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Of Hip-Hop, Identity, and Gospel: The Bizarre Politics of Kanye West

If there was one thing that American hip-hop artist Kanye West could ever inspire in the millions of his (now) cult-ish fans, it’s probably the signature confidence to spurt out the most unthinkable and inconceivable stuff possible in the history of eccentric celebrity-speech.

The man is (in)famous amid the aforementioned cults and, of course, the internet, for few of the most controversial comments ever made in the US entertainment/pop culture scene; some of them, remarkably, tend to get tagged as ‘reactionary’ more often than not.

His most recent stint was today when he announced that he would be running for US Presidency in 2020. West has already received support from billionaire Elon Musk as soon as he made the announcement on Twitter.

“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision, and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” tweeted Kanye along with the American flag emoticon and #2020VISION.

However, readers will do well to remember that this is not the first time that Kanye has said something like this. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Kanye has proclaimed that he would be running for president.

Kanye had announced that he would be running for 2020 US Presidential elections back in 2016. In November that year, West made the official announcement at MTV Video Music Awards. “I would like to help [make the world a better place],” he had said.

The US President back then, Barack Obama, had addressed this when he appeared to refer to Kanye’s wife Kim Kardashian and her family. Obama had said, “In case Kanye’s serious about this whole POTUS thing, or as he calls it, Peezy, I do have advice for him,” adding, “You’ve got to deal with strange characters who behave as if they are on a reality TV show. So you’ve got to be cool with that.”

Kanye had previously called himself a “creative genius” and bragged about his music being “perfect”. To bring things up a notch, he had even said, “God is using me to show off”.

Show what off? Readers may wonder. Kanye did not leave anything up to the imagination and has clarified his position among mortals. “I’m unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time,” he was quoted as saying.

His political opinions raised a storm online rather recently. Last year in winter, following the release of his long-delayed album ‘Jesus Is King’, Kanye was supposedly grabbing more attention with his controversial political comments than with his new music.

The artist had come out openly in support of US President Donald Trump and reportedly said in a radio interview that he thought Democrats in the US had “brainwashed” black Americans.

Numerous reports describe how Kanye has also controversially argued that black culture doesn’t exist, and likened black Americans to “orphans” who have to “vote for whoever the white liberals said black people are supposed to vote for.”

In 2014, West said racism “is a dated concept” that is “not an actual thing that even means anything.”

A “strange character”, for better or for worse, probably sums up Kanye, or as he calls himself, YE. To this extent, something stuck with his fans from one of ye’s tours for Yeezy, one of his business ventures that is a popular clothing brand.

During the Yeezus (Kanye’s sixth studio album) tour during 2013-14, his fans saw Kanye standing atop an extravagant stage which he appeared to refer to as a ‘mountain’. There speaketh Kanye: “I did this. I am a God.”

The world will know if Kanye West will manage to become the US President or not in due time, but until then, there are enough complexes to sort.

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