By John Stewart
There aren't many people who understand Kanye West. Most everyone has attempted this feat only to be left unsuccessful. There have been quite a few instances where the world got to experience Kanye outside of what they hear in song form and the response to these occasions has shown that the world had no clue of how to truly process what they saw.
One thing that has come about from this, though, is that we've seen Ye go into periods of silence. Non-information has fed millions of opinions and the speculation never dies. It only grows.
I have been working with Tony Williams since right before the release of his "Finding Dakota Grey" mixtape. For about the past 5 or so months, I have served as his chief engineer and I have been privy to much information just by being in studio with him almost everyday. Because of my proximity to Tony and the G.O.O. D. Music world, I have been given a greater understanding of certain events and incidents of which most people are left uninformed. There's the saying 'If I could be a fly on the wall...', well I essentially have been able to play that role for most of this year and because of my understanding and what I've learned through this experience, I have been able to build upon my sense of respect for this whole situation. You would be mind f*cked if you could know and understand Ye's reasoning for the Taylor Swift incident. It had zero to do with ego. It had zero to do with Hennessy. It had everything to do with responsibility. And it was justified.
But let's not dwell on that, let's delve deeper. Many, many times people have wondered why Kanye is the way he is. Why does he seem like an a**hole? Why doesn't he provide information that the world and his fans feel is 'owed'?
One reason why Kanye may seem like an asshole and one reason why artists can seem so closed off is because most every fan would not know how to handle their lives. It's not that backstage at a concert or a VIP section at a club is where wild shit is going on, its just not an area for fans. It is assumed that backstage at a concert is some crazy party where who-knows-what is going on. This is why backstage passes are so coveted amongst fans. Fans will go to great lengths to have this access only to usually be left wondering where the party is at, or possibly astounded by what they see.
If you haven't noticed, Kanye has been pretty much silent ever since Jay Leno pulled some b.s after the Taylor Swift ordeal. That's part of why I have been compelled to write this article. As a devoted fan of his music and out of respect for him as a man, I wanted to write this on his behalf because I hate to see people kicked when they are down. No, I don't think that I myself would have hopped onstage in the way Kanye did, I would have been out of place, but as someone with the power and voice that Kanye has, his actions were certainly justified and well deserved.
Last week, video surfaced of Kanye in the studio in Hawaii with Amber Rose, Tony Williams, and a big group of unknown, never before seen people. All these people witnessed Ye going out of his comfort zone as he chopped up a sample of 'Popular' from the musical Wicked. Why do I say out of his comfort zone? Number one, it is a privilege and an honor to be in the studio with a recording artist. The act of being let into his/her circle shows that he/she is comfortable with you and trusts you to be in the room while they work and pour out every emotion into their art. Number two, Kanye does not allow video cameras to be present with him in the studio. That means no recording by fellow G.O.O.D. artists, guests, or whoever. I am a HUGE Kanye fan, just like soooo many of you are, and I have asked Tony for information numerous times about what has been going on in Hawaii and to this day I have been seemingly unsuccessful.
So how did this unknown person get to record this video? Well, here's how. That unknown group of people that you see in the video were given the opportunity to be present in Hawaii through the Make-a-Wish foundation. This is a foundation that Kanye has supported over the years, seemingly without getting any recognition for it and he never sought recognition. He has put forth effort to support Make-a-Wish because of his love for people and because he felt the responsibility to give back. These people were given tours of the facilities in Hawaii, fed, and brought into the studio with Kanye. He even told them that no one is ever allowed to record anything, but since he had love for them, Ye said that they could record the experience as long as they promised to not put it online. To this point, every guest had shown nothing but appreciation to Kanye and respect for his requests.
Now, fast forward through watching Kanye playing with this sample of "Popular" that he had been sitting on for well over a year, ever since he started working on "Blueprint 3", keep moving forward for a few months and now, this video has surfaced online. Thousands and thousands of views within minutes. This video was leaked by one of the participants of this Make-a-Wish wish being granted, which was a special and rare peak inside Kanye's world.
Believe it or not, Kanye continually gets f*cked over by friends, by girlfriends, by sponsors, voters, doctors, TV shows, and television networks. Even President Obama has recklessly talked shit about Kanye. Granted, some of these events have led to the creation of incredible music (i.e. "808s and Heartbreak" and "Power") but its not as though Kanye has deserved all that negative attention and press he has received. A lot of times it even seems like these people don't even have a basis for the hatred, they just talk to talk because they feel that is their purpose. For whatever reason, these people have attempted to flip Kanye's business into their business and they have taken on this false sense of responsibility to tell any and every detail they can get their hands on.
Even crazier than that is the actions of Kanye's 'fans'. Fans are like wolves. Anything that anyone sees or hears almost immediately shows up on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Fans fiend for information to the point were its no longer about the music and it becomes an obsession with the fantasy of knowing. Twitter has made everyone a reporter and as such you aren't bound by the same principles and other elements of professional journalism that real reporters are held to. Kanye and his legal team have taken the proper steps to have the video removed from YouTube but, because of the strength of a spreading virus, the video has already been re-uploaded for thousands of more people to watch. The effects of things like this can be sooooooo damaging and at no cost to these 'reporters'.
The question you need to ask yourself is 'Am I just a fan?' Fans support artists. If you are adding to the speculation, if you are passing along links of leaked snippets/videos etc, then you are no longer acting as a fan. You then are acting as an information monger with no regard for the artist you are supposedly trying to support. Think about it.
Even companies as big as Google fall into this category. Google Alerts have no filter, and because of this, anytime a name or story gets tied to a person like Kanye, and whether true or not, the information is blasted out to any and everyone who subscribes to that alerts. Which means fathers, mothers, grandparents, uncles, cousins, step brothers, girlfriends or whoever, they all will instantly be exposed to all kinds to information. You would think that a company with the range and accessibility that Google has would be more careful of what gets sent out through these alerts, but that's not the case. They send out ANYTHING!! and though they know this, Google has no regard for the repercussions that could come about from false information spreading rapidly with no barriers.
There are tons of bloggers who fall under this umbrella of irresponsible journalism as well. Folks that run these blogs will post anything they get their hands on and then ask 'was this meant to leak' far after the damage has been done. I have also witnessed first hand people that act like little mice in trying to pry tidbits of information from Tony (and any other G.O.O.D. artist or simply anyone who may be in any way directly or indirectly involved), and then, upon the reception of ANY response, run back to their minions on various forums, blogs and the like (i.e. kanyewest.us and kanyelive.com) to tell of anything they've been able to dig up.
Its not just that the video surfaced, that made it bad enough, but the video is tagged throughout by 'DJ Carnage' and 'CarnageTV'. An email address is even given at the end of the video. Previous to the video leaking, DJ Carnage was blowing up eskay, Dre, and Nation over at NahRight via Twitter claiming he had 'an exclusive'. Then, after the video leakage, DJ Carnage tried to play it off like his computer got hacked. I call bullshit! This video was prepped for release as you can see from start to finish. No one would have taken the time to add all their contact information, etc etc to a video without the full intention of releasing it and leaching some exposure from it.
So this DJ Carnage cat was given the opportunity to be with Kanye because he apparently is terminally ill or has cancer or, you know, is just in a terrible situation as far as his health is concerned. Yet, all that considered, he still had to go and just be another unappreciative, bitch ass 'fan'. This was his sad, sad attempt to ascertain attention for his access to Kanye. He's trying to prove his credibility as a person in the industry, but his twitter page already claims he is a 'platinum producer'. And at whose expense is he seeking this recognition? Ye afforded this kid an incredible opportunity and it just ended up being that Kanye got fucked over by a Make-a-Wish kid, I repeat, by a Make-a-Wish kid. The worst part of it all is that this kid seemingly has no value for life because you would think someone in his supposed position would not want to take away from or cheapen their 'wish'. His lack of appreciation for the situation as a whole is what set all these events in motion. He has attempted to make Kanye look vulnerable as a result of his instability and Kanye's graciousness.
No, that beat was not going to be used for Kanye's Untitled 5th album, and now, because of this ungrateful little bastard, the world will most likely never hear Kanye do anything with that beat. More so, this cat has perpetuated the cycle of artists being closed off. What effect will this have? Right when Kanye started popping up in NYC, just after he showed up in Chicago to perform with Lupe and Common for his foundation, just as Ye was slowly coming out of silence, this kid goes and fucks it up. Not only will this obviously effect this cat's standing with Kanye, but deserving Make-a-Wish kids and anyone else (including myself) who had ever hoped to witness Kanye's magic in the studio may never be afforded such an opportunity.
"Now this would be a beautiful death. Jumping out the window, letting everything go."
Maybe now you can start to understand.