Dear Kanye West


Kanye West is a musician, a fashion designer and now a video game producer.

The music itself is not enough for Kanye.

Will Smith and LL Cool J used their success in music to go into acting but at the expense of their rhymes. Their hip-hop skills suffered.

Success is one area hampers or taints the other. Kanye still thinks he’s a hit-making machine with a Midas Touch. It doesn’t help that’s he’s surrounded by people that are also living in their own tabloid cocoon.

When I saw Kanye perform in 2003 he was at the top of his game, making his own beats and rhymes and producing for Mos Def and Common. He was appreciative and still learning. That Kanye even showed some humility.

But Kanye’s new music is unlistenable, along with his persona.

Today, Kanye is just another Internet celebrity that makes a lot of noise but offers little value in return. His comments in favor of Bill Cosby are beyond absurd. Like Donald Trump, he uses bombast to make up for his creative self-doubt.

Next week Kanye may be (or think he is) the next Steven Spielberg. He may even make a late bid to be President.

Writing or talking/tweeting in excess is often an indication that you haven’t found the right words yet. The same can be applied to artists that overcompensate their past success and exaggerate their skills to stamp their mastery on other types of work.

Mr. West needs to stop changing his new album name and go back to the studio and make another record that matters.

At this point in his career, Kanye is a much better marketer than a creator. But having built up a legion of fans and married the lightning rod of the Internet, he’s ensured that his ego, not his work, will be relevant for years to come.

Note: It appears as of yesterday, Kanye deleted his Instagram and Twitter accounts. But will see how long that lasts.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.