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Commentary: Kanye West still on rap’s throne despite trap music kick

Courtesy of MCT

In all the years I’ve been obsessively following Kanye West’s career, I’ve noticed a pattern with him. He’s a theme-aholic. Each of his past studio albums have a central theme, a cohesive thought, which makes them fundamentally great rap albums in their own right.

“The College Dropout” represented survival, “Late Registration” had an underlying theme of humility, “Graduation” oozed arrogance, “808s & Heartbreak” was about repentance, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” had an air of renewal, and “Watch The Throne” was created from sheer opulence.

So what does West’s next studio album have in store for his fans?

With the G.O.O.D. Music collaboration album coming out, I’m expecting to hear a lot more superiority, braggadocio and experimentation because of all the different featured artists. With the releases of “Mercy” and “Way Too Cold” (formerly known as “Theraflu”), the path West is leading us down seems to be less artistic and more of the trap music nature.

Some fans seem to have a problem with this direction, however. Trap music is a style of Southern rap (mostly having to do with selling drugs on the street) that is popular among artists such as T.I., Gorilla Zoe, Young Jeezy and others. It’s a style West rarely dips into, opting for more experimental beats.

This style of music might seem too simple for a complicated producer like West. However there’s a purpose to this divergence from “Watch The Throne” and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” – he’s trying to connect with a type of music he rarely uses and to connect with a different audience. Will that alienate his more highbrow, hipster or pale listeners? Possibly.

However, West lost fans and gained new ones when “808s” came out. This will be no different. He’s an artist that needs to keep moving forward in order to survive in the current musical climate. He’s always changing sounds from album to album, much like his fashion. He’s always evolving and trying out different genres of music and blending them with his own brand. He’s likely doing it to make it easier for newer artists in the genre to break out, such as trap artist Future, who hails from Georgia.

Also, just because he might be going with this trap music vibe for the G.O.O.D. Music album, it doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the sound he goes for with his next solo studio album. The worst thing you could do as a fan of West is to ever expect him to do anything by the book. He does whatever he wants and that should never change.

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