I am a fan of Kanye West. I love his music and like to have discussions about his cultural relevance and I look forward to hearing new music from the Louis Vuitton Don with the best of them. Aside from the many leatherbound books that adorn my home, I have physical copies of all of his albums save for The Life of Pablo, which is either not in stores yet or never will be. I have no clue. Point is, I’m a fan; I like Kanye West’s music. He’s cool and shit.
I, however, am not a stan. Kanye West the person has turned me off from ever giving a fuck about anything he says outside of the confines of whatever project he’s released. He seems like one of the most obnoxious and insufferable people to grace our consciousness and he takes himself way too seriously at this point. Outside of music, he’s like a rap Donald Trump complete with a suggested presidential run in 2020. Kanye is either the most woke individual on the planet (possible) or one of the most ridiculous (likely). His twitter binges are equal parts insanity, entertainment, cringe-inducing, and non-sensical. His antics and interviews and speeches are apparently on a higher plane than I’m able to comprehend.
How do I know this?
I’m glad you asked.
I know this because I’m friends with many Kanye STANS. I’m a fan; I like his music. A stan on the other hand believes that Kanye is the most relevant musician since Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, or Bob Dylan. Nobody comes close to his artistry. As Jay-Z said on Outkast’s “Flip Flop Rock, Kanye is on “a whole ‘nother plane.”
Stans also believe that Kanye’s contributions to music and society at large (minus the fashion, I think we’re all in agreement on his less than stellar fashion line) loom larger than any other hip-hop artist who ever lived and might put him in the running for being the most significant pop culture figure of forever. And here’s the thing, there are definitely arguments to be made about just HOW significant Kanye West is to music as a whole that place him in the upper echelon where he belongs – the music 1 percenters, so to speak. And I’d love making those arguments, except Kanye West stans insufferable asses make me feel like I have to knock his accomplishments and significance down a peg.
That’s what stans do, they overstate and in attempts to balance the universe with logic and reason you have to UNDERstate some things in order to provide order amongst chaos. See, Kanye stans tend to lack the proper perspective: Kanye isn’t just one of the greatest producers ever, he’s an artist who is responsible for the current and future sound of hip-hop and R&B since his greatness will transcend humanity. Because of this lack of perspective, Kanye stans can be JUST as insufferable as their luminescent leader – he is on an ultralight beam, after all. I’m surprised Kanye stans don’t refer to themselves as lightbeams. That sounds like a very Kanye thing to do.
Now, none of this would be a problem if it weren’t for one little problem that zealots have: they must ALWAYS engage you in conversations and debate about how great their leader is. So since you will undoubtedly end up in a conversation you didn’t ask for which will turn into a debate you don’t care to have, here’s a short manual of how to be talk about Kanye with Kanye stans.
(For the record, you can pretty much replace Kanye with any other artist with an overly zealous fan base, like that person whose name rhymes with Shmeyonce.)
This is the becoming easier and easier to do as Kanye seems hellbent on forcing people to really discern whether or not they care enough about his music at this point to stomach the rest of his mess. Which is a shame, because his music is still and likely always will be really good. It’s just that people are afraid that one day, Kanye will give an interview like R. Kelly’s GQ interview at which case you really do have to make a choice about how much stock you will put into a clearly insane person. Look, if Kanye West were to tell you that he created the remix version first of a song that he had yet to create, you might not even bat an eye. Kanye in the Tyson Zone is a thing. Point is, you can just distance yourself from Kanye stans and go on about your business.
Since there’s a better than 50 percent chance that you are already fans with a Kanye stan, let’s focus on more likely goals.
2. Constantly request that you both agree to disagree
Have you ever been in an argument about something innocuous, like say, toilet tissue? Let’s say you were arguing about Charmin toilet tissue and the merits of extra soft versus extra strong. Now this ALL comes down to personal preference, right? What your ass prefers is purely about your own body chemistry. Maybe the extra strong chafes you. Maybe extra soft rips in your Edward Scissorhands like fingers causing you to wipe your ass with your fingertips way too often. While you both agree that people who buy Scott tissue are evil, you diverge on soft vs strong.
You know what, that’s okay. Unless one of you is a stan. The stan will not rest until you understand that you are wrong. There’s no crying in baseball and no preferences when it comes to standom. While you will not be changing your opinion or ass wiping choices, the stan WILL continue to explain to you why your chosen option is wrong. Your ONLY recourse – again this is a preference – is to agree to disagree so that you both can move on with your life and talk about something less contentious. Of course, no stan worth their salt is going to just agree to disagree, especially not a Kanye stan who has determined that if you think anybody other than Kanye is significant that you are smoking rocks. Read carefully, I didn’t say more significant than Kanye, just “significant”. Which leads to…
3. Just saying, “okay” or “you’re right.”
It’s a condescending approach that’s likely to send a stan towards a conniption, but the truth is they leave you no options. You’re in an argument you don’t care about against your will, usually because the stan asked you a question and you answered it honestly, not expecting to be met with the Kraken. Fact is – and this holds true for all arguments with anybody who is overzealous – there’s no way to come to a conclusion on this argument UNLESS you coalesce OR give them the proverbial finger with “okay” or “you’re right” and nothing else. Kanye stans will tell you that Kanye singlehandedly elevates the creativity of every person he comes into contact with. You might disagree with this and you’ll be asked for POSSIBLE examples where another person brings in as much creativity.
You can say Stevie Wonder.
You will be wrong. Just know that upfront. Your response will be met with condescension and “you can’t be serious” like statements. You will ask to agree to disagree. That will be rebuffed because again, no stan is just going to let you have your opinion. You ain’t a stan if everybody’s opinion holds equal weight…that’s like being a wally.
So all you can do when they rebuff you is say, “ok” and hope they tire themselves out. It’s hard to argue with yourself, even as a stan, try as you might. Just know that at least three or four “okay” messages will have to be relayed and you will be accused of being patronizing and difficult. That’s okay, you’ve got your sanity to worry about.
4. Constantly change the subject
“Kanye is the greatest human being who ever lived, right?”
“Mariah Carey sang ‘We Belong Together’.”
“I know, but what does that have to do with Kanye?”
“Do you remember the time?”
“What time? What are you talking about? How does this relate to Kanye?”
“Peanut butter jelly time.”
Keep this up long enough and they’ll just quit. Of course, you seem nuts but sometimes you win and lose a battle at the same time.
5. Say “what about Kim tho?”
This will send your stan into either hyper-Kanye defense mode or the opposite and likely, “I hate the Kardashians” territory which will allow you to branch off into a conversation you are likely more interested in and is less fueled.
The only way to talk to a Kanye stan about Kanye is to not talk to a Kanye stan about Kanye unless you’re ranking albums or saying how great he is. The minute you veer into criticism, the stan goes into Defcon 5 mode and from there its every man for himself.
Go forth and prosper AND LISTEN TO THE KIDS BRO!