Saga Soundoff- Kanye West: Ye or Nay

When is it acceptable to separate the art from the artist?

Ye, a rapper, fashion designer, and one of the most influential artists of the 21st century has won almost two-dozen Grammys and produced chart-topping albums such as “Graduation” and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” In recent years, Ye has been the center of controversies causing

him some fallout. From wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt during fashion shows to anti-Semitic statements including that he “saw good things about Hitler.” Companies like Balenciaga and Adidas have since dropped partnership with his fashion brand and platforms such as Twitter have placed bans on his accounts. Yet, Ye still racks in over 51 million monthly listeners on Spotify through the controversies, supporting his unshakeable popularity.

Why I still listen to Kanye

I still listen to Kanye.

And I do not plan on stopping, although I don’t morally or ethically agree with anything he has said.

I have never been a person to listen to music for the artist. I have synesthesia, so when I hear songs and sounds I see colors, and I choose to listen to music that makes me see vibrant and beautiful colors.

The artist never mattered to me; it was what I could see when I heard their music. I have never fully listened to an album by any creator, and I pick and choose songs I want to listen to individually. I also habitually like to listen to music that reminds me of my family.

Kanye’s music was introduced to me by my father when I was young. My father has always loved rap music and showed me the artists that he listened to. Although he and I don’t always see eye to eye, music has always brought us together.

Core memories of mine are spent with my father with Kanye playing in the background and a mix of Eminem and Snoop Dogg. Listening to songs like “Runaway” remind me of my childhood and spending time with the people I love.

Completely stopping listening to memory music like Kanye’s would make me feel disappointed, like a part of my childhood being ripped away.

Also, he is not the first artist to show problematic behavior. There are plenty of artists who have committed crimes and said and acted in a poor manner or in ways much worse than Kanye and are still supported to this day.

For example, Elvis Presley began a relationship with a 14-year-old when he was 24. Presley had an abusive relationship with her, where he would hit her, and he has even been accused of sexually assaulting her. Despite this, a movie was made about him last year and it made 287.3 million, according to Vice.

Cardi B has also done some troubling actions in her past that are often overlooked. According to the BBC, the singer has openly admitted to drugging men in order to steal their money, yet millions of people still listen to her music.

Ultimately, if society is going to quit listening to artists due to their problematic behavior, it cannot be here and there: it’s all or nothing. I myself believe in separating the art from the artist and will continue to do so.


I Don’t Listen To Kanye Anymore

I stopped listening to Kanye West.

Anyone who knows me knows how much of a Kanye fan I was in years past. He’s made quite a few appearances in my Spotify Wrapped. I stand by my opinion that he is the most talented hip- hop artist of all time, and that “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is the most sonically perfect hip-hop record of the 2010s.


Despite all that, I cannot in good faith stream another Kanye song. As you may already know, his most recent tour hasn’t been to arenas across America full of raucous fans waiting to see the innovation and mastery of a Kanye West show but, an escapade of reactionary podcasts- a road-trip with stops on the Alex Jones Show (you know, the guy who denied Sandy Hook happened) and Alex McInnes’ podcast (Alex McInnes being the founder of the Proud Boys, a far-right group designated as a terrorist organization in Canada). His opener and right hand man? None other than the most notorious neo-Nazi on the internet: Nick Fuentes. On all of these shows and podcasts, Ye has made disgustingly anti-Semitic remarks, going as far as to deny the Holocaust ever occurred.

When these remarks first came to light, I admit, I tried to stream a Kanye song like normal – I am, to an extent, a believer in separating art from artist. However, hearing his voice over the instrumental brought me back to hearing those sound bites that were not only vile, but outright dangerous. Kanye West put fuel on the fire for the modern neo-Nazi movement.

For me, this is too great a sin to bear. Although my individual streams probably haven’t even amounted to a dollar, knowing that listening to his music puts even a miniscule amount of money in his pocket disgusts me – it makes me feel as though I’m indirectly condoning his views.

Early in his career, Kanye West was a visionary and a progressive. There are early interviews wherein he defends the queer community in hip-hop. He was outspoken in his support for progressive race relations. Now, though, hearing his voice only reminds me of the growing support for dangerous and incorrect ideas in this country.