OPINION: Kanye’s lost the plot

Kanye West's latest album,

COURTESY

Kanye West's latest album, "Jesus is King," was released Oct. 25. Opinion Editor Kevin Benavides says this album missed the mark.

The only thing more inherent to humans than their ego is the ability to breathe.

Every person has some level of ego. This concept has been studied and observed by the likes of Sigmund Freud and other top psychoanalysts, and they agree that the ego is one of the fundamental traits of human beings.

In the field of the music industry, the concept of ego is often tied to one man; Kanye West.

West (or Kanye, Ye, Yeezus, or whatever else he would like to go by) is both famous and infamous for his actions that have drawn much public attention over the years. He’s been panned and lauded — sometimes for the same actions — and he seems to delight in the attention he receives, regardless of how it’s viewed by the public. 

To be sure, he’s garnered a huge fan base for just being who he is, and it’s unquestionable that he is one of the most successful artists of the modern era, influencing countless artists and also raising up several more under his wing. He is a wellspring of creativity.

Even for those who don’t care for him, or even denounce him, most people will assume and agree that it’s his larger-than-life ego that drives him to continue searching for the spotlight. Ego has been so frequently tied to confidence and arrogance that many believe that being too confident is the result of having a large, or strong, ego.

However, it’s quite the opposite. Encyclopaedia Britannica explains that “weakness of ego is characterized by such traits as impulsive or immediate behaviour, a sense of inferiority or an inferiority complex, a fragile sense of identity, unstable emotionality, and excessive vulnerability.”

When framed in this definition, it’s fairly obvious where West’s ego lies.

Since nearly the beginning of his career, West has been tied to the controversy of his public statements, regardless of the quality of his music. Some older fans may fondly remember the charity telethon “A Concert for Hurricane Relief” in response to Hurricane Katrina, where West went into a meandering, breathy tirade shortly before uttering the famous line: “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.”

This was long before his infamous taking of the microphone from Taylor Swift to praise Beyonce. A producer for the telethon was even anonymously quoted as saying that West was known for “making everything about himself.”

And that still holds true. Since the telethon incident, he’s been the subject of many more instances of forcing his foot into his mouth and then acting as if that was the plan all along. He’s also tried to force his way into the fashion industry, the video game industry, the shoe industry, and now the religion industry with his newest album, “Jesus is King.”

While some ventures have worked out better than the others, it’s been made clear that West has never been just about his music. And West was also never shy to reference those ventures in his music; he called out Nike for not doing business with him after his shoe deal with Adidas and he references in another song about how he started his own fashion line after the industry wouldn’t accept him (for good reason, in my opinion).

However, it wasn’t until “Jesus is King” that he attempted to blend the two interests together. 

His most recent album sees West taking his music in a direction that has been seen before, but not with the conviction so clearly shown. There is no swearing on the album, there are clear gospel influences throughout the album, and he even asked his producers and staff not to have premarital sex while they worked on the album.

Uh. Okay.

From a religious perspective, I suppose there may be merit to that. But simply going back to his most recent collaborative album with Kid Cudi, “Kids See Ghosts,” we hear West rapping about the flat-out pleasure of sex, with “Fourth Dimension.” Also notable in this song is the lack of mention of any religious deity or creed. 

Well, other than the line, “Now drop to your knees for the offering,” which absolutely does not imply the religious reference it is making when put in context of the rest of the lyrics. 

This is only one example of how West has become lost in the miasma of his own mind. It seems that in recent years, he’s only become more scatter-brained in his thought processes. So much so, that it’s increasingly affecting his music. While it may have been an intentional stylistic choice in “The Life of Pablo,” his most recent album shows that he seemingly can’t keep a consistent idea in his music anymore.

“Jesus is King” does not feel like a Christian album. Rather, it feels like a series of reminders to himself that someone else is always in charge, and he needs to put those reminders in song form to convince himself that this is the case. It does not feel like an appeal to confused souls or even to Christians — rather a self-declaration that he is not the center of the universe, even though the rest of the world has known that already.

Another issue is that his “born again” schtick feels even less genuine when he so proudly supports Donald Trump, someone whose words and actions so clearly act against the teachings of Christianity that a new word needs to be invented, because hypocrisy doesn’t feel sufficient.

He calls himself “God’s practical joke to all liberals,” when he’s only making himself out to be a bigger butt of one than ever before.

I don’t know what the future holds for Kanye, but I do know that his ego is getting weaker as time passes, and people are starting to take notice. There will soon come a tipping point towards either realization or the effective end of his career.