Kanye West's Coldest Story

Superior Essays
The Coldest Story Ever Told: Kanye West’s Undeniable Cultural Energy
Kanye West, musician and artist, has optimized and originated many artistic styles that have led to current patterns in modern popular culture. West’s constant innovation in music and general reflection of the New School’s rejection of Old School ways has placed him the class of an icon among youths. In his three-decade span of activity in the music industry, West has evolved through eras of soul, electronic, alternative, and a variety of other genres, all while falling under the umbrella of “rap music.” After credibility was found in his critically-acclaimed and award-winning album, My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted, Fantasy, West began to leave the realm of name-making, settling
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The self-aggrandizing album proclaimed him to have a godly status. These claims, true or not, launched the musician into a status of celebrity separate from the average definition. West’s top place on Time Magazine’s “Most Influential People” cemented his icon status of today’s generation. Kanye West’s influence and relevance became the most tangible after West’s fourth studio album, 808’s & Heartbreak, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 450,145 copies in its first week. In the years since its release, 808s & Heartbreak has been cited as a prominent influence on subsequent hip hop, pop, and R&B music, as a new wave of rappers, singers, and producers came to adopt aspects of its style and thematic content. In 2014, Rolling Stone named it one of the 40 most groundbreaking albums of all time. Kanye West’s redefinition of popular music with the release of 808’s & Heartbreak reflected the musical and creative movements of the youth. This album cemented his place as an icon, and West continues to accurately communicate the values of youth …show more content…
The inset photo shows West in a suit, a look notable for its rarity in rap music. 808’s painted West, a rapper, as a sensitive artist. The album emphasized the artistry and writing skill required for hip-hop. It emphasized a rappers feelings and emotions for the first time. The promotional photo at right, which West with his heart on his lapel, suggests an intentionality in this emphasis. This photo is notable because of its illustration of West’s adaption to, and reflection of, the development of music, fashion, and popular culture in 2008. His continued cultural relevance supports his iconic status. For the album, West produced all music using one RL-808 machine, a tool invented in the 1980’s which West co-opted to usher in a new wave. He utilized auto-tune in this work, to much criticism from his hip-hop peers of the past. West’s decision to implement electronic music and auto-tune was not accidental. West expressed respect for computer-based production and machine-based that dominated SoundCloud, the underground internet streaming site that caters to unsigned musicians. SoundCloud presents a platform on which anyone can share their work and learn from the work of others. Kanye’s use of the site (West used the site for G.O.O.D Fridays, weekly releases from West’s music label, shared with the fans for free) illustrates Kanye West’s commitment to being in touch with the common interest. 808’s and Heartbreak

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