Why Kanye West Is The One Who Doesn't 'Respect Artistry'

by Alicia Cook

I want to like Kanye West, I really do.

With an impressive 21 Grammy wins over his career alone, I want to like him as much as I like his music. But, it’s damn near impossible, given his over-the-top arrogance and disrespectful behavior.

Kanye West’s 2009 alter ego, known as, um, Kanye West, almost made another appearance again at last night’s Grammy awards when Beck beat out Beyoncé (and other artists, including Sam Smith) for Album of the Year.

At first, it seemed as though Kanye was just making a light, joking reference to his 2009 VMA stage takeover when he berated Taylor Swift’s win over Beyoncé.

I am sure the entire room let out a sigh of relief when Kanye left Beck alone to receive his award.

Then, E!’s post-Grammy coverage revealed Kanye wasn’t joking, after all; he never jokes (or smiles in pictures anymore, for that matter).

This time, he was given a microphone (why?!) and he, with his reality star wife by his side, proceeded to give the ranting speech he had originally wanted to give to the entire audience at the Grammys.

Though long-winded, it seems that his point in all of this was Beck did not deserve the Grammy win and should’ve just given the award to Beyoncé.

I am going to breakdown his outburst of a speech, to show why Kanye should just use his voice box to rap.

Seriously, Kanye, enough with the ranting, and 86 the auto-tuned singing while you are at it.

“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us.”

So Kanye, you’re insinuating Beck, whose career has lasted over 20 years and encompasses 12 studio albums, as well as several non-album singles and a book of sheet music, isn’t a “real artist”?

Beck, who plays over 10 instruments, and whose musical stylings cover a wide range, including but not limited to, folk, funk, soul, hip-hop, alternative rock, country and psychedelic, isn’t a “real artist”?

Can you just save us all some time and write down for us your list of people who you consider to be "real artists"? I am sure it won't take you long.

“We ain’t gonna play with them no more […] Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé and at this point, we tired of it.”

"Beck needs to respect artistry." That’s what you are saying here, Kanye? Should he take notes from you and storm a live award show’s stage every time one of his friends doesn’t win an award?

Beck and Beyoncé are true artists, though they have different levels of fame and pop culture relevance. Kanye, you are the only one in this scenario who seems to not respect artistry.

You don’t have to like everyone’s music, but as a fellow musician, you should at least respect the art of someone who respects the art. Not all art is the same.

As Beck just said himself, he knows he’s “not for everyone.” And, devil’s advocate here, let’s say Beck did lose his mind and just hand Beyoncé his award. Would Beyoncé have taken it?

No. Because she, like Beck, respects the art of music that has gifted them both amazing careers.

“Because what happens is when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration.”

Kanye, you are disrespectful to inspiration. YOU do not respect “the craft” if it doesn’t fit within your own mold of what you deem "good music."

Will artists cringe every time they beat out Beyoncé for an award, knowing you are in the room with easy access to the stage?

Even though this section of Kanye's word vomit pretty much reiterates everything he said above, here he takes it one step further and is blatantly saying Beyoncé delivered a “monumental feat of music” and Beck did not.

Now, personally, I am a bigger Beyoncé fan than I am a Beck fan, yet I know there are bigger Beck fans out there than Beyoncé fans, as well.

But, at the heart of their best music, both demonstrate how good song writing helps us to push through bad times.

“And we as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day. And they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place.”

Rolling Stone’s review of Beck’s album, Morning Phase, says,

“At its core, Morning Phase is a record about what to do when the world seems totally f*cked. Irony doesn't cut it anymore; truth, beauty and resolve are the best weapons… Coming in the wake of a back injury so severe Beck couldn't pick up a guitar for a number of years, Morning Phase's struggle toward the light feels as personal as it does universal.”

If Beyoncé fans are taken to “another place” when they listen to her latest album, who is Kanye to say Beck’s fans aren’t taken there, as well? That Rolling Stone review speaks volumes; Beck writes from an amazingly personal space and it resonates with people.

I feel safe in assuming Kanye had to Google Beck after he left the awards show to even find out who he was.

“Then they do this whole promotional event, that, you know, they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want a commercial advertising. Like no, we not playing with them no more.”

What I would’ve given to have music run over his speech by now. Enough, Kanye.

“And, by the way, I got my wife, I got my daughter and I got my clothing line so I’m not going to do nothing to put my daughter at risk — but I am here to fight for creativity.”

Kanye, stop taking on the role of martyr. You are not here to fight for creativity. You are here to fight for your preconceived and pigeon-holed notion of what you think creativity should be.

You don’t have to like Beck, just as I don’t have to like you, but you must have respect for a man who has been in this industry longer than Ariana Grande has been alive. Fighting for creativity would have been you staying in your seat, regardless of your personal feelings.

You know who did just that? Beyoncé, and she was the one who was nominated and lost to Beck, not you. Beyoncé respects other artists and creativity, not you.

“That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight. But y’all know what it meant when ‘Ye walked on the stage.”

'Ye, but you DID say something last night. Does this seriously constitute not saying anything to you? You may have bit your tongue during the awards, but you did not bite it hard enough if you still managed to spew all this out following the show.

All in all, yes, I wish I could like Kanye West because, unlike Kanye, I, and many others, do respect artistry and creativity, and there is no doubt Kanye West has a gift.

Eventually, though, if he keeps jumping on stage every time he is not happy with a result and spewing out hate, his public persona is going to outshine his work.

Your outbursts aren’t a display of passion, they're a display of arrogant disrespect in a room full of peers.

Congratulations to Beck and all the other winners and nominees at last night’s Grammy awards.

*Drops mic*