DONDA: Live Listening Event
Kanye West – The Professor Snape Of HipHop Culture
The DONDA: Live Listening event was the precipice of sensory overload. It started two hours late, but that only built the anticipation for the chaos which was surely bound to ensue. With plenty of time for people to grab a few drinks from the many different bars, that were easily accessible, from all over the beautiful new stadium, and get settled into their seats, the crowd had already sent the wave around the stadium several times, no delta, before the music even started.
The available merch was grabbed up almost immediately. People everywhere were rockin with the paper, church-styled fans that were given out upon entry. They unfolded to a picture of Kanye. Unfortunately, about 8 of the ones I had been given, seemed to disappear each time I went to grab a drink. The shirts were straight out of Kanye’s playbook; simplistic designs that inspire. The particular design that was used on the DONDA shirts, had been inspired by the Miracle Whip Tees, that had previously been approved by Kanye for the College Dropout Tour. The Miracle Whip Tee, originally designed by Andrew Barber (@fakeshoredrive) and the shirts sold at the DONDA event, both had the Mercedes Benz Logo across the front. The new ones did have a picture of a childhood DONDA, Kanye’s mother, which people around the stadium were saying, that that would probably be the cover art. Those shirts were being resold for $500 in the section I was in.
To be honest, when the music started, the entire place was going nuts, which made it slightly hard to hear. As soon as the fans could decipher who was featuring on a track, the enthusiastic roars of a packed stadium seemed to drown out the rest of the verse. During a drink run, I was able to watch on the apple app. The sound quality through the app made it a lot easier to understand the lyrics. Shoutout to the stadium Wi-Fi by AT&T, which was surprisingly fast.
Listening back to some of the videos I took, I was thinking about how Kanye is basically breaking down on his knees, exclaiming to the world, that he’s losing his family. In front of Kim and his family. At the time the place was hyped and excited, but when it all falls down, it’s hard not to feel for the guy. Turning his pain to such beautiful music is nothing new to Kanye. It did, however, make me wonder how hip-hop’s or even pop’s most successful artist, ends up like this.
While pondering upon the trajectory of Kanye’s career path, especially over the last 10 years, I couldn’t help but notice how similar it was to the story line of Professor Snape, a character of extreme importance in the Harry Potter series.
Never would I have imagined that the son of DONDA, would be donning the racist rhetoric of Donald. Kanye told Fader Magazine in 2017 that by modifying the brim he had fixed the hat, exclaiming that he made it his, a symbol of positive energy. Even pairing it in public with a Kaepernick sweater, never really seemed to properly transfer the vibes Kanye was seeking to exosome, amongst the people.
Even through all the backlash, Kanye even went as far as stating, “From now on I’m performing with my motherfucking hat on,” in a 2019 tweet. This following a White House meeting with Jim Brown and former President Trump. All these moves seemed to be setting the stage for Kanye’s 2020 presidential run. This run may have been the final straw to break the camel’s back, regarding his marriage, but if nothing else, the tactics he was using, seemed to be working. Ye seemed to have taken a drastic change in how he viewed the republican party. This was the same Kanye that told the world how he felt about George Bush. Now he was being welcomed, behind enemy lines.
Lyor Cohen even took a lot of heat for a 2018 selfie with Kanye, that went viral. Mr. West, who had been wearing the MAGA lid, was embracing two white men, one of which seemed to be throwing up white power gang signs. This sign is prevalent in many circles that have been linked to white supremist views, but Lyor, like many others explained that it was just the universal symbol that everything is OKAY. Kanye saw it all as just a pass to slide, where he once had never been granted access to. He even claims that the MAGA hat makes things OKAY when he slides, in Ye vs. The People.
Ye vs. The People was a track released in 2018. It features Kanye West and T.I., going back and forth, about the current political and social landscapes of America. I don’t think this song made the type of impact either one might have hoped for, but it does show us a rare glimpse of Ye speaking on the sunken place, which due to the lack of inspirational topics and even melancholy approaches to relationships overall, this era may come to be known as sunken place Ye music.
The summer of seven releases didn’t do much to change this view. Daytona was dope af, and with Push coming off the heels of what could have turned into a multi part surgical summer, a Nas album, released by Kanye should be AOTY contender off principle alone. That was far from the case and yet at the same time, right on par with how Teyana Taylor felt about the handling of her highly anticipated, K.T.S.E., album. The way it all was rushed seemed to detract from the work itself. Both artists said they hadn’t heard the final cuts before being dropped.
The state of Kanye’s life not only seemed to have played a part in the way he executed his 2018 G.O.O.D. releases, but it even seemed to seep into the production and content of what his music was based around. The guy who had been hailed for albums such as College Dropout and Late Registration, is in a dark place, making music that reflects this. Murder music, that is traditionally created by artists like Eminem, depicting the act of killing your significant other as art, would be spurred by hostile and most likely toxic relationships. Kanye, one who has been known to use his personal life as the basis of his music, made a bold statement with the title of the first track, on the 2018 album, Ye. Normally, you might assume Kim Mathers, to serve as a muse, before Kimberly Kardashian, especially when it comes to a track titled, “I Thought About Killing You Today.”
Each time Ye pulled his own camera out during this sunken place period, God Damn, did he snap. On a rapper… he thought was talking to Kim… To keep up with the theme of insecurities, Kanye publicly aired out his grievances with Philly rapper and REFORM Alliance advocate, Meek Mill, who had been rumored to meet with Kim Kardashian at an LA Hotel.
Kanye was also documented going off on Wiz Khalifa. The Pittsburgh rapper who had tweeted KK, in promotion of his Khalifa Kush, was told to keep Kim’s name out of his mouth, or tweets. Kanye had responded to Wiz, brashly, after assuming Wiz had been referring to Kanye’s then wife, in the original, somewhat cryptic tweet.
We can’t forget Kanye under the train tracks, speaking on the boy, Drake. This was sparked after a summer of rumors, fueled by Kanye getting the brunt of Drake’s punchlines, in the summer battle between Drake and Pusha T. These rumors really took off when Nick Cannon told Akademics that Drake had some kind of hold over the entire Kardashian family.
So, in conclusion, Kanye has been using the MAGA lid to get into Trump’s White House, as if it were the Dark Mark, allowing Death Eaters entrance into a meeting at the Malfoys’. The use of these dark practices, or practicing in the dark arts, has shifted his purpose to a dark place, even though it started, out of a place for love; the similar love of Lilly Potter, that fueled Snape. The jealousy that had him acting out on Twitter and calling the names of people like Drake, who he once made songs like Pop Style with, all these things culminated in a rebirth or baptism of forgiveness of sorts, by Professor Dumbledore; in Kanye’s case, Jay-Z.
I’m with your boy when I touch back road.
Told him stop all that red cap, we going home.
Not me with all these sins, casting stones.
This could be the return of The Throne.
In a letter to Kanye’s late mother, DONDA, these were the lyrics Jay-Z spoke, as his verse had brought Kanye to his knees, in the city of his birth. This all just feels like Kanye will be back to the Rocafella Ye and give us part two of Watch the Throne.
As I’m finishing up this article, watching Chase Young and the Football Team practicing in Richmond, it was just announced that Kanye, who has been living in the Mercedes Benz Dome since the DONDA release party, has announced two additional listening parties, that will happen on August 5th and 6th, in ATL. This is also rumored to be the day that Drake is supposed to be dropping CLB (Certified Lover Boy), which could make for quite the eventful weekend, if DONDA ever really does drop. So, here’s to a fresh start and new music done well, because when it drops, I know I’m Bound 2 falling in love…
Written by CN Rondo.