Why Kanye’s New Album Won’t Win A Grammy
Controversy is Good for Business
People often forget that controversy is good for business. As a marketing genius, I have come to accept that as a fact. If a PR makes you indifferent, it has failed. You should either love it or hate it.
One person who still gets that in today’s world is Kanye West. Even his name causes stares. If you don’t hate him, you’re perhaps one of his fans or admirers.
I have not listened to the new album, but I will soon. I want to write this before I listen to it. I don’t want my article to be biased by the music because I might like it or dislike it. But I am still kind of neutral for now, so I want to make the best of the moment.
The Grammy Awards
The Grammy Awards is not a celebration of the best music to grace the world stage. We all know that, right? The winners are determined by a voting process. And do you know who the voters are? Plus, I hear some categories change every year.
This is just to say that you have to be a favorite in some class or some sense, not necessarily that you do great music. Everybody has a different musical taste. Even genre preferences are subjective. For example, I don’t like Rock, but I have listened to some very good Rock songs that became my favorites.
So, the award is just recognition and nothing more than that. There are cases where I find an award unfair, but it’s just my opinion (even though I have strong arguments to back it up). No one cares.
The Kanye We Know
Let’s talk about Kanye. Sincerely, I am not a fan. I don’t consider myself a fan of any musical artiste. I appreciate good music, regardless of the artiste (and whether it aligns with my preferences). And if the music is average or poor, I see through it even though the artiste may have produced a bunch of my favorites.
Kanye has a unique rap voice. One of my favorites of his work is Otis (with Jay Z). He also understands something a few artistes do. And it is that your life as a musical artiste does not end on the stage. In fact, what you do off the stage is what determines how big on a stage you stand. It determines the crowd you pull. The music game has always been a game of controversy.
If you are like just another person, then nobody has any reason to follow you
There was Life of Pablo, which I’m guessing were musings shortly after the start of his marital life. And then, Ye, which was more about his struggles. And now, Jesus Is King?
Faith or Craftiness?
As a Christian, that startled me a bit. This is following a trend. I remember Snoop Dogg releasing a gospel album too a few years back. Someone might say, “are these guys trying to buy their way into heaven?” This is why I had to write this before I listen to the album.
I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. The posts of Sunday services with Kanye doing music from his wife already gave some signals. I never assume that anything he or his wife posts is accidental. It is never accidental. Especially Kim, she knows PR too much.
Am I convinced of Kanye’s faith? The truth is, I don’t care. Many years ago, R.Kelly released a powerful gospel song; Storm Is Over. It is still one of my favorites today. There were rumors flying around. Shortly after, there came “baby whine for me”. You know the song. And you know the mess that was revealed of R.Kelly later. Not comparing him to Kanye in any way, but just making an analogy. An album is just an album.
As for Kanye’s faith, we will see how that goes. I hope it is for real, but it takes more than an album. I have not met Kanye before. From what I can see from public interviews, he is sincere but also subject to a lot of stuff which may affect his public demeanor. One thing though, he is not afraid to be different.
Jesus Is King
Jesus Is King might be the beginning of a new trend. The gradual eradication of the gospel genre. Actually, I have always wondered why “gospel” is a musical genre. If they had called it “church music”, I would get the point. But ‘gospel’ gives it such a heavy tag that most “gospel” songs don’t live up to.
In fact, I think some of them are not so talented or passionate about making music but they will always be accepted as long as they make music for church. Interestingly, “gospel” is not a type of music. When you hear a Rap, RnB, Reggae, Country, hip hop, etc., you know by the style of the song. Gospel is perhaps the only genre that is judged by the intended audience and not style. Which I think is unfair. I think all artiste should compete based on style. And if someone is truly into gospel, genre or awards shouldn’t mean anything to the person.
Maybe this is where Kanye is today. He is not just breaking the norm, he is giving the awarders an headache on how to class him. Kanye is by no means a “gospel artiste” (which I don’t know what that term really means anyway). If you don’t believe me, wait for his next album. But that doesn’t speak for his faith.
I hope his faith affects everything he does. But I don’t expect him to be releasing “gospel albums” now. Please, let Kanye be Kanye. And let the world feed on the controversy. They love it.
Except Grammy comes up with an award that says “controversial album of the year”, I don’t think Jesus Is King will be scooping any awards. But if they do, I don’t think it will be good. That is because people will start doing some mad stuff to win that award category for the following years.
“Life of Pablo” was nominated but didn’t win. Was “Ye” even nominated? I’m sure Kanye doesn’t care now. But maybe he could set a record though; most sold songs in an album under a year. That is because everybody wants to listen to a hip hop artiste talk about Jesus. I think it’s a good trend.
This trend won’t end here definitely. Who will release a gospel album next? Maybe Justin Bieber. Hmmm. That will be so juicy. I’m already in love with that album just by the thought of it.
And if Jesus Is King wins a grammy, I have grossly underestimated the speed of Grammy to adapt.
I rest my case