Moment of Truth: An Open Letter to Kanye West, From a Fan

Dear Kanye,

First off, I just want you to know that I love you, man. I love you as an artist. I love your music and I think you're one of the few real artists out there. I've gushed over you and explained to naysayers what you're all about. Heck, I've even made a few converts (they told me so). 

I thought your headlining set at 2014's Outside Lands festival was incredible. I even wrote about it to try and spread the gospel of what you stand for as an artist.

[jump] But what the fuck, dude?

Jumping onstage for a moment at the Grammy's on Sunday night was funny. I appreciated the joke. You showed that you can lightheartedly poke fun at your past antics, while none-too-subtly indicating that you thought Beck's Morning Phase was not the right choice for Album of the Year. That was chill enough in my book. But then later saying that “Beck needs to respect artistry“? You lost me there.

How can you just sweep Beck's more than 20-year-career away with one swift statement like that? How can you sweep any respectable artist's career to the side with those words? Do you even realize that Beck has challenged himself artistically and challenged listeners with his music, much like yourself over the last 20 years? Did you know that Beck was rapping 10 years before you even put out your first album? He's a wonderful musician who no doubt “respects artistry.”

Here's the thing, Yeezy. I like you more than Beck, so this isn't like I'm some Beck fanboy throwing his arms up in the air. But I also respect when an artist delivers meaningful music, whether it's pop or not. Whether it sells 2.2 million copies (Beyonce) or 330,000 copies (Morning Phase). What the fuck, dude?

Look, the Academy might've gotten the choice wrong on Album of the Year. Sure Beyonce's album had a major impact across the globe and is a part of many people's lives. But where is the fucking rubric that decides which is “better” than the other? You gotta let it go, man. Bey is gracious enough to not say anything about it and I highly doubt she'd anoint you to be the purveyor of pop music morality on her behalf.

The worst part — the part that still has me upset about this more than 24 hours later — is that now I'm seeing tweets and comments from the hip-hop community saying things like “I just listened to that Beck album and it's trash.” Do you see how your words have rendered this debate a counterproductive one?

I love your passion. It's amazing. It's what makes me feel you and your music when you're performing, but you done fucked up here, man. This is some misguided, hater-ass BS and all it's gonna end up doing is blurring the message you've worked so hard to convey over the last 10 years.

One love, respect, and art —


[Ed. note: We are, however, grateful to Kanye for bringing this Jay Z reaction-shot Vine into the world. Carry on.]

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