Kanye West—you may have heard of him—is on the move. On the heels of recent comments about the 13th Amendment and his apparent undying love for our current president and emergency alerter, Kanye has decided to venture to Somewhere In Africa to finish recording his second (you could argue third) album of 2018, Yandhi. The album was originally promised for Sept. 29, but has since been pushed back to Nov. 23.
Speaking to TMZ, the star explained he “didn’t finish” the album in time; and would to go to Africa to complete it.
“I just need to go and grab the soil ... and have the mic in the open, so you can hear nature while we’re recording.
“I felt this energy when I was in Chicago. I felt the roots. We have to go to what is known as Africa.”
While the concepts he intends to speak to on the album (body shaming, slut shaming, etc.) sound exactly like the very shit Kanye seems explicitly unqualified to speak on, perhaps this trip will do him some good. I’m pretty solidly in the camp of being over Kanye to the point where I’m not excited nor anticipating new projects from him, but who knows, maybe we’ll get some solid art out of it and perhaps a new worldview. I doubt it, but considering that Kanye typically makes sounds of blackness, I’m being optimistic. Here are 10 reasons why his trip to Somewhere In Africa may be a good thing for us all (while also maybe not).
1. Kanye can go check on Sincere and Tionne (from Belly), who went to Somewhere In Africa back in 2000. If you’re like me you’ve probably been wondering both where the fuck they went and what they’ve been up to since then. This would solidly rank in the “good for us all” column. I realize this is unnecessary but I can’t help myself: Every time I think of T-Boz’s acting in the movie Belly (bad acting that stood out even amongst a sea of horrendous acting) I am reminded that failure is a thing. Still love TLC, though.
2. As ridiculous as Kanye is, and he is plenty ridiculous, he is extremely impressionable. Kanye is the type of person to go to Somewhere In Africa and have a life-changing experience that has him returning to America on some actual pro-blackness that so many of his fans swear he has. You know those fans, the folks who seem to remember “Blood On the Leaves” as some kind of super black song because of the Nina Simone sample despite the song having absolutely nothing to do with blackness at all. Point is, a life-changing experience for Kanye might bring him back to who we thought he was in 2004.
3. At the same time, if this nigga really tries to put the microphones out in the open so we can hear nature while he’s recording, we might get an album worse than ye, which is bad. It’s OK if you liked ye, but it is trash. Like actual trash. It was disjointed and nonsensical and I can only imagine this version of Kanye, who is so abjectly focused on forcing square pegs into round holes, believing that the method overshadows the product. Years ago I wouldn’t think that possible, but current Kanye seems to believe more in who he is and what that should mean versus what that means in terms of consumer products. How else does this man manage to fuck up a Nas project? That way. He’s an artist so maybe I’m being pessimistic, but ... this is the same nigga who dressed like a bottle of Perrier for a performance and I’m not sure we have an explanation for that yet.
4. I’m not going to wish for any type of break in his family or anything but ... though I’m no fan of the Kardashian Klan, Kim is his wife and they have three kids together who I hope are healthy and happy children. But back to that life-changing experience and shit, I’ve got four words for you:
LeRoi Jones. Amiri Baraka.
5. Musically, I think Kanye needs some new inspiration. While I enjoyed The Life of Pablo, many people don’t and I get why. It’s all over the fucking place. It’s like he took every idea he ever had and put it one album—it was basically the musical version of a Spike Lee movie. Since then, most of what he’s worked on hasn’t been very innovative or, well, interesting. Even the multi-album rollout this past summer wasn’t very inspired. Most of the albums are disposable and don’t have that Kanye spark. Plus, he just went to the whitest place he could possibly go to work on them shits (Wyoming). Somewhere In Africa is a perfect contrast that hopefully yields new and different results.
6. Kanye could stand to get away from access to American media. He needs to stop speaking out loud. Here’s why: Kanye is not articulate enough in the moment to express many of his thoughts that are even remotely controversial. Even with his 13th Amendment comment, I actually believe I knew what he was getting at—it wasn’t a difficult leap to make. But because he’s Kanye, he does the first half of the work in thinking but not the second part of thinking through how to express it. This has turned him into, frankly, somebody many of us view as not only an idiot but dangerous. His Trump endorsement is just the icing on the dangerous cake.
7. Much of this is our own fault; maybe we also need a break. We’ve turned Kanye into a thought leader, despite him not having much in the way of revolutionary or pertinent thoughts about black folks’ liberation. I mean, he has nuggets here and there in songs, but much of his catalog is extremely misogynistic and antagonistic towards black women, like a lot of hip-hop. For some reason though, we view him differently. I’m guilty of it too; Kanye represented a different type of hip-hop artist, one not rooted in the streets but with a story just the same. Problem is, it’s putting lipstick on a pig. We let the artistry overshadow the problematic parts. Either way, him heading to Somewhere In Africa might give us a little time to really evaluate him and stop letting him off the hook because he needs help. That man is probably exactly who he’s presenting, we just want him to be the Kanye we like.
8. Kanye could also come back a more ridiculous version of his self. It depends on why Africa is really “calling” him. Saying he needs to go and “grab the soil” sounds like the whitest of white shit coming from him. I’m sure many black folks also feel that same way about going to visit Somewhere In Africa. Most of the folks I know who’ve been to, say Ghana, have felt this kinship being there and wanted to touch down on land that perhaps their own family originated from. But again, Kanye is a fairly ranting and inarticulate fellow so it sounds very fetishistic and almost disingenuous. I don’t know that man so I’m hoping he means it in a spirit-reviving way, kind of how he feels about returning to Chicago. But this man went to Chicago and started trying to pick up beef with folks, so who knows.
9. Selfishly, my Yeezy 700s are some of my favorite shoes (they’re so comfortable) and I’d really like to be able to wear them without considering if somebody is going to call me a sellout for rocking Yeezys. Now, I’m a bit of a sneakerhead (low level) so I’m pretty much on-brand, but I really like both the 700s and the 350v2s and I want to wear them in peace. If he gets his shit together, I will feel better about wearing them. I have them on right now so I won’t stop, but I’d just like to feel better about it.
10. Maybe it will help him become a better fashion designer. I have nothing here except he sucks right now. He should be better.