"It's crazy that we live in a world that if we're super positive and creative, it's scary."

Despite Kanye West being undoubtedly shit at articulating his ideas, they are most definitely present. Music is the aggregator for these ideas - largely aesthetic impulses - and we see them presented through his music videos, stage shows, street style, product, and interviews. 2013 was the year West became the lodestar for the liberation of the contemporary black male. His vanity is political. He is his own hype man, because who else (in western capitalist society) is fighting for his right to succeed (on western capitalist terms)?

I tend to agree with these ideas, because I enjoy Kanye West's music and because it is a fact that not one of his albums has been a flop (808s, the album that kicked off his 'weird' streak, is experiencing a resurgence of interest, but it was also his third consecutive number one release and "Love Lockdown" and "Heartless" did well on the charts). This is not something you can say for any other artist - that they possess a practically impenetrable discography. West has not had flops; he has not had a Kingdom Come or a Nastradamus. But I mostly agree because West grows even more committed to the idea of innovation in pop music and his fame is growing as a result (the notoriety is attendant). Esoteric doesn't always mean exemplary but, at least within rap, you can feel the slackening of boundaries, the ripple effect of West's experimentation on a genre that is too big and sprawling to hew to any single mode of expression. Kanye has influenced a generation with a vision that is so stridently devoted to hip-hop and what it means for young people and their expression, that he is forcing it to find new ways to survive. 

"For me, giving up is way harder than trying," West considers in the interview with documentarian Tomas Koolhas, posted below. He is consumed by his passion and often struggles to articulate or reconcile his conflicting beliefs with a prevailing sense of entitlement to the life of a creator. (And why shouldn't he be just as entitled - with all the attendant arrogance and privilege - to see himself that way?) This clip treats West as an equal, and indulges the intellectual and contextual trappings afforded to his (white) peers. He opens it by praising the interviewer's father, architect Rem Koolhaas, and Miuccia (Prada), and this genuflection isn't met with confusion or anti-intellectual derision. Sure, he raps, but he understands that his creative (and possibly spiritual) survival hinges on more than the stale, fear-filled tropes of what hip-hop is. Regarding his willingness to be open about that learning process, he says: "What matters is the people who are sparked by it."