By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor
Kanye West is a lot of things: producer, songwriter, “free-thinker,” Grammy winner, businessman, fashion designer and even presidential candidate. One thing he isn’t, though, is a great rapper. Now, before you get mad and call me a hater, let me explain. Yes, West is a successful rap artist, and he does make some good rap music, but in terms of pure lyrical skills, which is what truly makes someone a rapper, he’s slightly above average at best — and when looking at his last few albums, even saying that would be a stretch.
Take a look at West’s song “Lift Yourself,” for example. Any rapper who has the audacity to rap “poopy-di scoop, scoop-diddy-whoop” and considers it to be some kind of crazy innovative verse should not be in the running for greatest rappers of all time. Some of West’s fans may think that “Lift Yourself” was a type of joke or even satirical, but at the end of the day, a rapper who really cared about his craft wouldn’t let that be his only lyric in a song; lyrics like that make inaudible mumble rap or even Blueface’s weird off-beat rapping sound as great as Eminem and Andre 3000.
When you listen to great rappers, they all have something that separates them from the pack, such as J. Cole’s storytelling ability or Lil Wayne’s wordplay. Now, what makes West different is the content of his rap. West touches on heavy themes such as mental health and societal issues that most rappers wouldn’t even consider rapping about. But even with those topics, his lyrics never seem to have much thought behind them. Some of West’s best and most memorable bars can be understood on the first reference, such as one of his verses in “Last Call,” in which he raps “mayonnaise-colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips.” It’s creative, but it’s not necessarily as thought-provoking as something like Lil Wayne’s “real G’s move in silence like lasagna” — which had people sounding out the word “lasagna” in their head over and over again — let alone any of the other verses in his song “6 Foot 7 Foot.”
With great rappers, you can feel the genius in their music. You have to go back and listen to their lyrics multiple times to fully grasp their meaning; their rhymes are sophisticated poetry that can be analyzed by their fans. West just doesn’t have that kind of complexity in his music. He has some memorable and funny bars, but most of the time, they come off as something people could’ve come up with while sitting down and joking with their friends.
West is innovative and influential within the rap genre. He excels at aspects of music like producing, and his songs showcase his charisma. However, when it comes down to the core of rap music, the lyrics, West is severely lacking, which is why he’s not a great rapper — just a rap artist who can make good rap music.