The Rise and Fall of Kanye West in 2016
  • THURSDAY, DECEMBER 01, 2016

  • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch

Okay, fine. Let's talk about Kanye. There are two types of people in the world: people who quiver with affection at Kanye's every move and people who don't give a shit. I am the latter. But even though I go out of my way to not talk about the delusional rap-pop star, I'll admit it: 2016 was kind of his year. In a good or bad way? Well, we're not entirely sure. For Kanye, this past year went up, down, and all-around, and by the looks of it, it's ending on a dark note. So let's break it down.

Yeez-meister kicked off 2016 with a bang in late-January when he attacked rapper Wiz Khalifa via Twitter (most tweets were deleted, but we got them pasted below).

You have distracted from my creative process
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

I went to look at your twitter and you were wearing cool pants
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

I screen grabbed those pants and sent it to my style team #Wizwearscoolpants
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

3rd no one I know has ever listened to one of your albums all the way through
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

4th you let a stripper trap you
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

5th I know you mad every time you look at your child that this girl got you for 18 years
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

6th dont ever come out the side of your neck at me
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

7th I am your OG and I will be respected as such
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

8th I made it so we could wear tight jeans
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

9th me and Cudi created this shit
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

10th don't you ever in your fucking life speak sideways about a nigga thats fighting for us I do this for all of us
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

11th I showed you respect as a man when I met you
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

12th You wouldnt have a child if it wasn't for me
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

13th You own waves???? I own your child!!!!
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

14th Nigga it's called creativity #youshouldtryitsomeday
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

15th Nigga I tried to call you and you changed your number
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

16th dont even hint at mentioning me my family or my wife I am your OG
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

17th I think you dress cool I wish I was skinny and tall
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

maybe I couldn't be skinny and tall but Ill settle for being the greatest artist of all time as a consolation
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

Don't ever ever ever come out the side of your mutherfucking neck bro or bruh or however you say it Mr. Waves
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

Thank you for the extra promotion #WAVES available February 11th
- KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016


Pretty vicious stuff, right? These tweets were actually a reaction to Wiz who "started it" (what are we, 12?) by accusing Ye of ripping off Max B (Harlem rapper who coined the phrase "Wavy") after Ye announced the then name for his album, Waves. See below.









And he tweeted a lot more, but you get the idea The idea of rehashing every single tweet is tired. BUT lets not leave out this gem, when Amber Rose decided to hop in real quick:



So, not a great start. Well deduct a point for that. However, he did seem to grow up (for a second) and make things better, so well add that point back:



Even Kim and Amber became besties! #Tea, anyone?:



Now, with the biggest narcissist in the world plus the biggest reality TV star in the world, who are both likely willing to get married and have a baby just for publicity purposes, we have to wonder: was this a real fight? Or was this planned, to gain momentum at what seemed to be the start of Kanye's album cycle?

Well that would make sense, because in February, Yeez-dog announced his new album title (goodbye Waves, *hears Wiz crying in the distance*) The Life of Pablo. Along with the new, new album title which finally stuck, he also planned the big Madison Square Garden event along with the release. The event acted as a dual release, both for the album and for his clothing line, Yeezy Season 3. Apart from the event, the overall release of the album was messy and neglected a lot of listeners. On February 14th, the album was released exclusively via Tidal, then after the "official" release, he continued to change things and upload new versions of the songs. Because he's a starving artist and yadda yadda. It's a good concept, but not very well executed. Instead of coming off as clever artistry, it came off as tired and pretentious, and I don't think a lot of people cared as much as he had hoped they would. Instead of releasing all versions everywhere, he released one version on Tidal, one version on Apple Music (which he vowed it would never be available on), etc... So needless to say, it was, uh, scattered.



The next big event that took place this year for Kanye is another big complicated mess (do you see a theme here?). In Kanye's song "Famous," he says, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous," and then Taylor lashed out, saying she never gave permission to use that line. Kim Kardashian later stepped in and released videos of the phone call where Kanye is asking Tay for permission, and instead of just saying yes, she seems to react quite positively, saying "it's kind of a compliment" and "Yeah, I mean, what's dope about the line is it's very tongue in cheek either way. And I really appreciate you telling me about it, that's really nice." But then Tay released a statement on Instagram that read the following:

That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on



And then her response caused fans to whip up a bunch of weird conspiracy theories, like how it was all planned, how it's different people's faults... Again - yadda yadda yadda. It's all one big controversial blur.

Around April, Yeez-doge and Tidal got sued by Yeez-doge's fan, Justin Baker-Rhett, for falsely advertising Tidal as the only place to get The Life of Pablo. Sure, it was exclusively released on Tidal in February, but then it was released on all major streaming services on March 31st. Jay Edelson, a lawyer for Baker-Rhett, told Pitchfork, "Mr. Baker-Rhett believes that superstars are required to follow the same rules as everyone else. Even if their streaming service is struggling, they can't trick millions of people into paying money (and giving up personal information) just to boost valuation numbers."

FALSE ADVERTISING!



Oh, but that's not the only time Ye got sued this year! He also got sued over a sample he used in "New Slaves," a song off of 2013's Yeezus. A Hungarian composer by the name of Gabor Presser asked for at least $2.5 million in the lawsuit (haha!) because although Ye reached out for permission and sent a $10,000 advance, the check was never cashed (womp womp).

Then we got to June, where Kanye was set to play Sunday, Day 3 of Governors Ball. Everyone was so excited. He was the biggest headliner of the festival - bigger than The Strokes and The Killers? Maybe, considering that Gov Ball's demographic gets younger and younger every year. But don't hold your breath - as Sunday came around, a notification that the festival was cancelled due to rain popped up on everyone's cell phones. RAIN. Rain is the reason why everything was cancelled. I mean, I get it. They were anticipating the worst, but the fact that the entire day was cancelled for essentially no good reason in the end, it was pretty damn frustrating. Fans were livid, but Kanye actually tried to come through! Another festival that was also taking place in New York that night was Hot 97's Summer Jam, who was forced to shut down one of their stages and performances from artists like Chance The Rapper, Desiigner, Future, and more. Wow, convenient, huh? So Kanye could go over there and even it out. Then him and his collaborator Virgil Abloh also talked about playing another show in New York that night at 2:00 AM at Webster Hall, but it was later cancelled due to massively unsafe riots. Ye, we appreciate your effort but once again, it was a sloppy approach. For leading fans on and causing violence (whether you meant to or not), we deduct a point.



Also in June came the infamous "Famous" video (see what I did there?). Of course, Yeezer had two events for it, this time hosted at the Forum in Los Angeles and again, live streamed on Tidal. The video featured wax figures of a bunch of different celebrities including Kanye himself, Rihanna, Kim K, Taylor, Amber Rose, Donald Trump, and more, sleeping in bed together. The video itself was boring, but the shock factor made for wonderful clickbait. Tons of artists (especially the ones portrayed in the video) retaliated, but my favorite is Lena Dunham, because I mean, we were kind of expecting that. Right?:



Here's where we can give a point to Yaz-meister: in June, he and Adidas announced a new partnership, which was recognized as the most significant relationship "between a non-athlete and an athletic brand." The two collaborated in the past to create the YEEZY BOOST sneakers, but this partnership meant venturing off into new territories - "a YEEZY branded entity creating footwear, apparel and accessories for all genders across street and sport." His YEEZY BOOSTS did very well, selling out and then going for way too much money afterwards.

And right when he started to prove himself to the fashion world, things took a turn for the worse... In September, Yeezy Season 4 took place in the scorching heat at Roosevelt Island. Models, once again dressed in spanks and beige basics, buckled at their knees and threw off their heels mid-show. Critics fumed: The Cut said, "An hours-long process that took us to a remote location, to witness what felt like a torture session for a bunch of civilian models, and a terrible experience of feeling complicit in enabling the situation." Women's Wear Daily said, "This has become an abusive relationship. To a great extent, fashion and the press have only ourselves to blame. We've been world-class enablers of Kanye West, allowing him to put us at his mercy." The New York Times said, "For a man known for his rambling, far-reaching riffs, in his fourth fashion season, it turned out Mr. West had nothing to say." And The Washington Post said, "Worse than bad... it was boring" and "Fame is easy. Good clothes are hard." ...You get the idea.

On October 3rd, Yazzy arrived at Queens' Meadows Festival with some more drama. All weekend, he had a separate tent set up just for his merch. Even before he got there, we felt like he was obnoxiously yelling in our faces, "I am the best! Look at me! I love me!" And then when the time came for him to perform, he arrived 35 minutes late. I actually stood in the Meadows crowd as this happened, and it wasn't something I'd wish on my worst enemy. With everyone packed together and anxiously counting down the minutes as they passed, it was downright rude. Especially because of how clear it was that so many people bought a wristband for the festival just to see Kanye. We deduct a point for that. When he finally came on stage, it was actually really great. He wove in and out of each song with no time to waste, playing hit after hit (I forgot how many good songs he had until I saw him live), but then he left abruptly, cutting his set super short because Kim K was reportedly held at gunpoint and robbed in her Paris hotel room. We praise him for leaving for his wife, but we don't love how he shaved 30+ minutes off of both ends of his long-awaited show.

Just last month at his concert in San Jose, Kanye started to show some signs that he was actually struggling. He started ranting on stage about how he didn't vote, but if he did, he would've voted for Trump. He also ranted on about Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Jay-Z and more. Shortly after that, he was hospitalized and canceled the rest of his tour because he was suffering from "temporary psychosis due to sleep deprivation and dehydration," according to West's doctor. He was just released from the hospital today after 10 days and Kim and his doctor are taking care of him.



Kanye also made a lot of promises in the beginning of the year that he did not keep, like releasing three albums a year... Overall, Kanye began to rise with The Life of Pablo and the YEEZY BOOSTs, but the rest has been a confusing, disappointing downfall. Even at the end of the year, we're left wondering exactly where Kanye will go next. What is he suffering from? Will he recover and if so, when? Although we're not sure, 2016 has proven to be the a colossal year for Kanye.
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