I'm not saying the following is by any means OK, but people tend to give musicians a pass just because they can hold a note while playing an instrument. In fact, I'm pretty sure Jim Jefferies has a whole bit about in his stand-up. Elvis married a fourteen-year-old child bride. James Brown beat his women. Eric Clapton was a massive racist. And Morrissey is still a massive cunt. Which brings us to the subject of one Kanye West.
Now, before I go on, I need to make one thing very clear. This isn't going to be another eye-roll worthy takedown of Ye that reeks of political baiting. This will be a weighted judgement of his music's quality against the shittiness of his recent actions.
I'm a longtime Yeezus stan. I've (metaphorically) stood by him through what can only be described as an abusive artist to fandom relationship. Because lets be real here. It's getting hard to publicly identify as a Kanye fan. It's almost easier to admit you still support Louis CK or Aziz Ansari at a dinner party.
So, without further ado, lets get a definitive answer to the overpriced-during-resell question: Is Kanye West really talented enough for us to excuse all his bullshit?
Suggesting slavery was a "choice"...
As you're probably abundantly aware of by now, Ye got a little carried away and suggested slavery was a "choice" a few months back. It goes without saying that this sentiment is wrong on so many levels. Morally. Politically. Historically. There's three (3) levels right there. It's something that shouldn't ever be suggested again.
... but, he did make 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'...
For such a heinous act, his strongest work must be pulled out to cover the damage. But does a work as tremendous and genre defying as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy have what it takes to absolve this sin? Almost. But unfortunately, not quite. Hit the tally.
Against Ye: 1 For Ye: 0
His childish public rant about Elon Musk...
It's no secret our favourite porn aficionado is ruled by his emotions. Just yesterday, he got up on the table of an art school and proceeded to launch into the recorded tirade below. There was a good intent in his heart. But fairly childish, no?
... although, 'Flashing Lights' still brings a tear to our eyes (don't lie)...
Years from now, 'Flashing Lights' will start playing somewhere and that crescendo will, in the words of Young Thug, make me feel some kind of way. The only thing being played more powerfully or poetically than those opening strings as the 808s kick in are my emotions. This one leans in Yeezy's favour.
Against Ye: 1 For Ye: 1
Aligning himself with Trump for all the wrong reasons...
The only name people are more tired of seeing in the media besides Kanye West is Donald Trump. And the alliance of the two was one that both puzzled and disappointed many. No one would have guessed the man that openly called out George W. Bush for not "caring about black people" in the wake of how FEMA handled Hurricane Katrina would side with a head of state far more divisive in the realms of race, in addition to gender and class.
Side note: I will defend him over the latest miscommunication regarding the 13th amendment. The prison-industrial complex of today has indeed abused the human rights of its population to an egregious degree, comparable to modern slavery.
... but, 'Runaway' is a contemporary masterpiece...
'Runaway' with Pusha T is a contemporary masterpiece that transcends the genre of hip-hop. It's a composition that just won't quit and stand the test of time (right up there next to 'Flashing Lights'). That being said, until Ye takes off that loud AF #MAGA hat, not even 'Runaway' can make up for this one.
Against Ye: 2 For Ye: 1
Whatever the fuck we witnessed on his latest SNL appearance...
The botched performance, the costume, the speech... everything. No further comments required.
... yes, I hear you, but, he gave us this iconic 2 Chainz verse...
Cancels out. No question.
Against Ye: 2 For Ye: 2
Delaying the release of Yandhi...
Kanye's highly-anticipated album and rumoured spiritual sequel to Yeezus was supposed to have dropped last Saturday. And not "supposed to" like Frank Ocean was "supposed to" drop new music prior to 2016. This was confirmed by the man himself via the holy text that is Twitter. Many were on the edge of their seats, awaiting that godly Apple Music drop. Even us.
Not on. Indefensible. Period.
There's nothing to defend that. Ultimate dick move. Divide a country already delicately hanging in the balance all you want. Offensively re-write all the history you can get your hands on. Hell, throw was many public tantrums as your heart desires. But do not fuck with the expectations of the fans. When you say you're dropping new music, you drop that shit quick and smart.
Against Ye: 3 For Ye: 2 (VERDICT STANDS AGAINST KANYE WEST)
In all seriousness though, no. Kanye West is not talented enough for us to excuse the compendium of his bullshit circulating in the public sphere now or ever. And that isn't to say he isn't incredibly talented. Because to be clear, he is. It's just that no one should ever be beyond the reproach of criticism under any circumstances.