celebration, bitches.” I’ve come to the conclusion that
some of the more popular factions of rap and hip-hop haven’t moved an inch away
from the glory days of the 2 Live Crew (and Jesus, they were sadly more
entertaining in comparison).
Finally, I’d just like to say the whole West-as-furry-bear getup alter ego is
goddamned lame. I see something like that and think I’m going to be whisked away
to a wonderland of groovy beats and samples and some actually funking and
rocking out a-la The Black Eyed peas, and instead I get the same old boring
niggas and bitches routine. I suppose I’d hide under a costume if I was peddling
this junk as well.
Mr. West, you’ve just met the one critic who ain’t gonna sing your praises, G.