In the past few years, it has become popular in the world of hip-hop to rap about “extremely important things” such as “bling,” rims, guns, and sex. While these songs are entertaining and often have addictive beats that are good for the clubs, they tend to get old after awhile, and it is nice to find artists who mix in some honest and heartfelt lyrics as well. This is exactly what Kanye West does, and it explains why he recently took home three Grammys. Although he just recently released his first album, Kanye West is no stranger to the hiphop genre. He started as a teenager who was obsessed with rhythm, so he began creating his own beats and writing some of his own rhymes. Nothing major occurred for him until he was given a chance to work as a producer on Jermaine Dupriʼs album, Life in 1472. This work caught the Attention of Roc-AFella records, and they asked the young genius to begin working for them. He dropped out of art school in Chicago, and by the turn of the century, his soulful beats were being used by the incredible Jay-Z on his album Blueprint. He was still getting no recognition as a rapper however, and that did not happen until the Roc label signed him to write lyrics in 2002.
As he began work on his first album, something happened that changed his whole outlook on life. Late one night after a recording session, West was driving back to his hotel when he was involved in a near-fatal crash. Experts say he should have died in the accident, but instead he was left with bumps, bruises, and a jaw that was fractured in three places. What was not fractured, even though it could have been, was his future career. In fact, the incident inspired his first solo hit. The song is entitled “Through the Wire” and rightfully so, because Kanyeʼs mouth was still wired shut as he rapped it.
That determination is one of the key factors to Kanyeʼs success. There is irony in the word “determination” for West, however, since his album is entitled The College Dropout. He is definitely not a quitter, and the message he was hoping to get across with his title is that you “cannot let anyone dictate to you what you need to be.” Another major reason for Kanyeʼs popularity is his meaningful lyrics. As he raps in his song “Breathe In Breathe Out,” “I always said if I rapped Iʼd say something significant.”
Significant things that he raps about are religion, relationships, and trying to figure out what this life is all about. The great thing is that he does not limit himself to being completely serious; He has fun with the music, too. He has tracks where he talks about his own “bling”, rims, gold and he also takes jabs at other rappers. He likes to think that instead of choosing just one style of rap, he is choosing the “rainbow in the middle”. He calls himself a “prism” and his “music comes out in colors.”
These different colors have appealed to millions of listeners and Kayne is revolutionizing the hip-hop world. He is quieting the hip-hop critics, such as myself, who feel that there is too much emphasis on things that really do not matter. He is a young, wellrounded rapper/producer who is likely to be around for years to come. Kanye West truly is one of the best.