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YMMV: Kanye West

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Kanye heroically saved the world from the evil machinations of Taylor Swift and her clandestine backers.
    • Apparently he's also a gay fish. Answered by Kanye himself in "Gorgeous", which contains the line "choke a South Park writer with a fishstick".
    • Is he an eccentric genius or is he retarded?
    • In general, is he a tortured, introspective genius who just happens to have remarkably poor self-control, or is he just an arrogant bigmouth? It often seems that the former opinion will prevail, until Kanye says something stupid again.
    • He could very well be our Cassandra.
    • Kanye claims to be an alien in the Katy Perry song "ET".
    • Kanye hates Lil Wayne. This explains why his videos cause seizures because Wayne has epilepsy
  • Award Snub: Despite receiving rave reviews practically everywhere upon release (see So Cool It's Awesome below), being in almost everyone's list for best albums of the year (often topping it), and being ranked on Metacritic as the best reviewed album released in 2010 (with a 94 consesus rating), "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" failed to even get nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. The general feeling among critics was that it not only deserved to get nominated, but that it was the first time that Kanye genuinely deserved to win.
    • It should be noted that MBDTF wasn't nominated for 2010 because it was released after the October cutoff date for those Grammys. The same thing happened to Drake's "Take Care" in 2011, and to Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city" in 2012.
  • Broken Base: Initially caused by 808s and Heartbreak, but the rift has healed since then. This hasn't really happened among the fandom with Yeezus, oddly enough- it's largely casual fans and the mainstream audience that were turned off by the album.
  • Awesome Music: See this page.
  • Critical Dissonance: 808's And Heartbreak was praised by many critics (even appearing on many "Best Of 2008" lists) but garnered a mixed reception from fans, who took issue with the album's heavily processed/mechanical sound and Kanye's subpar singing. Nonetheless, it gradually rose in esteem, to the point where it's now considered a fan favorite. It's also credited with setting the course for hip-hop during the late-00's and early-10's, with many rappers adopting a similar R&B/hip-hop mix and synth-heavy sound.
    • Yeezus seems to be going down the same road. It's received more acclaim than 808s & Heartbreak but the general public has been divided on its industrial influences, with some unfavorably comparing it to Death Grips. At any rate, both albums received a Love It or Hate It reception, and it's too soon to tell whether Yeezus will be as well-regarded in the long term 808s.
  • Cult Classic: 808s and Heartbreak and Yeezus were too bizarre to achieve much mainstream success (outside of the boost that simply being Kanye West albums gave them) but found audiences in more offbeat musical circles.
  • Ear Worm: Not so much his songs themselves but the hooks are dangerously catchy, particularly "The New Workout Plan", "The Glory", "Heard 'Em Say", "Power", and "Devil in a New Dress".
  • Ending Fatigue:
    • College Dropout's "Last Call" and Late Registration's "We Major" have this effect on some listeners after dragging these otherwise good songs for far too long. "Last Call" could've done away with the eight-minute portion of Kanye talking about how he got discovered after a great four minute song. "We Major" would've also ended stronger without the final two minutes.
    • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's "Runaway" has had a similarly polarizing reaction. You think the song's over, then Kanye plugs in the vocoder...
    • "Cold" (aka "Theraflu") also falls victim to this, with DJ Pharris shouting out pretty much every Chicago 'hood (even a few that don't exist anymore) in the final minute and killing the momentum from Kanye's verses.
    • Does Blame Game really need 3 minutes of Chris Rock talking shit about watches and a girl talking dirty? No.
    • "Send It Up" doesn't really need a sample of Beenie Man at the end of it.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Kanye's in-house vocalists are ridiculous fuckin' ridicklisss. John Legend was able to turn his guest spots into a successful career, so the title of darkhorse belongs to Kanye's cousin Tony Williams. As Kanye says, "He sings quite beautifully, don't you agree?"
    • Non-single tracks that nonetheless remain very popular among the fandom include "Family Business," "Street Lights," "Coldest Winter," "I'm In It," "Devil in a New Dress," and "Send it Up."
  • Fountain of Memes: He is the first (and so far, only) musician to have his own meme page.
  • Fridge Brilliance: What's up with Kanye's various attempts to rile up the religious right on Yeezus (the title, "I Am a God," etc.)? Simple: it's an Industrial Metal album, and pissing off fundamentalists is a time-honored industrial tradition.
    • Further confirmed by the ultra-theatrical Yeezus tour.
    • A lot of people apparently didn't get that Chris Rock's skit on "Blame Game" is intended to represent what Kanye heard on the phone. When you realise this it makes the whole thing even better and gives a tragic element to what otherwise seems like a misplaced comedic skit.
    • Several reviewers noted that the unintelligible auto-tune solo in "Runaway" is probably intended to represent Kanye's difficulty in expressing himself verbally.
  • Fridge Logic: The album cover of *My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy* was a manufactured attempt by West to stir up controversy, and indeed, many digital outlets would only display a blurred version of it. However, the blurring of the image obscures the fantastic elements of it (that the woman is a harpy or (ahem) "phoenix", making it so all you can make out is a man and woman having sex, which is arguably more offensive.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In 2005, on his song "We Major", Kanye rapped "Better than some head on a Sunday afternoon/Better than a chick that say 'yes' too soon/Until you have a daughter/That's what I call 'Karma'/And you pray to God she don't grow breasts too soon". Fast forward to 2013, when he has a daughter himself...
  • He Changed It Now it Sucks: The reaction to the heavily Auto-tuned and instrumentally sparse album 808's and Heartbreak. #7 on this list.
    • Yeezus is a choppy, blaring, rough album, and may mark more of a shift in Kanye's style than even 808s. Let the Broken Base commence!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Hell of a Life" (2010), he sang "I think I just fell in love with a porn star.. [..] One day I'm gon' marry a porn star..". Fast forward to 2013 and he's expecting a child with girlfriend Kim Kardashian.. who first got famous after a "leaked" sex tape by an ex-boyfriend.
    • Another common Hi H related to Kim is the lyric "18 years, 18 years/She got one of your kids, got you for 18 years" from "Gold Digger" (2005); this is due to some people assuming Kim trapped Kanye with her pregnancy.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Depending on your tolerance level. It's a safe bet that he didn't include any lyrics because he thought they were lame, but some can be quite face-palmy.
  • Love It or Hate It: Yeezus inspires as much passionate anger as it does intense love.
  • Magnum Opus:
    • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Universal acclaim. Metacritic score of 94/100, and 10/10 and "Album of the Year" from the notoriously fickle Pitchfork.
    • In particular, "All of The Lights (Interlude)" and "All of the Lights", featuring an All-Star Cast.
    • Within the hip hop community, The College Dropout, his debut album, is considered a classic, possibly moreso than Fantasy.
  • Memetic Mut-Yo, TV Tropes, I'm really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but this page has one of the greatest meme lists of all time!''' His outspoken nature inspired quite a few.
    • Kanye's characteristic grunt, "Huh?"
      • "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN?"
  • Misaimed Fandom: A unique selling point about Kanye West is that his ego lends itself to the creation of new memes. Thus people actually want his ego to INCREASE as they speculate it would lead to even more memes. Some people gleefully watch as he ruins moments and makes outlandish comments simply because they're entertaining.
  • Narm: In his 2013 SNL performance of "New Slaves", Kanye half-heartedly censors the "nigga"s himself, resulting in him saying an odd, mumbled "nnnguh" noise.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Just guess.
    • Also notable was an incident during a Katrina benefit where he randomly blurted out "George Bush doesn't care about black people!" appropos of nothing. Mike Myers, seated next to him, looked quite embarrassed. Fortunately, it stopped after "Imma Let You Finish" happened.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The video for "Monster". It contains a large number of dead women and other delightful scenes.
    • The part of "I Am A God" where the beat stops for a second so Kanye can belt out an ear-piercing scream followed by nothing but very heavy breathing. Then another scream after some punctuated silence, followed by more screaming over the distorted, heavy beat from earlier in the song.
    • "Blood on the Leaves." At first it's just slightly ominous, with Kanye singing about isolation and gold-diggers over a piano loop- nothing that hasn't been heard from him before. And then Nina Simone's voice pipes up in the background, "black bodies swinging in the southern breeze..." and it becomes clear that this is not "Gold Digger" part two.
    • This SNL perfoormance might explain why Ben Affleck seemed so scared while introducing Kanye.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Before he blew up, Kanye was usually described as "the cheaper Just Blaze". The roles have since been reversed; you won't hear anyone calling Just a low-rent Kanye nowadays, but it's definitely a lot easier to get a beat from him than from Kanye.
    • Just Blaze produced Kanye's "Touch the Sky".
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • A lot of people abruptly stopped hating Kanye West once he joined Twitter.
    • And after My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy... ladies and gentlemen, nuff said. He tends to be in a perpetual cycle of leaping onto the Scrappy Heap with his bizarre and narcissistic comments, then being rescued from it by his next album.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Why yes, Kanye did have a verse on Jay-Z's "The Bounce" back on The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse.
    • For people Ye has given a Colbert Bump to who have later become well-known in their own right - Lupe Fiasco guested on Kanye's "Touch the Sky" from Late Registration.
  • Signature Song: Either "Gold Digger", "Stronger", or "Power".
    • Each album generally has a few that every hip-hop fan will instantly associate with the album
      • The College Dropout: "Slow Jamz", "All Falls Down", "Jesus Walks" or "Through the Wire"
      • Late Registration: "Gold Digger", "Touch the Sky" or the remix of "Diamonds from Sierra Leone"
      • Graduation: "Stronger" or "Good Life"
      • 808s and Heartbreak: "Heartless" or "Love Lockdown"
      • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: "Power", "All of the Lights", "Monster" or "Runaway"
      • Watch The Throne: "Niggas in Paris", "Otis" or "No Church in the Wild"
      • Cruel Summer: "New God Flow" or "Mercy"
      • Yeezus: "Black Skinhead" "I Am A God" "New Slaves" or "Bound 2".
  • So Bad, It's Good: The music video for "Bound 2".
    • A lot of Yeezus's lyrics wholeheartedly embrace this by taking typical rap boasts and making them as insanely over-the-top as possible, with incredibly quotable results.
  • So Cool It's Awesome: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy got rave reviews upon its release. And by 'rave', I mean almost every single freakin' media outlet gave it either a near perfect or perfect rating.
  • Stylistic Suck: The music video for "Bound 2" from Yeezus, with its seemingly random nature-video montages and obviously fake motorcycle shots, is almost certainly cheesy on purpose given Kanye's usual production quality. From the same album, the "Black Skinhead" video has the CG animation deliberately distorted and suffering "errors" as the music builds up.
  • Tear Jerker: Large parts of 808s and Heartbreak, especially the concluding track, "Pinocchio Story." After the deliberate iciness and polished nature of the other songs comes this lo-fi, mono, off-key, improvisational live track that serves as an epilogue to the album. Given the context of the album and the recording (it followed the death of his mother and a breakup with his girlfriend), there is something deeply sad about Kanye nearly in tears singing that he "just wants to be a real boy" while the audience screams obliviously. He originally didn't want to put it on the album, instead planning on concluding it with "Coldest Winter," but Beyoncé convinced him to keep it on.
    • Parts of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. "Runaway" and "Blame Game" are particularly good examples.
    • Some of his infamous on-stage rants can qualify. His speech at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2013 is particularly notable- about five minutes in he starts screaming about how he lost his mother. You get the impression that all his narcissism and publicity stunts are just his way of attempting to cope with a death that he's never really gotten over.
  • Tough Act to Follow: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy got ultimate reviews. Yeezus? Positive, but not to the point of MBDTF.
  • Trolling Creator: He outright says it on "I Am A God" ("As soon as they like you, make 'em unlike you"). He deliberately changes his style after each album, generally very successfully, but your mileage will almost certainly vary.
  • Uncanny Valley: The video for "Black Skinhead" (or "BLKKK SKKKN HEAD") features a computer-generated Kanye that zigzags this line for the whole video.
  • Vindicated by History: People have been a lot kinder to 808s and Heartbreak after the success of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy proved that Kanye knew damn well what he was doing the whole time.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Among other things in the film for Runaway, the dinner party scene has exclusively black guests with white servants.
    • The video for "Black Skinhead" is either this or full of Faux Symbolism.
  • The Woobie: Dropout Bear is portrayed as this in the video for "Good Morning", as he has a hard time trying to not be late for his college graduation ceremony, including his car breaking down, having to contend with a long line for the bus, missing the bullet train and being inexplicably eaten by a cloud monster.


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