by Emma DeWeese
It’s safe to say the whole world has been keeping up with Kanye. From his over-the-top publicity stunts and his considerably offensive statements, Kanye West has been the center of attention ever since he stepped into the spotlight in the early 2000s. Whether you love or hate him, it’s fair to say he has left the media in a frenzy after recent antisemitic statements that seemed to come out of nowhere.
Kanye (Ye) was always involved in music growing up. His mother, Donda, encouraged his creativity and paid for a recording studio when he was only thirteen so he could produce his first song in 1990 according to Donda West, and documented by Top 40 Charts.
Ye began to gain popularity from beats he produced and sold to Gravity, Jermain Dupri, and Ma$e’s Harlem World group in 1998. While he was rapidly gaining fame from small projects, his biggest boost came from signing with Roc-A-Fella records and producing This Can’t Be Life from Jay-Z’s album, The Dynasty. Rolling Stone refers to 2000 as being Ye’s most influential year that created the icon that he is now.
Ye was met with a major roadblock in 2001 when he was in a horrible car accident that left him with a wired jaw. Instead of admitting defeat,Ye dropped Through The Wire featuring Chaka Khan, which earned him a 2005 Grammy Award nomination. February 10, 2004, Ye released The College Dropout selling 441,000 albums in its first week. Ye’s fame skyrocketed from this point on.
Over his career, Ye has released eleven albums since the start of his career and three of them have made Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Times” list according to top-40 Charts.
While Ye’s music career is rock solid, his social and political life is considered controversial. He has always been open about his political and personal views, but there are a few times he took the media by storm. His first noticeable outburst was during NBC’s A Concert for Hurricane Relief when Ye said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” according to US Weekly. Ye went on to explain he was upset by the response to black families during the hurricane Katrina relief efforts in comparison to white families.
His most recognizable stunt took place at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 when Taylor Swift received the award for best female video. Ye stole the mike from a shocked Taylor Swift and said, “I’m sorry, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”
If I were to list every single incident Ye has ever had we would be here all day, but lately, his statements have been extremely racist and damaging specifically towards Jewish people.
Early October is when Ye’s life started unraveling at an alarming rate. Ye made remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement and multiple antisemitic tweets that forced many brands to terminate their partnership with Ye. Once Ye regained access to his Twitter account, he tweeted that he was going “death con 3 on Jewish people,” causing him to lose control of his account and a large amount of backlash, according to Forbes.
How does someone with as much influence as Kanye West go off the rails so quickly? Many people think it’s due to his mental illnesses. In 2018 Kanye opened up about having bipolar disorder and how it has affected his mental well-being. Mayo Clinic says that bipolar disorder is when a person experiences severe mood swings. It makes sense for Ye to struggle with controlling his disorder but this should not excuse his racist behavior.
Another theory circulating is that this outrageous stunt is a way of gaining attention before an album drops. Ye has had a history of causing a splash in the media and then releasing music. After his infamous Taylor Swift incident mentioned above, Ye locked himself in his studio located in Honolulu, Hawaii, and didn’t leave until he had finished his album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. A few days after Ye’s antisemitic tweets, one of Ye’s projects got leaked, causing fans to rally around the rapper once again.
I’m a huge fan of Ye’s work, but I am not a fan of his attitude or views. While I do empathize with his difficult situation of balancing his bipolar disorder, family life, and his career, I wish Ye would recognize the impact his words have on people. I hope Ye can regain control of his life, but I do not support the havoc he has caused.