Kanye West. A Thor Story
My first memories of Kanye West are from when I was going to junior college in Rockland County, NY.
Funny enough, his album at the time was called “College Dropout” and I was ready to do the same thing.
I actually had a professor in that school use Kanye lyrics for a lesson one day. It must have been the spring of 2004 and the song was “All falls down”.
He said he wanted one of the students to recite the song out loud to the class, but when he asked, no one raised their hand. So I volunteered to do it, or he picked me, I can’t remember…
Either way I was thinking to myself, damn, this teacher is cool.
So I looked down at the print out he provided for us and started to flow:
“Man I promise, she’s so self conscious
She has no idea what she’s doing in college
That major that she majored in don’t make no money
But she won’t drop out, her parents will look at her funny
Now, tell me that ain’t insecure
The concept of school seems so secure
Sophomore three years ain’t picked a career
She like fuck it, I’ll just stay down here and do hair
Cause that’s enough money to buy her a few pairs of new Airs
Cause her baby daddy don’t really care
She’s so precious with the peer pressure
Couldn’t afford a car so she named her daughter Alexus
She had hair so long that it looked like weave
Then she cut it all off now she look like Eve
And she be dealing with some issues that you can’t believe
Single black female addicted to retail and well…”
My class was about to find out what everyone that went to my high school already knew, although I was white, I could flow, and my delivery was on point.
“Man I promise, I’m so self conscious
That’s why you always see me with at least one of my watches
Rollies and Pasha’s done drove me crazy
I can’t even pronounce nothing, pass that versace!
“Then I spent 400 bucks on this
Just to be like nigga you ain’t up on this!
And I can’t even go to the grocery store
Without some ones thats clean and a shirt with a team
It seems we living the american dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings
We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we a’stoop
Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coop/coupe”
I don’t even remember what the subject of the class was, but when I was done everyone clapped and the teacher was impressed with me.
I was impressed as well, but not with myself, with Kanye, although I had listened to the song a few times on the radio. I didn’t realize how “deep” it really was. It made me think.
If I don’t get goose bumps from your music I can’t fuk with it.
— Thor Torrens (@thortorrens) January 18, 2018
Most songs are like this. They sit in our subconscious and alter our brainwaves many times without us even knowing it. For good or for bad. When talking mainstream radio, I’d say it’s mostly the latter.
The power of suggestive thought cannot be reasonably argued. Whether it be through music or movies, what people see and hear does affect their minds.
That’s why it’s funny to me that people are so mad at a guy over some twitter noise, when he has been dropping gems for the last 15 years.
I mean we are talking about the guy behind one of the greatest hip hop records of all time:
It’s bigger than “Hip Hop” off the Dead Prez “Let’s get free” album.
Check out the cover
and the lyrics:
“One thing ’bout music
when it hits you feel no pain
white folks stay in control yo brain
I know betta than that!”
This is the guy you’re mad at!?
Back to the story
A few of my friends told me how he had been making hits, and that after a car accident he finally saw the light and started to come out on his own, letting his voice be heard.
As a genius like that, you can only be the man behind the scenes for so long.
It’s got to make you feel some type of way to see all these people getting famous off your work.
Shit as my man G said, the album that made Jay-Z super famous, “The Blueprint” doesn’t happen without Kanye.
My next memory of Kanye is when he came on live TV, and said “George bush doesn’t care about black people”
My favorite part of that was Mike Meyers face right after. He didn’t say it out loud but his facial expression was like, “Oh fuck. No dude, you can’t do stuff like that!”
I remember having to defend Kanye to some of my republican friends that week.
Funny thing, thirteen years later I’m now defending him to my friends that are democrats.
My type of guy.
My next memory of Kanye West was the day I got to paint his apartment in New York…
One of the first jobs I ever had in the entertainment industry was with an art director on music videos.
My mom is a teacher and her fellow colleague has a brother who is an art director in the TV biz.
At lunch they would talk and share stories….I was an artist knuckle head and his brother was an artist knuckle head turned professional, my mom linked me up with his number and I called him to see if I could get some PA work.
Called a few times to no answer. Then one day in that same very summer of 2004, when I was on my way to summer school to take a math class I had already failed once, I got a call from him.
“Hey Evan, what are you doing tomorrow?”
“Hey! Oh, I have a math class tomorrow.”
“Oh that’s too bad, I wanted to see if you could work with me on the new Juelz Santana music video…”
“Oh yeah, nah, I don’t have math class tomorrow, it got cancelled. Where should I meet you and what time?”
He laughed and gave me all the details. Rest is history.
Those music video stories are a post for another time and another place.
So a few jobs later, few months gone by with no calls, he calls me again.
“I have a job tomorrow but I can’t tell you what it is. Are you available?”
“Yes sure I can do it.”
“Meet me at the corner of Broadway and Houston at 7 am.”
“Copy, see you there.
I was excited.
I get there and he tells me what the job is, we are going to paint Kanye West’s apartment.
He told me how it was some crazy amount of money and blah blah blah.
I don’t really care about stuff like that. I was just excited to meet him and hoped I could share some ideas or spit a freestyle for him.
Get inside his place and my first thought is like “damn this is not a lot of space for all that money.”
Second thought was, “damn this dude isn’t even going to be here today. That sucks.”
Third thought was “damn this man sure has a lot of books for someone who publicly stated he doesn’t read books”.
That’s when I started to get it more. As a reader and a mental manipulator myself, I do the same things.
It’s like walking around with no shirt on with ripped abs telling people you’ve never done a sit up in your life.
Or maybe you don’t even read the books, but they are there just in case, and they look good.
It’s funny to me how people can be so mad at Kanye for wearing a MAGA hat, yet totally overlook beautiful art and deep messages he’s given us.
It’s probably because they never went that deep into the music to begin with.
Do you even close your eyes when you listen to your favorite songs?
Stop telling that man how to think or feel. It’s crazy to me how radio hosts who play toxic music with horrible messages in the lyrics have the audacity to talk down to the Louie Vutton Don right now.
My third and final memory of Kanye is when I worked the VMAs in Brooklyn in 2013.
I had been working on it all week and was done with my assignments so I wasn’t needed for show day. But I still had my all access pass. So I got a little bottle of something and hopped on the train to Brooklyn.
All done with my bottle I went into the venue looking for a bar. Found one through the players tunnels and ordered a drink. When it was time to pay the bartender said it was free. That’s when I realized this wasn’t a regular party.
I looked around and saw Drake with his crew.
To the right was Mile Cyrus being interviewed on camera.
Oh shit, I’m in the VIP pre party and it’s open bar!
Whatever… few drinks later I’m walking into the venue alongside Drakes cousin.
We watch him perform and then I get lost.
Hour or so later Kanye comes on and performs and I make my way back stage to greet him as he comes off.
I was amped cheering jumping all around. Gave him daps and he exchanged the favor.
“Great performance man you killed it!”
He smiled from ear to ear, I could tell he truly appreciated the reciprocation.
Then he looked at his homey with the expression like, “who is this guy?”
I laughed, dapped him up and walked away disappearing back into the crowd.
…to be continued…