06 November 2006

Kanye, Kudos, and Krankiness

He may not have been nude at last Thursday's MTV Europe Music Awards, but Kanye West definitely showed his ass.

Seems he was upset that his clip for "Touch the Sky" lost best video to "We Are Your Friends" by Justice vs. Simian. While the dance act was accepting their award, he stormed the stage and made all sorts of petulant comments, including, "If I don't win, the award show loses credibility."

That's just... sad. My impression is that West is massively insecure. In this interview with Entertainment Weekly's Karen Valby, he talks about how upset he is that "Heard 'Em Say," the third single from his album "Late Registration," peaked at an anemic #26. He goes on about how "Touch the Sky" has to be a huge hit in order to compensate.

"Touch the Sky" is a great song--one of my favorites of last year, in fact--but it didn't even crack the top 40 in America. And the video? It strains to be an Event. It features Kanye as Evel Knievel, and there are oh-so-hip 70s references like girls with afros and that grainy film stock you see in some blaxploitation movies. Too calculated in its satire too seem honestly funny, the video is the product of someone who has seen what awesome looks like and is now trying to copy it himself. Turgidness and overspending, however, are not awesome.

Granted, I'm not sure the video for "We Are Your Friends" is awesome either. Here it is:

I find this clip creepy. But I find "Touch the Sky" boring, and that's worse. (I would love to post a link to "Touch the Sky," but West's clips aren't on YouTube. Anyone know where I can find them?)

By storming the podium and saying such arrogrant things, West is crying out for approval. My guess is that he didn't take it so well that "Touch the Sky" didn't break through in America.

I know that boastfulness has always been part of his thing. However, charming arrogance quickly becomes whining when West proves he doesn't know how to handle rejection.

That frustrates me because I like his music, and I like that he's the rare hip-hop artist to champion gay rights and say snarky things about Bush. But artists can only be champions if they're willing to take their lumps with dignity. Now that West has revealed himself as immature, it reduces the relevance of some of his earlier statements. Bitchy children just aren't as compelling as angry yet reasonable adults.

This doesn't alter his music, though, and I hope he manages to make another great album. And if it doesn't have any hits or win any Grammys, I hope handles his disappointment in a more productive way.



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