Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy… I wanna give you a hug, my man.
I’ve spent about a week with Yeezus, and I know you’re in a dark place. I know you’re worried you’ve traded your soul for riches. I’m a little worried myself. But I really hope you come out of this, bro. You’re headed for Kurt Cobain Land.
I remember back when you were just a kid from the Chi with a backpack. I remember when you made music ’cause you loved it. I remember when you weren’t dating someone that makes her living off of a vapid reality show. I remember when you first wrote “Jesus Walks” and inspired me to send up a few to J.C. myself.
But I can’t relate to you anymore, brother. I seriously doubt your credit card got denied last week. And I bet there was a time when asking your baby momma for “other bitches” wasn’t on your wish list.
No one dreams of a life like that when they’re a kid.
I know you didn’t either. But somewhere along the way, things done changed. It’s almost like you’re living your life Benjamin Button-style. Where’d that happy, young 20-something go that made me laugh my ass off with Kanye’s “The New Workout Plan“? The same one that was so grateful for what he had on “Last Call“? The one that brought joy and warmth to my depressed nights in college when I’d put on Late Registration or Graduation and just get lost in the warmth of soul?
You had it. You were it. A producer I looked up to. The child of a Black Panther father, that’s where you got your fire, but you were also the child of an English professor mom that you obviously loved with all your heart.
You said in a recent New York Times article that she was your family. And God took her from you, you felt all alone.
I can’t imagine, man… I really do want to give you a hug and tell you it’s gonna be okay. You let us know how much it destroyed you on 808s & Heartbreak‘s “Coldest Winter.” And I felt your alienation on the last track, “Pinocchio Story.” You told a crowd of screaming fans, most audible the Ye-obsessed ladies in the crowd, “I turn on the TV/and see me/and see nothin’.”
I’d feel the same if my momma was taken from me. I’m not quite sure how I’d handle it in your position. Maybe I’d blast Taylor Swift at an award show. Maybe I’d mourn for a lost love in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy‘s “Blame Game.” Maybe I’d start dating a woman who didn’t come up like you did, through raw talent, but through a viral video of a talent of a different kind. One that doesn’t take your level of dedication, heart and realness.
You remind me of Twain after he lost his wife Olivia, after he lost his youngest daughter Susy. When he decided that no loving God could create the fly. When he decided to send Tom and Huck, not on an adventure in a cave, not down the Mississippi, but on a trip with Satan. And he’s one of my favorites too. But I felt for him there at the end. When everybody knows your name, but no one can understand your pain.
So I can’t blame you, man. I get it. And I love the production on Yeezus. I can’t help but think how cool it is that Daft Punk helped you make those crazy, dark songs just a few months after Random Access Memories, a happy disco record. That another one of my heroes, Rick Rubin, responsible for MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D helping me become who I am, grabbed the fragments of your craziness and helped you put it into a cohesive whole.
People get pissed that you compare yourself to Jesus, but I know you’ve been wearing that crown of thorns yourself for a while now. I couldn’t be where you’re at. I couldn’t handle it either. You two have more in common than most think. You both speak from the heart. And a whole lot of people want to nail you to the cross for it. But that’s always been my favorite thing about you and the Big Man. You were you. I think the main difference is that J.C. left this world with peace in his heart. I want that for you too, Ye. They might not know what they do, but you know what you gotta do.
I know J.C.’s looking down and laughing at you pissing off the Pharisees. But I know he’s worried about you too. Yeezus does sound like In Utero, and that’s what troubles me. Kurt only had 204 days left on this planet after he made that album. I hope you get some help brother. He had everything too. The lady, the daughter, the money, the fame, the critical acclaim… and he sounded about as troubled as you. If he’d been a hip-hop artist, I imagine In Utero probably would’ve sounded a lot like Yeezus. I want you to live past Christmas. You gotta be here for your baby girl. She needs you.
‘Cause comeon dude, it’s summertime! I want you to soundtrack the sunshine, not with grinding buzzsaws and garbage disposal-sounding tracks that require popping a couple ibuprofen to get through, but with happy, blissful anthems of hope. I need a whole album of “The Good Life” from you to fall in love to on these summer nights.
But maybe I’m just being selfish. Maybe you needed to work that shit out on record. And if so, if I’m just way offbase, I apologize. But you can’t blame me for sending up a few for you, brother. I see so much potential in you, my man. You used to be filled with such youth. You were the dude that had the balls to call out George Bush for his lackluster response to the Katrina disaster.
Obama thinks you’re a jackass. And I think you are sometimes too. And you think you are sometimes too. It’s cool. You got us all talking again. We’re all weighing in on you. From the bottom to the top. Some people love you, some people hate you. But everyone feels something about you. After all, hate isn’t the opposite of love, apathy is. And no one is apathetic about Kanye West. It seems everybody’s got an opinion on that one.
Maybe you just need to go back to school. Maybe you just need to play some more Super Mario World with No I.D. in the studio. You’re the one that made that a dream for me. I’ll know I’ll have made it when I’m cutting up samples and laying down tracks in the lab while my girl and best friends play SNES. I can’t thank you enough for that. You gave me a dream. You taught me that if you believe in yourself enough, if you let the haters hate, disregard ‘em and keep taking steps toward that mountain in the distance, you can do anything in this world. Like Emerson taught us, God lives in us all. And that includes you, Yeezus. No one can ever take that away from you. You can’t even take that away from yourself.
But whatever you decide to do, you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers, Kanye. Love ya brother. Call me if you need to talk. I’ll be here. Anytime, day or night. We’ll talk “Late.”
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