The Kanye You Once Loved Is Dead and Gone

We can't say we didn't see this shallower version of West coming. As a man who came into the game full of himself, I always feared the day would come when the hype would take over the talent. But you may remember, it was the talent that blew us all away at first. It's been nearly 10 years, and The College Dropout still kills, a masterwork of still-relevant hip-hop, filled with his trademark, sped-up samples and clever wordplay.

What was also remarkable about him was that, as an artist who works in hip-hop, where experimentation is as frowned upon as flat asses and savings accounts, West wasn't afraid to take chances creatively. His even-better 2005 follow-up Late Registration had him closely collaborating with Fiona Apple producer and film composer Jon Brion, of all people, coming up with wondrous hip-hop that went into so many different directions. He basically went electro for his next album, Graduation, an uneven albeit still daring production. 2008's 808s & Heartbreak, which is quite good despite its over-reliance on Autotune, was basically his I'm-lonely-and-miserable album, revealing a naked humanity that practically set off the emo-rap/r&b boom that everyone from Drake to Frank Ocean to The Weeknd now traffic in.

To be honest, I started to worry a bit after the release of 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Despite being another critically-acclaimed smash, it did show West at his most prickly--and prickish. An album-long response to Taylorgate, Fantasy saw West all too aware of what a dick he'd become--and how's he very OK with it. If his first three albums showed West as a cocky-but-confident lad proving himself and Heartbreak had him revealing his raw vulnerability, Fantasy was West making a defiant, grandiose salute to his very own ballsiness.

Now, I still hold the man in high regard, especially since he and his music were there for me during a painful time in my life. In the fall of '05, Late Registration was one of the handful of CDs I listened to constantly, trying to put things in order after my mother died of cancer. However, these days, that man who got me through the worst times seems to have vanished.

That same nerd who used to rock backpacks and goofy sweaters is now showing up onstage wearing leather Givenchy kilts/skirts and crystal-encrusted masks. (Don't even get me started on that ghetto Game of Thrones shit he was wearing in that "Mercy" video!) That same guy who famously said, "We all self-conscious, I'm just the first to admit it" is now making rambling rants during his concerts about how powerful and unstoppable he is.

Maybe being a baby daddy will make Kanye West more grounded. There's nothing like bringing a child into this world to remind you what is and isn't important in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps being a parent will get him to lay off the artificial bullshit and back to being the real hip-hopper we all admired. If not, well, there's always Kendrick Lamar to start admiring.

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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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