The Kanye You Once Loved Is Dead and Gone

kanye-west560.jpg
Miss this guy
Well, thanks for getting Kim Kardashian knocked up, Kanye?

Ever since the rapper announced from the stage that the world's most famous (and least talented) Armenian is now carrying his seed, everyone's on Kimye baby alert. To tell the truth, I'm starting to think that all the attention being paid to this new development seems like a calculated distraction, something cute and shiny to flash in our faces so we don't talk about the big problem with Kanye: his half-assed rapping these days.

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That's right--West has lost his edge as an MC. He seems to be becoming less of the brilliant asshole we all know and respect, and is just becoming a regular, run-of-the-mill asshole. This certainly became an issue last year when West released Kanye West Presents G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer. An all-star mixtape posing as an album full of goodies from West's G.O.O.D. Music label, Summer basically consisted of West spitting bars with his various peers and underlings. But a lot of West's verses rang hollow; they were egomaniacal, self-aggrandizing riffs. This may be redundant to bring up since West is, of course, an egomaniacal, self-aggrandizing character. But he can also be witty, self-reflexive and socially conscious. It's the thing that still keeps us intrigued with the dude: here is a smart rapper and producer who rose to international superstardom by being, well, smart.

Now, I'm not going to say that Summer doesn't have its moments. (I'm sure "Clique" has become the anthem for guys who always wanted to walk into a nightclub in slow motion.) But, on the album, which has him rapping alongside such inexplicably popular new-ish MCs as Chief Keef and 2 Chainz, West presents himself as a man getting off on his own vaingloriousness. On "To the World," he raps about needing a home to hold his plaques ("Rick Ross'd told me that") and how he's "the only nigga in Beverly Hills, where the hell is Axel Foley at?" In "Cold" (originally known as "Theraflu"), he talks about having dinner with Anna Wintour and his $6000 pair of shoes. On "Clique," he declares, rather than buying a business or saving his money like responsible people do, he'd "rather buy 80 gold chains and go ign'ant." On more than one occasion on the album, West would get blown out of the water by his fellow orators. Both Pusha T and Ghostface Killah rap circles around him on "New God Flow."

Despite it being an obvious success since its release, some folk instantly recognized it wasn't Kanye at his best. (The Onion A/V Club's Nathan Rabin wrote that West "often seems disconnected from anything beyond his ego.") The same problem people had with Summer is the same problem people had when West joined forces with Jay-Z on Watch the Throne in 2011. More of a sonic spectacle than an epic meeting of the minds, as much as the album was filled with immediately downloadable hits, it was really just a couple of rich muhfuckas rapping about being rich muhfuckas. And no matter how many times those two did "Niggas in Paris" over and over again to sold-out crowds all over the world, in this age of fiscal cliffs and 99 percenters occupying Wall Street, the unappealing, I-got-more-money-than-you extravagance always reigned supreme.


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35 comments
AMKR
AMKR

Rich mother fuckers rapping about rich mother fuckers, IN MAINSTREAM RAP?! NO WAY!!!!! (sarcasm INHEREINT). What do you expect, you need to dig a little deeper than the mainstream to find any sort of substance, intelligence or even epic talent/wit/battle skills/freestyle talent. Project Blowdian's Freestyle Fellowship, Busdriver, NoCanDo, Aceyalone for example (in the latter part, epic talent/wit/battle/freestyle skills). Jay Z has never really been all that thought provoking, nor has kanye in anyway shape or form. You know what's the best learn some shit/intelligence/real-talent? right now, El-P Cancer 4 Cure, Run The Jewels Self Titled LP (El P and Killer Mike), Flash Bang Grenada - 10 Haters (Busdriver & NoCanDo), Dose One - G Is For Deep, Busdriver - Beau$Eros, Hail Mary Mallon - Are You Gonna Eat That? (Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz), Aesop Rock - Skelethon, The Uncluded - Hockey Fright (Aesop Rock & Kimya Dawson), Buck 65 - Situation, Themselves - CrownsDown, I wont go on but those are easily some of the best albums to drop in the last coupla years.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin

When was this mythical time when this self-absorbed jackass whose music is the product of software engineering "loved"?

Pam Fye
Pam Fye

Wow if he actually died he'd really get famous (apologies)

Luis Orozco
Luis Orozco

Loved? I never even liked that ass wipe.

Yvonne Bridges
Yvonne Bridges

I never loved Kanye. Or any other rapper, for that matter...

Joe Newark
Joe Newark

He is not really dead. That sucks

Ruth Bronstein
Ruth Bronstein

Who in the hell ever loved that bug-eyed piece o' crap?

Seth Gordon
Seth Gordon

Why does the Voice keep posting links to random articles from over a year ago?

Barry Polis
Barry Polis

Look in the dictionary for the word PUTZ ... you'll see his picture there

Karen Ortiz
Karen Ortiz

I wish he would go somewhere, I say Kim & kanje should move to space

Johnny Rocco
Johnny Rocco

Can't say I ever loved him, not even mildly admired but thanks for the forced sentiments VOICE.

tangledspleen
tangledspleen

Old ye is great, but man I love that new ye. Also if you think that WTT was just "a couple of rich muhfuckas rapping about being rich muhfuckas." Then you missed a few important songs on that album.

Nicholas Cummins
Nicholas Cummins

"it was really just a couple of rich muhfuckas rapping about being rich muhfuckas." Did you listen to WTT? Murder to Excellence? Made in America? His music has not completely devolved into "rambling rants" about how rich he is, that's just more a part of his music now than it was in his backpacker days. No artist stays the same for so many years.

NichoLas DoshNer
NichoLas DoshNer

critics overrate his music. he's not bad, just not really memorable.

Rapheal Crump
Rapheal Crump

awesome write up! hits the nail right in the head with this one

Dwayne Lowe
Dwayne Lowe

I thought he was cool in the beginning but now he's just because an Egotistical douchebag. and Since he's marrying kim kardashian of all people the two of them deserve each other because one's a no talent hack who has the media wrapped around her finger and well...I already said what i mean about Kanye. I'd rather go see Taylor swift or the Big four (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth) in concert then ever attend a Kanye west concert.

Arnie Mone
Arnie Mone

who loved that ass clown you couldn't pay me to see him

housefood
housefood

Honestly, I don't think he ever got over the fact he lost to Justice at the European MTV Awards....lol

chinupcheerup1
chinupcheerup1

This is the exact way I've been feeling for a while now. Very few hip-hop albums have moved me the way College Dropout did. It's a shame to see what he has become.

Oh and there is not a way to neg a comment? This comment below me about Kendrick should just be removed.

StMcAwesome
StMcAwesome

Do not compare Kendrick Lamar to Kanye. Kendrick is terrible.

taylordaniels1
taylordaniels1

Maybe his collaborative albums don't show him at his best, but My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was critically acclaimed, and was a great record; it was so much better than Graduation. His work is still top notch in mainstream rap.

LolaWaters
LolaWaters

Completely agree! Everyone misses the old 'ye, if they admit it or not.

kplo
kplo moderator communitymanager

I never knew I wanted to walk into a nightclub in slow motion till right now. 

concernedlouisvillia
concernedlouisvillia

so dumb guy gets stupid... who would have thought it?  never saw anything in him and it looks like i'm vindicated now.. next time you lose a relative have the sense to listen to goth

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