The ability of popular art to offer societal critiques and challenge received ideas has been recognized throughout history. Through rap and hip hop, composers, singers, and entertainers have recently provided a voice questioning and challenging the sanctioned view of the times. This book offers an in-depth reading of the works and cultural impact of Kanye West. Looking at the moral and social implications of West’s words, images, and music in the broader context of Western civilization’s preconceived ideas, the contributors consider how West both challenges religious and moral norms and propagates them.
“Provocateur, egotist, sage, and artist, no figure in the past decade of popular culture has reflected and defined the zeitgeist better than Kanye West. This collection lays bare the tangle of complexities and contradictions that have made the artist and the art indispensable to our era and proves that if game recognizes game, wisdom does too.” – Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress
“If Julius Bailey was a song, he would be that surprise banger DJ Red Alert drops around one in the morning as the party is at its peak. He is humbly one part scholar and two parts philosopher, yet all hip hop. Respected for his integrity as a cultural critic and archivist, it’s no surprise that like a master beat maker finding the perfect sample, he was ahead of the curve ball when he proposed to explore the cultural impact of Kanye West … but right on time.” – Toni Blackman, US Hip Hop Ambassador
“The Cultural Impact of Kanye West is a much-needed addition in today’s diluted hip hop cultural criticism. By deeming West, his chameleon persona and iconic brand worthy of scholarly examination, this book takes us on a philosophical odyssey like no other in the modern academy.” Rahiel Tesfamariam, founder and editor-in-chief, Urban Cusp