Hot Take: You go Kanye West

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By Gaby Salazar | Copy Editor

I remember telling people how much I missed the old Kanye. The one I grew up listening to rap in “The College Dropout” and “Graduation.”

Kanye has always rapped about his truth and experiences as a black man growing up in Chicago, never sugarcoating anything.

More than a decade later, the “Jesus Walks” rapper has been the center of a number of jaw-dropping moments, from calling former president George W. Bush a racist to comparing himself to Pablo Picasso.

We’ve always known Kanye to be outspoken and unapologetically narcissistic, but now we know he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He calls his mental illness a superpower and admitted to his ego being a real problem for him, calling it his Achilles’ heel.

His newest gospel-inspired album, “Jesus is King” reached No.1 in the Billboard Charts, marking his ninth consecutive debut album to reach number one.

When I take a step back and look at what Kanye is doing, I’m left wondering if he is really more “woke” than all of us. Is his decision to be as contrarian as possible — by taking almost all the riskiest positions one could take in hip-hop culture today ⁠— somehow what makes him special?

Whether you agree or disagree with Kanye’s political comments, there is no question that his new album is reaching a young audience who’s unfamiliar with Christianity. His faith is repeatedly called into question by his critics, some for understandable reasons; but who are we to judge the legitimacy of a man’s faith?

Aside from Christianity, Kanye has shaken up the hip-hop culture by calling out his industry’s hypocrisy.

“The culture has you focused so much on … pulling up in a foreign and rapping about things that can get you locked up and then saying you about prison reform,” West said, in an interview with Big Boy radio host.

Hip-hop has dominated the radio waves for close to a decade now, and its message hasn’t always been positive. We’ve all heard some of the biggest hip-hop artists brag about the crimes and drugs they did.

Kanye has been in the hip-hop industry long enough to see what it has done to younger generations; and this is a big reason why his music is becoming more gospel-like. He’s trying to create a positive influence, not only on his fans, but in his industry.

I believe a critical part of understanding Kanye is understanding the high-class, mega-rich world he lives in. He’s seen it all from the streets of Chicago to the luxurious life of the Kardashians in Calabasas; yet, he’s transparent with his experience battling an addiction to pornography and drugs. All for what? To make people see that he’s talking about something real.

What puts the rapper in an even stranger light is the fact that he is an influential part of pop culture and in an industry that is overtaken with leftist ideology and atheism. Kanye remarked that whenever he puts his MAGA hat on, he feels like a superhero.

Kanye went straight to the point in the interview with Big Boy.

“They were fighting for us to have the right to our opinion, not the right to vote for whoever the white liberals said black people are supposed to vote for,” West said when referring to the Black Panthers of the ’60s and sit-in protests which his parents were involved in.

His jab at woke culture points to a disturbing truth: pop culture does not welcome diversity of thought. It only welcomes thought that is most convenient to the woke narrative. We see proof of this with the rise of cancel culture and its followers wanting to boycott everything they find offensive.

Kanye continues to criticize far-left liberals.

“As soon as I said, ‘Closed on Sunday just like Chick-fil-A,’ there were LGBTQ articles saying they need to boycott my company,” West said, referring to his new song “Closed on Sunday.”

Kanye’s reference to the restaurant annoyed some of his fans due to Chick-fil-A’s history of support for anti-LGBTQ organizations, despite there not being any explicit denunciation to the LGBTQ community in the song.

There has to be a point when we ask ourselves why the left is so hypercritical of Kanye. Critics will say he’s not Christian and then will say he’s not Christian enough. The same people who want to see him “canceled” are actually the ones fueling his fire.

“Jesus is King” has a good message, so who cares if he supports Trump. As far as I’m concerned, Kanye is doing a good thing. Take, for example, singer-songwriter Sia has come out with a new song “Jesus Wept,” which is a testament to the desire for pop artists to want Jesus to take center-stage, and this is only just beginning.

At the heart of what Kanye is saying is that the black community is, sadly, still voiceless in today’s culture; and he wants people to wake up and realize that their fight isn’t over.

“We are culture-less. We don’t have our own culture,” West said. “We signed to culture vultures. We sign our life away — our contracts are culture vultures. Think about everything that’s cultural. Taking the knee is cultural; being on social media is cultural; wearing high-fashion is cultural; pushing a foreign is cultural; all these things are not owned by our culture. So who designed the culture? What does it mean to do it for the culture? That’s why I do it for Christ.”