In 2012 Kanye West introduced most of the world to Chief Keef, via the G.O.O.D. Music remix of Keef’s local hit “I Don’t Like.” (I know, I know, you knew about Keef before Kanye, but most of America can’t touch your impeccable blog game.) This was something of a confusing move at the time, at least for me; the remix wasn’t an improvement by any means, and it had been a while since Kanye had shown significant interest in preserving his Chicago affiliations, but there he was, shouting out all the local rappers, putting on a 17-year-old kid from one of the most fucked up neighborhoods in the country. But I know why Kanye did the remix now (and I think he knows he didn’t improve upon the original either). He needed to confront white America with what they presumed at the time was their worst nightmare: a young black male who grew up in hell and no longer gave a single fuck, who used unfamiliar words and rapped about guns and money and drugs. You know, rapper stuff. (NOTE: When I say “white America” please know I am not being all-inclusive. Like, fuck, I’m white, I get that there are many white people who fully support and understand the racial and socio-political issues at hand here, and that I am being reductive by dichotomizing it into simply “black” vs “white” to begin with. Consider it shorthand for the type of non-black American unconcerned by or complicit in the perpetuation of these issues.)In reality though, Chief Keef isn’t white America’s worst nightmare. Because while he scares the living shit out of them in person, he fits neatly into the trope that many racist white Americans need young black men to fit into: violent, uneducated, aimless. They expect this kind of character, and in turn know how to strip him of his humanity, dismiss him, and avoid him. Kanye West is white America’s worst nightmare. Because as much as one may attempt to dismiss him—by calling him an asshole or classless or deranged or various other adjectives that fill the comment sections of literally every article about him—you still have to turn on your regularly scheduled late night comedy program and stare him in the face. You can’t avoid Kanye. He’s made very sure of that.
This is excellent, read it in full. On the Kardashian bit in particular:
* Yes, I know Patterson has institutional immunity, and that women also read him. I know because patterson, Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell make up about 60% of my mother’s reading habits, to the point where it’s a family joke that she won’t buy a book if there’s no murder in the title. This may explain a lot about me and my family.
** Kim codes white in relation to Kanye, but it’s kind of like how Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is either called white or not depending on who wants to make which point.
*** There was HWFO, but butthurt Louis Tomlinson stans are different than yuppies tsk-tsking about Kanye’s artistry being tainted.
You have not yet won.
There are three questions that you can ask yourself when you’re in an unpopular band:
1. Why don’t people like me?
2. Are they right?
3. Is our existence dependent on the answers to questions 1 and 2?