Well, why the fuck not? Kanye says Rap is the new Rock and Roll. He’s absolutely correct. Had he said Hiphop, it would be questionable, but he said Rap. But what the fuck is Rock and Roll? The first thing is: Rock and Roll was the White man’s way of keeping his daughters and wives from getting moist while listening to and watching Black Blues artists. Blues didn’t need another name; it didn’t need Jazz and it certainly didn’t need Rock. But here we are.
Rock and Roll has never been about music. It’s about doing and saying the most ridiculous shit under the guise of art. If that is so, right now, Kanye is The King. But how many barriers must kings break through? Louis Armstrong broke the racial barrier; James Brown; MLK; Michael Jackson; now Kanye. And as Kanye’s “New Slaves” suggests, racism is still alive and well. So are Black people really breaking barriers?
We ain’t cracking the glass ceiling as much as we are poppin’ bottles.
The mantra throughout his recent BBC interview is Kanye saying he needs backing to do all the shit he wants to do. So, that’s where we are with it. A multibillionaire needs backing to build his dream of the world’s first trillion-dollar company. In one breath he acknowledges that his people were brought over to America against their will on ships, then he follows with what the same people won’t give him. Quite a quandary.
I don’t get Rock and Roll—more accurately—I don’t get the fascination with Rock and Roll. I don’t get the decadence and the attitudes that come along with it. They should just drop the euphemism and call Rock what it really is: Undeserved Entitlement. The highest honor in Rap—or any music—is an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; just another pat on the head from Massa for being a good boy.
Why do we still seek the White man’s approval?
But, he’s gotta know, right? I think he does. So Kanye’s need or desire to get backing to further his vision reminds me of what Louis Armstrong said years ago as told to him in his youth by Black Benny:
“Always have a White Man who like(s) you, and can and will put his hand on your shoulder and say, ‘This is my Nigger and can’t nobody harm ya.’”
But in order to be a game changer, you gotta be in the game. I kinda scoffed at Kanye when he first fancied himself as a Civil Rights activist, but upon reflection, maybe he is. Someone has to do the work at the level he’s doing it. I’m not going to talk to Fendi, I’m not interested in going to Cannes, I don’t care to live in Paris or hobnob with billionaires. He’s doing the work in that strata and I applaud him for it.
Kanye is not crazy; he can act like a little whiny bitch sometimes, but so fucking what? And he’s not a musician, but he’ll tell you that himself. He’s an artist and a genius and should be taken way more seriously than he is. For Jimmy Kimmel, or Kimble as he was called on the Flavor Flav roast, to reduce his recent BBC interview with Zane Lowe to two kids drinking milkshakes is insulting and endemic of today’s passively racist culture. And, yes—once again—I’m making it about race.
So, do yourself a favor if you haven’t seen it already and watch the BBC interview in its entirety and see proof that Kanye is not out of his mind—at least not in a bad way—but is one of the most astute and brilliant minds of our times.
Here, I’ve made it easy for you:
— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop