Ye vs. The People, translated.

Ever the artist, ever the subject of controversy, ever loved, ever despised, ever ahead of his time, ever the tastemaker, Kanye West has a new track for 2018 in the footsteps of his MAGA mania.i Let’s take a look at Ye vs. The People wherein “The People” is played by (the slightly washed up) T.I. and Yeezy plays himselfii :

[Intro: Four Tops]
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
I had for us
You turned my dreams into dust
I watch a phone that I had for us
You turned my dreams into dust

[Verse: Kanye West & T.I. (italics)]
I know Obama was heaven-sent
But ever since Trump won, it proved that I could be presidentiii
Yeah, you can, at what cost though?iv
Don’t that go against the teachings that Ye taught for?v
Yo, Tip, I hear your side and everybody talk though
But ain’t goin’ against the grain everything I fought for?vi
Prolly so, Ye, but where you tryna go with this?
It’s some shit you just don’t align with and don’t go againstvii
You just readin’ the headlines, you don’t see the fine printviii
You on some choosin’-side shit, I’m on some unified shit
It’s bigger than your selfish agenda
If your election ain’t gon’ stop police from murderin’ niggas
Then shit…ix
Bruh, I never ever stopped fightin’ for the people
Actually, wearin’ the hat’ll show people that we equalx
You gotta see the vantage point of the peoplexi
What makes you feel equal makes them feel evilxii
See that’s the problem with this damn nation
All Blacks gotta be Democrats, manxiii
We ain’t made it off the plantation
Fuck who you choose as your political party
You representin’ dudes just seem crude and cold-hearted
With blatant disregard for the people who put you in position
Don’t you feel an obligation to them?xiv 
I feel a obligation to show people new ideasxv
And if you wanna hear ‘em, there go two right here
Make America Great Again had a negative perception
I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction
Added empathy, care and love and affection
And y’all simply questionin’ my methodsxvi
What you willin’ to lose for the point to be proved?
This shit is stubborn, selfish, bullheaded, even for you
You wore a dusty-ass hat to represent the same views
As white supremacy, man, we expect better from you
All them times you sounded crazy, we defended you, homie
Not just to be let down when we depend on you, homie
That’s why it’s important to know what direction you’re goin’ now
‘Cause everything that you built can be destroyed and torn downxvii
You think I ain’t concerned about how I affect the past?
I mean, that hat stayed in my closet like ’bout a year and a half
Then one day I was like, “Fuck it, I’ma do me.”
I was in the sunken place and then I found the new me
Not worried about some image that I gotta keep up
Lot of people agree with me, but they’re too scared to speak upxviii
The greater good of the people is firstxix
Have you considered all the damage and the people you hurt?xx
You had a bad idea and you’re makin’ it worse
This shit’s just as bad as Catholic preachers rapin’ in churchxxi
Y’all been leadin’ with hate, see I just approach it different
Like a gang truce, the first Blood to shake the Crip’s hand
I know everybody emotional
Is it better if I rap about crack? Huh? ‘Cause it’s cultural?xxii
Or how about I’ma shoot you? Or fuck your bitch?
Or how about all this Gucci, ’cause I’m fuckin’ rich?
You’ll deal with God for the lack of respectxxiii
Startin’ to make it seem like Donnie cut you a checkxxiv
Now you toyin’ with hot lava, better be careful with that
What’s it mean to gain the world if you ain’t standin’ for shit?xxv
Okay I gotta say it, Ye, you sound high as a bitch
Yeah, genocide and slavery, we should just try and forget
And all that free thought shit, find a better defense
But if Ye just stuck in his way, he can leave it at that
Fuck it
Alright, Tip, we could be rappin’ about this all day, man
Why don’t we just cut the beat off and let the people talk?xxvi

___ ___ ___

  1. This tweeted photo plus some “dragon energy” has equalled much spilled ink. Because no one is more racist than democrats who think that they know what’s best for black people!

    Kanye West Yeezy MAGA hat 2018

    []

  2. On these pages we’ve previously “translated” Stressed Out and Bugatti. If you’re a fan of the musical angle, that’s where to continue your deep dive. []
  3. Hey, if 21st century US politics turns into a rich celebrity slugfest, why not Oprah vs. Yeezy for Election 2028 after Trump’s third term ?   []
  4. “The People” tend to imagine, quite falsely, that art is on their terms ; that the customer is always right and that the averages of their stuffed ballot boxes are the tastemakers. It ain’t so. Art is a manifestation of meaning and power, and Kanye is now in a unique position where he’s both creator and patron. So ya, he can pretty much do whatever the fuck he wants.   []
  5. The classic teachings that Ye taught for were very much along the lines of “All the mochalattes you gotta do Pilates.” At least that’s my recollection. But are gurls listenin’ ? []
  6. Kanye is indeed a professional pot-stirrer. It’s exactly this that’s always endeared him to me so. And although I get that not everyone likes to hear uncomfortable truths, Kanye’s pretty ridiculously popular given how “outrageous” he is. Remind you of anyone ? It should.   []
  7. “The People” here again imagine, quite falsely, that the interests of consumers are the interests of the wealthy and powerful, and vice versa, and furthermore than powerful people owe their power to the masses who’ve consumed their products “since the beginning.” In a zero-sum game, it’s certainly the case that The People who’ve had to have given up some portion of their pie in order raise one amongst them even higher, but status isn’t a zero-sum game and Yeezy has grown the pie, carving out his own slice along the way. So it’s his and he’s free to do what he wants with it. []
  8. Reading headlines is all that The People can really be expected to do, which is why “if it bleeds, it leads” is a thing. The People love being scared. They love living in fear. And the bigger the boogeyman, the happier they are. Today that boogeyman is “Climate Change” and “Hate Speech” but in previous times it’s been “Infidels in the Holy Land” or “Shylocks” or whatever. Plus ca change. []
  9. It’s worth recalling that “The (Black) People’s” election led to the murder of many, many “niggas” in Yemen, Somalia, Mali, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Southern Mediterranean, and elsewhere, all because the “Nobel Peace Prize” box was ticked before Bahamas even took office, so why not tick the “war” box next ? Bahamas wasn’t “their” President. He wasn’t “our” President. He was another crony capitalist who’s now on a speaking tour raking in tens of millions for having preserved an ossified system of rats and scoundrels. Such progress. []
  10. Wearing a MAGA hat is indeed a step towards connecting with a larger consumer base. Remember, it’s “our democracy” when your guy’s in office and “populism” when it’s anyone else. []
  11. The vantage point of The People is whatever they’re told and sold. What, like they’re independent agents with free will ? How are the kinetics of that supposed to even work ? []
  12. The People supporting Shillary and fearing Trump assume a zero-sum game. See footnote vii. []
  13. Or else they’re not acting in their own best interests! Only The Party knows what’s best for The People. All hail! Sieg Heil! []
  14. See footnote vii again. There’s definitely a pattern emerging here on the side of The People. []
  15. While Contravex obviously isn’t on the same level as Kanye, this is indeed the goal of the scribblings on these pages. It’s not always fun (though sometimes it is!) but it’s hopefully eye-opening. []
  16. Methods are indeed important in conveying a story – “the medium is the message” and all that – but should Kanye have Snapchatted or Insta’d his photo instead of Tweeting it ? Should he have waited for a paparazzi to snap the photo of him wearing his MAGA hat ? Or what ? That’s all besides the point, of course. The point is that new ideas hurt no matter the medium. But if The People (aka The Left) are really so inclusive and diverse, why is it so painful for them to be exposed to alternative viewpoints ? Perhaps because they’re not nearly as tolerant as they like to think ? []
  17. While it’s true that anything a man builds can be torn down, this isn’t to say that The People will be in any way involved. They may be, but it’s neither a necessary nor sufficient condition, making it somewhat ancilliary, in the classic sense of the term. []
  18. The silent majority certainly supports Trump, as the ballot boxes outside of California well demonstrated. But that’s an ironically inconvenient truth that partisans would rather ignore. []
  19. The greater good of The People might come first but far be it from them to decide for themselves. Really, who are they to argue with Kanye ? []
  20. Why doesn’t anyone consider how hard it is for Kanye to do what he’s doing ? The tiny salmon swimming upstream has it pretty rough too, y’know. []
  21. Funny that The People would bring religion into this, ain’t it ? Almost like their Church is under attack (which, of course, it is). []
  22. Crack, weed, diamonds, fast cars, big houses… these are the typical trappings of the highly disposable “rappers” who dun made it from the bottom to the top. Kanye’s fairly unusual in that he’s mainstream but still a cultural critic (aka artist) to a much greater degree than the rest of those in his genre. This is no doubt the leading contributor to his staying power. []
  23. Dat Church again… []
  24. Kanye doesn’t need The Donald’s money. Shillary needed to suck Monsanto dick, and she did, just as Bahamas sucked Musk’s dick, but Kanye’s a much freer man than either. As is The Donald for that matter. []
  25. Kanye’s standing for love, open-mindedness, and artistic expression, at the very least. Is that not enough for The People ? []
  26. Here’s the mic. What are they waiting for ? []

4 thoughts on “Ye vs. The People, translated.

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  2. [...] Meanwhile discussion of Kanye West and TI’s debate track Ye vs. The People has been limited to black media and scholarly venues. [...]

  3. […] wasn’t always quite as washed up as he is today, but 8 years ago is ~two generations in teh rap game. It’s not far off Bitcoin pace, really. […]

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