I like to think that I was influenced in the best ways by Kanye West, but that was not always the case.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I thought West being overconfident and rude on songs like “The Glory,” was cool and I began to embody the cocky attitude he had.
I became too cocky and it would start a lot of unnecessary arguments for me. I often felt stressed that I was unlikeable because of the attitude his music gave me.
The collaborative album with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne,” was an album full of songs about cockiness and bragging about their success. I did a lot of that when I was younger until I realized how I was behaving. My friends’ reactions to my behavior made me realize that I was acting badly.
Today, I am able to listen to West’s music without letting it impact me in a negative way.
I now use West’s overconfident lyrics to help build my personal confidence. “Power” is one of those songs. It was the song I listened to before my football games to get pumped up.
The song “Forever” by West, Lil Wayne, Drake, and Eminem came out in 2009 when I was in fifth grade, and it had everyone in my class playing it on our iPods and trying to look cool.
West was very popular with kids growing up in the 2000s. A lot of my classmates would play songs like “All of the Lights” and “Mercy” out loud because they enjoyed the music and thought it sounded cool.
But West also has a lot of music tackling different subjects like love and friendship, which are both important to me.
“Hey Mama” is a song I find very meaningful. The song is about how West was aware of the sacrifices his mom made for him. West also raps about how he knows he was a troublesome kid growing up.
That is something I relate to. I know how much my mom sacrificed for me when I was younger. She never gave up on me when I was basically a lost cause.
The song makes me remember to appreciate my mom for what she’s done for me.
An iconic song about being sad because of lost love is “Heartless.” That song remains a go-to for me when I’m feeling sad because the lyrics are easy to remember and shout. The chorus is iconic and makes everyone who sings it feel a little better.
I think that West’s album that has had the most influence on me is “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” The album has many different sounds and subjects, and it has always helped me think creatively.
There is some cockiness in this album that my younger self would take the wrong way, but now I use it to build my own confidence. Songs like “Dark Fantasy” and “So Appalled” make me reflect on my life and the lives that other people have gone through.
On a larger scale, West’s music has been a good influence on me throughout my life. His music has shown me how to act, as well as how to not act.
I think West has humbled himself in his music overall, and I think I have become more humble over time as well. I listen to his earlier music and my experiences have changed the way I look at it.