Kanye’s fault isn’t that he throws temper tantrums or doesn’t respect former President Bush-we all do that. Nope, his only fault is that he hails from Chicago, the City of Hate. This lyrical and musical genius has never received the respect he deserves in his own hometown, yet he is highly respected in nearly every other corner of the word.
Some of his biggest critics grew up sharing the same area code as ‘Ye. “He’s too arrogant.” “He throws temper tantrums.” “His music is ‘aiight.'” In the very same city, rappers who lack even an ounce of Kanye’s talent boast arrogance and demand respect, while peddling CDs and sharing their rhymes with unsuspecting commuters on the CTA’s Red Line train. Yet a man, who has earned countless awards, sold countless records and represents hard to put Chicago on the map, is very often shunned by his fellow Chicagoans. Something is wrong with this picture.
We celebrate musically-challenged artists who glorify faux-gangsta lifestyles, selling drugs, tearing down the community, shooting innocent children and calling women b*%#s and h*%s, yet lack respect for Kanye, whose creativity shines thru on every song he blesses.
And it’s not just Kanye. Sure, everyone “loves” Common, but the lyrically-conscious artist has yet to become a superstar. No, we can’t singlehandedly make or break the careers of every artist coming out of the Chi, but if we don’t give respect at home, there’s little incentive for others to respect our grind. Kanye’s career didn’t really begin until he left Chicago.
I’m glad he finally got “on,” but that doesn’t say much about the future for other local talent. If support for Kanye, Common and other great artists is any indication, the future is looking pretty grim for Chicago’s music scene and its countless aspiring rappers.