Someone with multiple Platinum albums, tens of millions in the bank, and a legacy as an artist that's long been beyond reproach—how can you say someone like that has just now "arrived"?
Because this is something different.
Kanye began as a producer, he evolved into a pretty decent rapper, he graduated to become a full-fledged spectacle, and now... Well, he was outstanding in all of those roles, but today, he's all of those things, and better. What we're watching now is an artist hitting his stride. He's finally learned how to wield his power.
He talks like a caricature of himself, but that doesn't even matter. It's part of his charm at this point. He can come out on Saturday Night Live and perform in a red leather suit, and because his performance is so undeniably awesome, the outfit somehow elevates it further. The man rapped about "disestablishmentarianism" on SNL—he should be wearing an bright red leather suit.
And now, this guy that often looks like a parody is beginning to take the shape of something more profound. A rapper that's an artist. An artist that still remembers to be the best rapper on every track he touches. A producer that has the ear for beats that'll turn into anthems, and the lyrical acumen to make that happen. A performer with an accute sense of the moment, but just enough delusion to do something like, say, perform with 50 ballerinas surrounding him on national TV.
It's funny that he has the gall to name a song Christian Dior Denim Flow. So we laugh. But then, try getting get that song out of your head. Then he records a song with Bon Iver and again, we all laugh--there goes Kanye, acting like he's more than a rapper. But... Lost In The World. He sorta kills it. Maybe he's more than a rapper, after all?
In the new issue of XXL (via NY Mag), Kanye tells a story:
When I visited (Lil) Wayne at Rikers Island, I had a suit on with some slippers, and the guard said, 'Man, those shoes are amazing.' And I said, 'Yes, they are. I'm Kanye West.'
Is it arrogance or honesty?
That's been the question all along with 'Ye, but the answer seems to be changing lately, and it's happening right before our eyes. On Good Fridays, on Saturday Night Live, on Twitter, and on and on and on. If you haven't already, make time for Kanye, and enjoy this moment while it lasts.