For anyone wondering about the every day struggles that one has to go through as a modern-day genius, the best way to have inquiries answered first hand is to take a look at the life and pain of Kanye West. West- a 37-year-old rapper, entrepreneur, fashion designer, father to a one-year-old daughter named North West. He is also a husband to reality television show Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Kim Kardashian. West is has a history of bringing attention to himself because of his sometimes arrogant nature, and has made headlines again as he compares himself to historically famous genius and artist Michelangelo in the latest issue of GQ magazine.
West expresses to GQ that he is happy to take on the burden of being hated in order to introduce creativity to the world. He explains his passion and drive toward creative genius when he says, “We need to take things to a genius level, that’s when you do stuff that’s perfect, that’s past what’s expected,” as a follow-up to telling the interviewer earlier in the conversation that for him, “perfection” is “ground zero.”
It has always been well-known that Mr. West is a perfectionist to the very sentiment of the word. For fans and followers of the Hollywood couple who heard anything about the dream wedding between West and Kardashian, perfection itself would be an understatement. West spared no expense as the wedding festivities took place in France and then in Italy, and he had his hand in every decision made from the food, to the activities and decorations, even down to the design of dresses. Every operation of the wedding was executed without flaw, and ‘Ye had another perfect work to add to his resume.
West put on a perfect event, and used similar perfectionist level thinking to create his 2013 platinum album, Yeezus. Yeezus himself acted upon inspiration he received visiting art galleries in France several times, surveying the work of Le Corbusier and visiting Louvre, studying painting and architecture. With Yeezus, West sought to create a work of art that was aesthetically different from his other albums. He did succeed, which came at the price of angering many of his fans, and confusing many Hip-Hop listeners whose ears could not adapt to the sound of the album. Yeezy chose to go for a minimalist sound, recalling instances where some of Hip-Hop’s best hits came from production that did not include much variation in instruments, sounds, or pitches. The minimalism even stretched to the very shell of the physical cd, where the casing had no album art. Seeing the cd on the shelf, the clear plastic case frame was the lone presentation to behold, decorated with only a small adornment of red tape, featuring album credits.
Yeezy looks to follow-up on the creativity and mastery displayed in Yeezus with his next album, which according to reports, could be in stores by the end of 2014. Malik Yusef, poet, writer, and G.O.O.D. Music artist, tells Rolling Stone that Mr. West is deep into production on the new album, and that twenty songs are done. Yusef and executives from Def Jam are already spreading news of the amazing artistry done by Yeezy on his latest work. As a self-proclaimed musical genius, West never struggles to reinvent himself, but the struggle at times has been about giving people a certain consistency to know what to expect. His struggle at times has been to even know what the rapper is truly trying to achieve other than creativity for creativity’s sake.
Music has never been enough by itself. The Rapper has always had an interest in the world of fashion, and has dreamt of breaking into design at the highest designer level. That dream has not been realized yet, as his designs to this point have not been respected by the fashion elite. ‘Ye has affected street wear fashion, as sneaker culture is familiar with the Yeezy’s by Nike, a very popular shoe designed by West himself, seen worn by celebrities such as LeBron James, Justin Beiber, Roger Federer, Pete Wentz, Jay Z, and Rihanna plus many other celebrities as well as “sneaker heads” everywhere. West will take his shoe designing talents next to Adidas where he will share in the profits of the sneakers; a deal that was able to happen because Nike refused to profit share with a non-athlete.
Taking a step further into the world of designing, ‘Ye has released news that he will be starting his own company, planning to ultimately take his sports kit designs and other works international. He says he will potentially give the world its first “trillion-dollar company.” West plans to start with the taking over the sports uniform designs at his old high school, then provide designs for teams around the city, then eventually professional sports. Knowing about West’s perfectionist tendencies and success with Nike, the rapper’s uniform designs can be expected to be an improvement to many sports teams current designs.
Success can have its price. There have often been questions about potential ramifications for West in his personal and family life in his pursuit of perfection and genius level work, mixed with a seeming unwillingness to calm his bravado. All of the news surrounding ‘Ye’s recent work and future ventures come as rumors have emerged that there could be a divorce in the near future for he and his recent bride Kardashian. The 33-year-old icon is infamous for her past short marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries. Tabloids and other media have displayed a tumultuous relationship for “KimYe” since the couple first joined in 2013. Recent news has broken that there has been much fighting between the couple, and a warning issued from Kardashian to West not to reach out to recently divorced ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose. Even further turbulence seems to be present in the rapper’s life as Yeezy has stated that he does not want his daughter around Scott Disick, boyfriend of Kourtney Kardashian and father to North West’s two cousins.
West has not traditionally been known as one who keeps the best relationships or have the best public image. One would have to wonder if his recent marital struggles, the bashing he takes in the media day in and day out, and the inability to live a life where any major details or affairs are kept private are what one can expect when producing genius level work. At least in public, the rapper does not seem to mind.
The rapper does note that “It’s a fight,” but details about how he feels about his personal happiness in the scheme of his persona and career are not something that West has vented about through media. The fight and struggle West alludes to in his GQ interview is about people’s’ willingness to accept less than a perfect… less than a genius level of work. Instead, he understands that he can expect a life of certain types of burden for his art’s sake, and for the sake of liking to be heard. As he compares himself to Michelangelo, West leaves GQ with one quote as a reference to Michelangelo’s pressure from peers and the parallel to his own opposers: “Michelangelo decides he wants to sculpt. There could be a bunch of sculptors that are like ‘Oh, no, you’re a painter.’ But he’s Michelangelo. And I am Kanye West.”
By LaBaron Jackson