D’Angelo L. Beard
Full Sail University
The production of music defines the depth of the musician’s heart, soul and emotions. The ability to convey feelings onto a musical platform validates the mere power of music. Kanye West has touched millions of people with his music all the while hurting his image with a barrage of erratic behavior. Although his pride and ego have overshadowed his musical abilities, his musical genius is far beyond many producers of this era. Prior to becoming an artist in his own right he produced music for several artists. Although, he has a true ear for music his personality hinders his capabilities as a professional within the music industry.
Kanye West began his journey as a local producer in Chicago, who initially created music for aspiring up and coming artists. His abilities as a producer garnered the attention of Jay-Z who hired him to create music for an album entitled “The Blue Print.” The attention he gained from the work on that album opened the door for him to be signed not only as a producer but also as an artist on Jay-Z’s Rockfella Records imprint.
In 2004, he wrote a song entitled “Through the Wire” after being severely injured in a traffic accident for his “College Dropout” album. He attained mainstream success and sold over 2 million copies of his debut album and experienced some of that same success on subsequent albums. He would also later venture into fashion and various other platforms.
He is a master in the music production field because he pushes the envelope musically where many producers are often one-dimensional. His ability to integrate different genres of music in to hip-hop is what ultimately makes him a diverse threat in the music industry. Kanye West is today’s Jam Master Jay and Dr. Dre and is highly regarded for his contributions within the industry.
Setting yourself apart and being different is important to anyone aspiring to make it in the music industry. Kanye West is the epitome of creativity, not only is he able to combine genres of music; he has also tied that thought process to fashion. He was once quoted saying, “I’d like to be the Steve Jobs of Gap” (Luckerson, 2015 para. 2). Robert Greene (2012), author of Mastery, covers the importance of creativity as it relates to the individual creator:
You must begin by altering your very concept of creativity and by trying to see it from a new angle. Most often people associate creativity with something intellectual, a particular way of thinking. The truth is that creative activity is one that involves the entire self-our emotions, our levels of energy, our characters and our minds. (pg. 178)
Kanye West has proven over and over that he indeed is a production powerhouse and through his creativity he has been able to remain relevant even in music’s ever-emergent state. I believe that this is largely attributed to his work ethic. Greene made a great point when he said, “Think of the mind as a muscle that naturally tightens up over time unless it is consciously worked upon” (Greene, 2012 pg. 180)
Kanye’s ability to reinvent himself within the music industry is what has kept him relevant. Not only is he a creative mastermind, he consistently exercises his talents so that they won’t become dormant. He has proved time and time again that he can and will complete whatever he puts his mind to.
According to Greene (2012) “If we remained as excited as we were in the beginning of our project, maintaining that intuitive feel that sparked it all, we would never be able to take the necessary distance to look at our work objectively and improve upon it” (Greene, 2012 pg. 199). Again, Kanye masterfully reinvents himself even when he releases music that isn’t embraced totally by his fan base. He adapts to the current state of the industry and remains competitive because of his constant creative edge and his ability to adapt to change.