Kanye West: Separating Art From The Artist


Øyafestivalen 2011 Kanye West / Flickr / CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Performing at the Norweigian music festival Øyafestivalen in 2011, Kanye West showcased multiple songs such as “E.T.”

With 11 studio albums, two collab albums, four number-one singles, and 24 Grammys, Kanye West has been one of the most successful artists of his generation. Despite his continued success since 2004, he recently has been under fire due to anti-semitic and controversial comments he’s made on social media.

During Paris, Fashion Week, which took place from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, West was seen wearing a shirt with “white lives matter” on it. Later, on his Instagram story, he claimed, “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam, now it’s over, you’re welcome.”

After his comments, West went on the Drink Champs podcast and said, “With all this backlash I’ve been getting now, I know how it feels to have a knee on my neck,” referring to the incident that occurred on May 25, 2020, causing the death of George Floyd.

In a now-deleted tweet, West said, “I’m feeling a bit sleepy tonight, but when I wake up I’m death con 3  ON JEWISH PEOPLE  the funny thing is  I actually can’t be Antisemitic because black people are Jews also.”

Kanye West performing at Lollapalooza Chile 2011. (Kanye West Lollapalooza Chile 2011/ Wikimedia Commons /CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“He always seemed like such a successful man with so much going for him, and then, it all started to spiral out from his grasp,” sophomore Jesus Ramirez said. “It makes me sad to see one of my favorite artists going down.”

After West’s remarks, he was terminated from multiple business deals, including brands like Adidas, Balenciaga, and GAP, along with being suspended from Twitter and Instagram. Those business deals cost West $1.5 billion, and West was removed from Forbes’s list of billionaires, making him now worth $400 million according to Forbes.

“There is no way the things Kanye has said could be an accident,” sophomore Jakson Combs said. “You can’t type something like that with no punishment. I’ve never really liked him. I thought he was cocky and overhyped. I feel like everyone has said, ‘Oh my god, his music is the best ever.’ When in reality, he’s just basic, and his music isn’t even the good type of rap.”

While West has made these claims, some think that separating the music from the artist can make a huge difference.

“I think you can support an artist’s music instead of just supporting them as a person I know Kanye has said many things he shouldn’t have, but that doesn’t take away from his music,” junior Omar Ruiz said.

Ruiz first discovered West on a car ride in 2018 when he came across West’s new album, “Ye.”

“I was on my way to Lafayette, listening to music when I came across an album named ‘Ye.’ I thought it was a strange name, but I clicked on it regardless,” Ruiz said. “At the time, I had only heard of Kanye. I hadn’t listened to him yet. I had always wanted to listen to Kanye, so I figured listening to ‘Ye’ was a good starting point.”

Regardless of his acts, West has many fans who still recall his older albums and resonate with them.

“It was around 6th grade if I remember right. There was always this song that stood out to me,” Ramirez said. “I would play ‘Power’ non-stop after I learned it from a friend.”

With his actions, some were left devastated and decided to not listen to him entirely. Others feel as if the music and the artist can be two different things when comparing the two.

“Even though the controversy, his music greatly inspires me,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes, you have to separate both the music and the artist, and this is an example of one. Kanye speaks with such soul in his songs, and it makes me forget I’m here on Earth. It’s like a sweet honey stick.”