Kanye West deserves to be arrogant
December 12, 2008
Kanye West has always shown an under-the-table attraction to singing. In creating one of the most atypical mainstream albums of the year, West, acting on impulse, decided to drop the rapping and sing every track accompanied by the voice-enhancing Auto-tune (T-Pain’s best friend). Do not doubt West, however, for the man has just the right amount of audacity and egotism to accomplish such a feat of creative spontaneity.
West claims he’s the greatest rapper in the universe and even though on 808’s and Heartbreaks he, for the most part, doesn’t rap, the talent of Kanye West is immeasurable.
808’s and Heartbreaks is essentially a break-up album, but it transcends above the stereotypical cliches and sappiness that usually accompany the genre. West lets his emotions run rampant with biting lyricism.
We are shown his own vulnerability as a person in the wake of disheartening events such as the death of his mother, his breakup with his fiance, and the public scorn over his distasteful, egocentric personality. “Welcome to Heartbreak” is a dark Clint Mansell-like scored confession on his regrets of material indulgence, an endearing realization.
On the hit track, “Heartless,” we listen to West’s own self-wallowing and possible contempt over the unexpected split with his fiance. Although West’s singing voice teeters on almost amateur, its rawness translates into his own gritty emotions.
On 808’s and Heartbreaks, West has developed an attraction to the 808 drum machine so much that he dedicated half of the album’s title to its frequent use on practically every track. On “Love Lockdown,” the 808 is used to reflect a heartbeat, escalating at various intervals as West warns of love gone dry, something he obviously experienced.
Immediately after comes “Paranoid” where the 808 is warped to create a pop-infused Chariots of Fire beat with West touching on the subject of the inevitable trust issues between couples.
When the album concludes with “Coldest Winter,” a song of sorrow for his deceased mother, you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.
West’s 4th studio album is a departure from the norm. Many fans have turned a cold shoulder, but I stay dedicated. 808’s and Heartbreaks emphasizes West’s multi-faceted talents.
He may not be the most likable person, but what Andy Warhol did for Pop Art, Kanye has done for the music scene. In Late Registration, West created a masterpiece of multi-layered sounds and lyrical poetry.
With Graduation, West brought pure aestheticism to the ears with heavy sampling and synthetics while still retaining his lyrical skill. And now, with 808’s, West has reached far and beyond, solidifying his place as one of the greatest mainstream artists of our time.