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Topic: In The News
Submitted By: 1boss
Date Submitted: 09-30-13

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Kanye West Gets Misunderstood
Kanye West doesn't do many interviews these days but he knows how to make each one count. That is, of course, if you can define what happened on Radio 1 last night as an interview. Zane Lowe was less an interrogator than a hostage negotiator trying to process a series of outlandish demands while maintaining at least a veneer of normality. Kanye has never been hobbled by a lack of self-belief. The only time I met him, back in 2005, when he still consented to answer questions instead of barking out monologues, he explained that his hyperbolic claims were a strategy to goad himself into living up to them, and it worked. He has released six strikingly different solo albums, produced or collaborated on several more, and changed the sound of hip-hop at least three times. His insistence to Zane Lowe that he is "the No 1 rock star on the planet" may sound like typical Kanye hoopla but really, who else in the past decade has been this outrageous, compelling, artistically daring and central to pop culture? What seems to be driving him to distraction now is the refusal of other citadels of culture to bend to his will – he compares himself to Jim Carrey at the end of The Truman Show, banging his head against a painted sky. It's an extreme example of the sense of entitlement bred by success. Celebrity culture insists that if someone is gifted in one area then they should naturally be allowed to make fragrances or write children's books, as if talent were an infinitely transferable resource. Because of this expectation, and because Kanye will not admit to having limitations, any failure or rejection must be somebody else's fault. If he wants to design shoes or water bottles or, goddammit, entire buildings (has he been reading The Fountainhead?) then people should let him and if they don't, well, they must be resentful bigots trying to keep him in his place.

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