Monday, February 27, 2012

Wake up Mr. West--I have a problem

Whenever I run on a track, I make sure that Kanye is there to narrate my attempt at physical fitness.  A movie montage breaks out in my head with the song “Last Call” playing in the background.  The camera angle cuts back and forth from the first person perspective to a side view of my stride.  A feeling of invincibility rushes over me as the song builds up to the chorus.  Everyone in the gym starts to feel my heart rate increasing, the burning in my gluts, and even the bittersweet irritation of my nipples chaffing against my cotton t-shirt.  A sizeable crowd begins to mount behind me as they cheer me on to a successful workout.  It is almost as if everybody is listening to the exact same song I am at the exact same time.  And we all have this incremental boost in our swagger, which materializes into running that much faster. It takes every ounce of my self-restraint to not yell out “Mayonnaise colored Benz—I push miracle whips!” as I finish mile one.
I am a self-diagnosed Kanye-A-Holic.  If I go longer than four hours without hearing a song off the College Dropout album I get the shakes.  But like a heroin addict who can get by on xanax until their dealer comes thru, I am able to settle for a crappy synthetic radio jam like 808 and Heart Break in a pinch.  I often find myself trying to parallel his lyrics in conversations ranging from the meaning of life to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The question is why?  I do not have the slightest idea what its like to stunt on a jumbo-tron, or to be the owner of a 20,000 dollar Jesus piece, or to have bi-weekly brunches with Jay-z and Beyonce….but by god I would love to. 
Music panders to every emotion imaginable and when an artist pours his soul into a rhythmic, cathartic release, it is beautiful.  The beauty of any art is this: we continuously harbor painful/triumphant memories, and the crippling self-awareness of our shortcomings and vulnerabilities—that we need an escape from ourselves.  We become bored with the trite voice inside our heads so we live vicariously through someone else’s description of the human experience.  Sometimes we can directly relate with the message of the artist and other times we cannot, and yet we do not care.  The latter is exactly how I feel about Kanye West.  
Who else has the bravado to shit on america's
sweetheart? And still bounce back.
I cannot directly identify with what he is saying but I respect the way he carries himself.  He speaks with confidence, candor, and consistency.  Too often, I let social norms and the status quo dictate the person that I am but Kanye is not shackled by the rules of normalcy.  I suppose when you are rich, famous, and talented you can get away with just about anything but Kanye does this with an attitude and style unlike any other artist.  I wish I could go through life like Kayne but I would be perceived as cocky, arrogant, and thick headed.  But that desire is the empirical value of his music: he personifies a demeanor we wish we could all ostensibly present but instead we can only embody him internally, and by ironically imitating his lyrics at house parties or in the privacy of our vehicles.  His music describes the human experience through his eyes and its kind of romantic to try and imagine the lens with which he sees the world through, if only for a moment.
Art, in any capacity, has a lot of value to me because it’s a means of expression, escape, and it has an eerie way of unifying people.  For example, many people think that Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” accurately describes their romantic plight, just like their are those who believe daily horoscopes accurately describes the essence of their lives.  It’s a self fulfilling prophecy in the belief that “we are never alone”.  Social interaction is driven by the fear of loneliness and the silence that is associated with it.  Music solves both of these problems because fans connect with other fans and thus are not alone as the music fills the silence.   
The perfect example of this is of course concerts.  Concerts alter our moods, inhibitions, and confidence. We have a chance to be around people who all came to see the same person purge their emotions into a symphony of theatrics.  There is something rather comforting about having at least one thing in common with thousands of people in a single area.  This comfort allows you to relax, release, and enjoy.  I specifically remember my knees bending in ways that they never have before while listening to the sweet live guitar rift of Blink 182’s “What’s my age again”.  Similarly, the first and last cartwheel I ever did in my life was when I heard the live sax-a-phone solo in Dave Matthew’s song “The Warehouse”.  I was hardly myself and I never felt better.  
I suppose as a white male I can identify with somebody like Dave Matthews or Blink 182 more than Kanye but they do not evoke nearly as much emotion out of me.  I don’t even want to know how I would act if I ever got the chance to attend a Kanye concert but my guess is I would have a hard time reverting back to reality after having my swag gland artificially stimulated for two straight hours.  Music is so important because it gives you a chance to either affirm your reality with a new perspective or temporarily escape it, while simultaneously connecting with both the artist and the people around you.

I bought my whole family whips, no volvo's

Next time I'm in Church please no photos,
Police escorts, everybody passports,

This the life that everybody ask for

Sorry, that was the last Kanye reference --Watch the throne while I am in Kanye Rehab.   The cure? Two hours of Jason Aldean’s Pandora station followed by one hour of Garth Brooks, followed by Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” played continuously until I stop referring to myself as Ye’.


  1. You're writing has improved a ton - a fun read for sure.

    And a nice throwback to Dave Chapelle on the "stereotypical music a white male should identify with." Don't forget the air guitar riffs in the midst of all that synthesized Kanye-techno.

  2. Love it man, keep writing. I enjoyed it.