If you would have told me that the same man who once proclaimed that President George Bush did not not care about Black people on national television would someday publicly support a president elect who constantly spewed racist rhetoric in his campaign, I would have laughed in your face. Sadly, this became a reality overnight.
During his stop in San Jose, California as part of his Saint Pablo Tour, Kanye West took some time to get political. Although stating that he did not vote in the most recent presidential election, the rapper confessed that he would have voted for Donald Trump and that black people should get over racism, bringing Twitter (and his audience) ablaze.
For anyone with the slightest history of the principles that Kanye once stood for, this might come as quite a surprise. With his 2004 major breakthrough with The College Dropout, Kanye West offered a breath of fresh air in the genre. Discussing topics such as materialism in "All Falls Down" and "We Don't Care" or racism in "Never Let Me Down," the rapper was ushering a new wave of "consciousness" in hip-hop as the genre was commercializing in the meanwhile.
Kanye's second release - the equally superb Late Registration - was just as, if not more, political than his debut. From alleging that the government was responsible for administering HIV/AIDS and crack into our communities and funding Al-Qaeda with chemical warfare in "Heard 'Em Say" and "Crack Music" respectively, or denouncing the mining of blood diamonds in "Diamonds from Sierra Leone," the rapper had established himself as a controversial figure not afraid to use his voice to speak for the voiceless. It was no coincidence that the now infamous Hurricane Katrina/George Bush controversy was also during this period.
Compiling a list of all of the times that Kanye West has used his platform to shed light on injustice would not only be exhausting but useless. Sure, he has been instrumental in pushing the conversation of racism in not only the entertainment industry but also in pretty much every facet of life; however, past good deeds do not and should not eliminate recent wrongdoings.
Many have attributed Kanye's downspiral to his allegiance with the media-obsessed Kardashian family which may be somewhat true. His post-marriage actions have been quite questionable, such as his claim that classism is the new racism (even though the intersection of the two evils have been apparent for eternities and racism is the new and old racism) or his problematic Yeezy casting call which requested "multiracial woman only." During this period, Kanye has also became seemingly disillusioned from his early music. 'Cause when he get on, he'll leave your ass for a white girl, right?
Nonetheless, Kanye is an adult and should be held accountable for his own actions without Kim and the rest of the Kardashian clan being scapegoated. The only person to blame for Kanye's regression is Kanye himself. Although a bit despairing to admit as a fan, the old Kanye that we came to love is not the same Kanye today. The new Kanye would rather sell $120 white tees yet claim we're "new slaves" to corporations. The new Kanye would rather publicly shame Amber Rose for doing the same thing that he applauds his wife for. The new Kanye would rather spend a career addressing racism in his music and then foolishly support a racist presidential candidate.
I guess he was right when he rapped "I miss the old Kanye."