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The Kanye Equation

February 24, 2011

Here’s the thing with pop music: you create the trend, or you re-contextualize it. They key lies in which end of the spectrum you fit: are you the trend setter, or the follower?

Lady Gaga has done a good job of making herself seem like shes created something new, but shes mostly borrowing from Madonna and Grace Jones. Part of Kanye’s success is that he does a good job of re-contextualizing contemporary themes:

T. Pain + autotune = 808’s and Heartbreak

Lady Gaga + monsters = ‘Monster’

I couldn’t help but be reminded of his trend jumping while listening to ‘Gorgeous’ (off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)

Ain’t no question if I want it, I need it

This isn’t a Kanye-hate post (I’m actually really liking MBDTF, if a few months late) its just a little ‘let me call you on your shit’ post. If artistically licensed style stealing wasn’t so commonplace, about 99% of musicians and other artisans would be eliminated pretty quickly.

After listening to MBDTF, I admit that Kanye is no doubt a man with talent. Albeit his trend hopping and an attitude that overestimates his originality, Kanye himself gives his best defense on ‘Power’:

At the end of the day god damnit I’m killing this shit/you know damn well y’all feeling this shit

Agreed.

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