What Happens When Angry Rappers Become Dads

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A Complex article titled “Travi$ Scott’s ‘Rodeo’ Will Be The True Sequel To Yeezus” got me thinking about Yeezus. Gary Suarez writes,

…There’s no greater evidence as to why Rodeo stands to be the true Yeezus sequel—one which Kanye’s SWISH won’t be—than Kanye himself. The three original songs Kanye’s given us so far range from the McCartney mush of “Only One” to the Diet “Black Skinhead” jam “All Day.”…None of these songs have come close to Yeezus, and it’s time his adoring fans start to accept that he’s moved on.

The phrasing of this conclusion, specifically the qualification that the songs he’s produced and rapped on since Yeezus have ever come close, were the most legitimate negative reviews of him that I’ve read. Just to be clear, I’m as big of a Kanye fan as one could possibly be. I don’t care about whether or not he’s an asshole—in fact, I don’t think he is, just don’t get me started on this when I’m drunk—and as I’ve written before, I believe he’s arguably the best hip hop artist of all time. But I had never considered that maybe people didn’t like the newer Kanye songs. I even loved his leaked ode to Kim, “Awesome”. I also think Suarez is selling “All Day” short—”All Day” is a great song.

Then I got scared. What if Kanye has gone soft? What if he’s gone too soft to make good music? Once I considered that this might be due to daddyhood, my PTSD kicked. I’d lost another favorite rapper to successful daddyhood. Just like Kanye West, Eminem was the most controversial of his time. Then, somehow he got to a point where he was making songs with Bruno Marz. What happened? Kanye says drugs and laziness are to blame for Eminem’s weird turn of career.

There’s always a moment, in retrospect, where you can see your favorite bands getting corny. For the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it’s Californication. For Eminem, it’s The Eminem Show.

The difference between the two is that Kanye West was able to create a post-Kanye world and continue to keep evolving. Eminem, not so much. To know that the same person made Graduation that did Yeezus is a feat in itself.


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