Kanye West has debuted his new post-The Life of Pablo release live show in Manila, Philippines over the weekend, and just as performing songs are guaranteed, so too are mid-show rants.
Now, I’m not going to beat around the bush here. I love Kanye, and I really love The Life Of Pablo. I think it’s a great album and have been listening to it pretty regularly since it was released the first time. But I am also not blind to the many problems that Kanye West creates for himself and the world. From siding with Bill Cosby, to his incessant rants about anything and everything, right through to his pretty atrocious treatment of his ex Amber Rose, it’s pretty hard being both a feminist and a Kanye fan. It’s even harder when he puts one of my favourite artists, Rihanna, on the same song as his lyric “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous” drawing attention to his infamous stunt interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV VMA’s back in 2009.
What’s worse is that now West has credited this lyric and song with helping him break his writer’s block. In a weird speech after the first ever live performance of Famous, Kanye detailed the infamous incident as “the beginning of the end of my life,” with the lyric being something “that I wanted to say so bad that they told me I couldn’t say.”
It doesn’t end there. He goes onto detail how he was merely saying something everyone else was thinking, and he was only speaking the truth. “So if I get in trouble for saying the truth, what’s being said the rest of the time?” he said. “And I had to fight every day for the rest of my life with the whole world turned against me for saying out loud what everyone else felt. But that’s the job of the artist, of a true artist — not to be controlled by their finances, not to be controlled by perception, but only to be controlled by their truth.”
I’m all for hanging shit on Taylor Swift, I find her offensive and detrimental to young girls as she peddles an unrealistic and dangerous narrative about ultimately needing validation from a man to be truly happy, but I am not for this. My dad always said to me, “Attack the point, not the person” and Kanye is doing the exact opposite with that here. Talking about how he “made her famous” when she was very clearly quite famous already, to talking about how you’re probably going to have sex with her, all the way through to his shoulder-shrugging “everyone else was thinking it, I just said it” explanation is bullshit. Especially considering that should this be reversed and Kanye be treated in such a way, we would probably never hear the end of it.
Yes, Kanye speaks the truth about a lot of things, and yes that is very important. But this isn’t speaking the truth, this is personally vilifying someone for quite literally years on end. I know his “truth” is so much more than this, which is why it’s so disappointing that it keeps being brought up.
Just like his weird thing for bringing up Amber Rose at any given opportunity, Kanye should leave them both alone, respect the damage and hurt he has put onto them and move the fuck on. Maybe if he was less focussed on this shit and more focussed on his album he wouldn’t have had one of the most drawn out, unnecessary album releases “of all time.” Watch footage of the rant below: