Over the last few weeks, Kanye West has returned to Twitter with a vengeance – establishing his tweets as comprising a book, interrogating capitalism, and declaring his love for many people and things, and one of those things was the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
As I subsequently tweeted, my hope is that Kanye’s imminent album’s greatness will transcend its jarring, controversial (to be generous – “terrifying” is how many Kanye fans would likely describe it) rollout strategy.
Sean Fennessy, newly promoted Chief Content Officer at the Ringer (always punch up) wrote a rather defeatist, quasi-indictment of Kanye in which he argued that the seminal musical artist of our time had, “lost the plot.” While that term is sometimes useful (all terms are), it is usually reserved for struggling Freshman English students, not hugely successful “geniuses.” Fennessy’s use of the term to describe Kanye brought to mind a recent Vince Staples tweet. We’re talking about the man who “shifts the paradigm” and “brought real rap back” – let’s not forget whose movie we’re watching, and let’s not overstate our influence on any “plot.”
I found Fennessy’s (among others) response to Kanye’s recent tweet storm uncharitable but moreover I found it in danger of being a #FreezingColdTake. While many of the subjects featured in the recent Kanye tweets have been politically objectionable (alt-righter Candace Owens, Trump, etc.) to a liberal establishment butthurt about Kanye’s apparent defection, the only sentiment he seems to express about any of these people is that he loves something about them, be it “how they think,” or “their dragon energy.”
Here’s my theory: Kanye is trying to perform a sort of converse MAGA, co-opting Trump’s mantra and using it as inclusive rallying cry, coalition building by showing love for the ‘other’ rather than condemning its every thought and fiber. That he ‘loves the way Candace Owens thinks’ does not mean that he thinks the same things, merely that he loves her difference, controversial or not. He loves the freedom of thought which she grants to herself, as it’s the same freedom he grants himself. This, after all, is basically the most Kanye take of all time.
And so, while over the course of one week he has both renewed his presidential ambitions (Kanye 2024) and made himself public enemy #1 of the liberal pitchfork mob, what I think Kanye is really up to is something far larger in scope – the healing of our thinking about thinking.
At least, that’s what I hope is what’s going on.