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Why I'm still a Kanye West fan

When hip hop gets comfortable, Kanye steps in to make it uncomfortable

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DETROIT – It is never easy being a fan of Kanye West.

It's actually exhausting. When you wake up and see that Kanye went on a Twitter rant, or interrupted an award show again, you shake your head, and think, maybe this is it. 

I mean, really, how do you defend someone who constantly compares himself to God?!

After releasing his seventh album this week, there is no question that Kanye is a musical force -- but his off-the-mic antics are consistently hard to defend. 

Maybe I shouldn't be a Kanye West fan.

But to really understand why someone would still be a Kanye fan, you need to start from the very beginning.

 

In 2004, Kanye released his debut album "The College Dropout" -- it was a massive success. The album has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, and has been called one of the greatest albums of all time.

"College Dropout" gave us all a reason to love Kanye West. Then this happened:

 

Now, whether you agreed with Kanye or not, this moment opened up an entirely new fold to the Kanye conversation. It wasn't just about music anymore. 

The controversy from this moment echoed for weeks, but then this happened:

We had Kanye back. Fans could finally get back to defending Kanye with his music as the support. Kanye's musical production was never in question. Fans could always use the "well, his music is still great" excuse.

Then came the 808s experiment.

 

Kanye changed his entire sound -- he went autotune. It was a huge blow to hip hop fans who held West with such high esteem in the hip hop world. But then something happened -- we realized "808s & Heartbreak" was actually really good.

This realization, for most, was confirmation that Kanye could do nothing wrong musically. After all, the album was ranked in the top 40 most groundbreaking albums of all time, by Rolling Stone.

Well -- being a Kanye fan only has temporary highs. In 2009, this happened:

 

This was a tough one to swallow. It was indefensible. How could Kanye do this to us?! The fans -- who work tirelessly to defend him to their uncles at holiday parties. How could we possibly get past this?!

At this moment, Kanye lost a lot of fans. A lot of loyal humans jumped off the Kanye ship on this night.

But then this happened:

 

After almost a year of silence from Kanye West -- we finally got some new ammunition. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" was a hit. The album won a Grammy award for "Best Hip Hop Album" and just like that -- we had Kanye back again.

For a few years after this, Kanye fans had nothing to complain about. The years were filled with releases called "G.O.O.D. Friday," a collaboration with Jay-Z, called "Watch The Throne," and a compilation album called "Cruel Summer."

Then in 2013, Yeezus arrived. Kanye's sixth studio album.

The majority of reviews for the album were mixed. Once again, Kanye had changed up his style.

But after a while -- like most of Kanye's musical experiments -- Yeezus turned out to actually be really good.

The record was nominated for best hip hop album and sold over 325,000 copies in its first week.

After the Yeezus release, West hit the radio circuit to promote the album, and to promote his fashion passion. This resulted in a lot of long, ranting interviews showing an upset, frustrated, yet inspiring Kanye West.

 

Although some of these interviews were hard to listen to -- as it seemed West was out of touch -- they were still awe inspiring to fans who have watched Kanye evolve over the last decade.

Say what you want about his antics or his music -- you can't argue that Kanye West is passionate. Sometimes to a fault, admittedly. 

Kanye West Timeline | PrettyFamous

Kanye released his much anticipated seventh studio album this week, "The Life of Pablo" -- after changing the name a few times. He called the album "one of the greatest of all time" -- which immediately worried fans. 

I'm pretty calculating. I take stuff that I know appeals to people's bad sides and match it up with stuff that appeals to their good sides.

Kanye is a marketing machine. He can generate buzz for anything, with just a tweet. Media outlets will post a story solely based on a tweet from his account.

In the end, after the Twitter rants, paparazzi attacks, name-calling, award show outbursts, and magazine covers -- we're left with one of the most creative minds of our generation.

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the 'Go Kanye
Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye
I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye
The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye
I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye
I gotta to say at that time I'd like to meet Kanye
See I invented Kanye, it wasn't any Kanyes
And now I look and look around and there's so many Kanyes
I used to love Kanye, I used to love Kanye
I even had the pink polo, I thought I was Kanye
What if Kanye made a song about Kanye
Called "I Miss The Old Kanye," man that would be so Kanye
That's all it was Kanye, we still love Kanye
And I love you like Kanye loves Kanye

West is more than just a polarizing pop figure -- he's a changing force. When hip hop gets comfortable, Kanye steps in to make it uncomfortable. 

In 2004, I became a Kanye West fan. In 2016, I am still a fan of Kanye West. At the root of Kanye is music -- and at the root of being a Kanye fan is the love for his music. 

Long live creative expression. 


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