On Saturday, Kanyé West went on one of his famous rants, during his concert, in London. The rapper took to the stage to express his discontent about Jay-Z,or so people thought. In an extended version of his song, “Clique”, Kanyé went off on corporations and the hold that it has over artists in the music industry. Noone expected Kanyé to take a jab at longtime friend, Jay-Z, saying, “I got love for Hov, but I ain’t f–kin’ with that ‘Suit & Tie.”
The rapper asked several times, “tell me why we in this sh^*?” He is basically saying why are we making music? He slammed corporations by saying, “Can I sell your drink for you, please?” “So you can help me put on a better show, please, corporations? Can you please support me, please? Me, Kanyé West? I swear I’m a nice n—a now. I swear I’ll put the pink Polo back on.”
But before you get upset with Kanyé West for expressing how he feels, understand that he is exposing the ills of the entertainment industry that everyone wants to shy away from. The industry can be viewed as the brand new slave trade of the world. Have we really advanced, since the days of the minstrel era and blackface? Yes we have advanced. Instead of us being the one’s not allowed to perform as African Americans, and degrade ourselves, we have now stepped up to the plate to claim our place and to say hey, I’m black, there is no need to have someone else do a song and dance for you. I’ll do what you want, and look no blackface. You have the real thing here, and all it takes is for you to dangle a bigger money carrot in front of my face and I’ll take the bait, while you get all of the glory. I’ll sing what you want me to. Sure I’ll devalue my heritage, making derogatory statements about a civil rights icon. How much money will I make?”
What the media has been passing around as a direct hit on Jay-Z, by Kanyé West , is quite the contrary. His rant was not about what Jay-Z is doing. He is addressing the fact that corporations have stripped the artists of their creativity, turning them into mechanical slaves that are used to sale their products to speak cooperate language, instead of being able to express themselves through their own words . Artists these days ,on this new plantation, do not have the freedom to speak unless they paste their face on the latest product or sale their creativity in the name of the biggest soft drink brand, the latest cell phone, clothing line, etc. Some will say that it is good business sense to have a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” mentality. Others will say, these artists have become obsessed and are chasing the almighty dollar.
It seems like Kanyé West is fighting to regain his creativity, going back to the days when he actually had something meaningful to say in his lyrics. The industry may have taken its toll on Kanyé and don ‘t be surprised if he wants out. But how do you get out of an industry that financially has you in a choke hold, unless you own what you do? But then one has to ask the question, how do you get the support, as an African American to do that? How do you gain the respect in an industry that is designed to keep you shucking and jiving to live?
Asa Lovechild is an accomplished actress and singer out of New York City.