Monday, June 6, 2011

Love Lockdown and All of the Lights by Kanye West

It was the Love Lockdown video that I started to really see the depth of Kanye as an artist.  I must have watched this video fifty times before I finally figured it all out.  I knew of his critics calling him a backpack rapper and that he had been denying his "blackness".  And on 808s and Heartbreaks (the album with Love Lockdown on it), we see a very forthcoming Kanye.  And so on Love Lockdown and in the video, we see his ambivalence of what people say about him and how he feels regarding his "blackness".  The Vibe being VIBE Magazine and he's discussing his desire to move on regarding the history of what being black means and opening up to the future of what it could be.  An amazing statement, well executed.

On his next album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, he goes even further into the struggles of Kanye in the spotlight.  A year after the Taylor Swift debacle, and a relatively quiet year for Kanye publicly.  I was paying very close attention to his career at this point and when I first heard this song, I realized... this guy is in therapy!!!  He's talking about shining a light on all the dark sides of his personality.  I wasn't familiar with the shadow aspect and Jungian analysis, but I could see that he was trying to rid himself of the shame he carried around with him. 
After I made this realization, I started looking towards "dark" artists.  I was looking at Goth music, Marilyn Manson, the concept of "grotesque", Baudelaire's Fluer de Mal... and in some of the critiques of Baudelaire I came across a concept of darkness, being a shadow, of something in the way of the light, as a psychological presence.  And so I started to look at this album as a confession, as he says in All of the Lights.

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