When someone asks you who is the greatest rapper and/or hip-hop producer, who do you say? The majority of us would barely take a second before rattling off names like Jay-Z, Tupac and Biggie; for producers, we’d probably say Dr. Dre, Madlib, Dilla and founding father Grandmaster Flash. How many of us would throw in Kanye? He is one of the hardest working men in hip-hop right now. Kanye has won 21 Grammy Awards and his 2004 debut, The College Dropout, was named Album of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly, among other accolades. But do awards make the man? Or does the man make the award winning music?
Veteran record producer Bob Ezrin debates Kanye’s worth. If you’re wondering who Ezrin is, don’t worry – the crew at G.O.O.D. Music doesn’t know who he is either.
**Googles Bob Ezrin…**
— PUSHA T (@PUSHA_T) February 24, 2016
Ezrin is a Canadian music producer and keyboardist, best known for producing culturally impactful albums like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, KISS’s Destroyer, and Lou Reed’s Berlin. Recently, Ezrin wrote lengthy commentary on Kanye for Bob Lefsetz’s newsletter, the Lefsetz Letter. The scathing rant stems from Kanye news appearing in the New York Times.
Ezrin opens by saying, “What kind of crazy, fucked up world is it where this guy is considered to be culturally important!!???”
“Sure, he made some great music for himself and others. But in spite of what the aspirationally-cool media keeps saying about him, unlike other creators in his genre like Jay-Z, Tupac, Biggie or even M.C. Hammer for that matter, it’s unlikely that we’ll be quoting too many of Kanye’s songs 20 years from now,” Ezrin continued. “He didn’t open up new avenues of public discourse like NWA, or introduce the world to a new art form like Grandmaster Flash, or even meaningfully and memorably address social issues through his music like Marshall, Macklemore and Kendrick.”
From what we know about Kanye, having a go at Kanye only results in Twitter rants. But Ezrin knew this going in. “Instead Kanye’s greatest achievements have been in the form of excessive behavior, egomaniacal tantrums and tasteless grandstanding,” He said. “What he is a true artist at is living his life out loud – and shoving it down the throats of the rest of us whether we give a shit or not. He’s like that flasher who interrupts a critical game by running naked across the field. Is that art???”
Great point, but can Ezrin handle Kanye’s potential response to this?
Well, we are about to find out.
“Has anybody ever heard of Bob Ezrin???” Kanye began. “What the fuck does he know about rap… I’m tired of old people that have no connection with anything trying to comment on music!” “It’s guys like you that run companies and don’t invest in Ye even if I’m your kid’s idol!!!” He then tweeted, “Do something relevant…” and went on to say:
Bob please never speak in public again… you are everything that is wrong with the old guard … — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 24, 2016
Rock and Roll was stolen… Rap was exploited…
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 24, 2016
Kanye then sent another string of messages: “Your kids are ashamed of their dad… Sorry for speaking about kids… but could you imagine if you were Bob Ezrin’s kids… I’m so sorry for them… I will send them free Yeezys to make up for the embarrassment that you have caused your family!” Wikipedia doesn’t mention Ezrin having kids, but the resale value on those Yeezys is massive, so some good might come out of this beef.
Bro you said Macklemore was more important musically than me… no offense to Macklemore, he’s a nice human being! — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 24, 2016
At the end of the day, both Kanye and Ezrin need to learn not to over use exclamation points and question marks. Kanye needs to be put in his place when his ego and God-complex come into play. It’s hard to say if more people would like Kanye’s music if he had the modesty and composure of, say, Kasey Chambers, or the more genre-relevant Talib Kweli. But for the foreseeable future, we are going to have to live with the egomaniac that is Kanye, because it seems that not even crushing debt will stop him.
Image via XXL