I’m watching the Kanye West interview with New York radio host and Hip Hop head Charlamagne, as I write this. Not for nothing but I touched on Kanye and Trump in this article a few days before he set the news cycle on fire with his “Slavery was a choice” comments. While I watch this interview, I can’t help but notice as he crosses back and forth between mad man and a well articulated creative thinker. Part artistic genius and part self centered poster boy of paranoia — high off of white, reality TV, rich, republican, entitled, Calabasas culture.
I saw a title of an article here on Medium yesterday titled how “white people can talk about Kanye West while staying in their lane”. I didn’t read it but fortunately for me, I’ve never been that worried about staying in my lane. That being said, there’s no defending his absurd and bizarre “slavery was a choice” comment. That issue has and will continue to be addressed by plenty of people other than me, I’ll leave that up to them. My focus is on the why behind his recent stints of verbal diarrhea, as well as all he said in the interview that got overshadowed by his outrageous TMZ slavery rant.
My interest lies in whether he’s truly cuckoo or it’s all calculated. I must admit, at times he comes off as a man who has gone off the deep end. You can see it in his eyes. It’s in his smile and stare throughout his interview with Charlamagne. All of these recent Kanye outbursts come a month before the release of his newest album, after months of silence from him after his last public meltdown on stage. One that led to a fallout between him and a man he considers a mentor and big brother of sorts in Jay-Z, that had been slowly brewing for some time.
While I said he comes off as slightly out there, even outside of his thoughts on slavery — throughout much of the hour and 48 minute interview with Charlamagne , this is not the case. For the most part, he’s extremely articulate. His demeanor is calm, cool and collected. He pauses extensively before answering many questions, as to carefully think about his response rather than react impulsively. He expresses interesting and creative thoughts and perspectives on everything from music to business and fashion. With sprinkles of madness spread throughout, before returning to the well spoken millionaire who’s simply sharing his thoughts, despite how outlandish or outrageous some of them come off to most of us.
After watching the interview with Charlamagne in it’s entirety, he doesn’t strike me as a man stricken with mental illness. Sure, there’s hints of paranoia in a few thoughts he expresses but for the most part, he seems to know exactly what he’s saying. One who knew what he was doing when he gave a man with Charlamagne’s influence in Hip Hop news and culture an opportunity for an exclusive sit down interview. Though I’m not doubting these thoughts and opinions are genuinely his own and what he believes, the timing of it is too convenient for me to not view it all as a part of a genius marketing plan.
A way of making sure his name stays in the news in the month leading up to his album release, for advertising reasons as well as to appease his own ego. You know what they say, any publicity is good publicity. We’ll just have to wait and see how the album does. Speaking of which, with still a month to go until the album is officially released, something tells me Kanye is just getting started. There’s really no telling what he may do or say next and whether it’s more of a marketing ploy or well timed madness. The only thing I know for certain is, as much as I may disagree with his political opinions and dislike much of his public persona, it doesn’t take away from my interest in hearing the new album and I’’m sure it’s peaking others curiosity as well. People who wouldn’t have listened before, just may now. And many of his longtime fans will take the stance I will, in ignoring his opinions and personality while enjoying the album. You don’t have to agree with him but you gotta give it to him, it’s pretty genius from a marketing standpoint.