How Kanye got his groove back

Jeff Yerger

Kanye West has always been a prominent figure in music — a larger-than-life icon with the Midas touch. 

Three unforgettable albums and numerous production appearances put West on top of the world. For a while, it seemed as if nobody could stop him, and the truth was, nobody could. 

Ironically enough, the only person holding West back from sheer domination was himself. It’s been West’s own ego that’s gotten him in the middle of ridiculous controversies and unwanted publicity. 

Since the release of 2007’s “Graduation,” West has been tumbling on a downward spiral. The same mouth that brought us songs like “Jesus Walks,” “Stronger” and “Gold Digger” has begun to backfire on him. 

His comments on national TV against President Bush in 2005, various tirades about lost awards throughout the years and his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards threatened to bring his career to a bitter end. 

The public began to see West in a whole different light. His image was that of racism and arrogance, and the silver lining around West was diminishing. The only thing that was on West’s side during these controversies was his music, but after the dismal release of “808’s and Heartbreaks,” it became clear that even his music was falling apart too. 

These self-inflicted publicity nightmares would swallow any normal rapper whole, but West is too important to the music scene to simply fade away. 

Now, for only the second time in his rapping career, West is the underdog. The time has come for him to prove (and even remind people) that he can still produce another groundbreaking hip-hop record. It’s time for West’s mouth to stop talking and start rapping again. Well, the night is darkest just before the dawn, and West is beginning to bring that dawn in a way only Kanye can: through Twitter. 

Kanye West’s joining of the social network Twitter may not only be the best thing to happen to him, but to the entire music community as well. It’s West having some plain old fun again, which is something we haven’t seen from him in a while. 

His tweets are entertaining — although many of them may seem inane and clustered with too many exclamation points, all of them have that West sparkle to them with no hint of racism whatsoever. On Twitter, West lets loose and tells the world whatever the heck is on his mind, and sure as you’re born there is a lot. 

Through his tweets, we are given a small, 140-character look into the daily life of the world’s most interesting rapper. Within the first 24 hours of his Twitter debut, West received 90,000 followers who all wanted to see what was on his mind. 

He’s insightful (“Don’t you hate it when you say bye to someone then y’all get on the elevator together, and it’s like, now what?? Awkwaaard”), somewhat spiritual (“God is dope, yo”) and possibly inebriated (“All these tweets are sponsored by Grey Goose!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahaaaaaajfftujgcjcg”). 

More importantly, West seems to be extremely excited about the new music he’s been creating for his upcoming album. 

When he’s not tweeting about his obsession with suits, fonts or Swedish women, he goes off on tangents about music and even his past actions. 

West wrote back in August: “I will be a better man, friend, role model, citizen, blogger, tweeter, artist, creator, giver, thinker, motivator and person.” 

Another motivational West tweet reads, “People are so scared of pain, hurt and embarrassment that no one takes risk anymore…I’ve made so many mistakes that made me better today.” 

The more West tweets, the more it becomes clear that he has been seriously meditating on his life. He seems to be genuinely grateful for what he has, opening a new chapter in his life. 

On a lazy Saturday morning earlier this month, nearly a year after the interruption heard around the world at the 2009 MTV VMAs, West took to Twitter, seeming to wake up on the remorseful side of the bed. 

Since last year, West has apologized to Taylor Swift on TV, but then we never heard him speak of it again. “I’ve been straying from this subject on Twitter, but I have to give it to you guys raw now,” he started off. 

He tweeted that whole morning with only himself to blame for the disaster that ensued after his immature actions. 

He apologized to his fans, to the many people who were directly affected by the cancelling of his tour and most importantly to Taylor Swift. “I wrote a song for Taylor Swift that’s so beautiful, and I want her to have it. If she won’t take it then I’ll perform it for her,” he wrote. “She’s just a lil’ girl with dreams like the rest of us.” Finally, he ends his day of epic tweeting with three simple words: “I’m sorry, Taylor.”

Certainly, this is not the West we’ve grown used to. For the first time in his career, West became humble. He became human, and he now knows that the only way he can redeem himself is through his music. 

In recent interviews, West has cited Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke as an influence for his new album. Back in 2007, Radiohead turned heads by releasing their album “In Rainbows” for free on their website, and now West looks to build upon this idea with his brilliant concept he calls “Good Fridays.” 

“My people need this new music,” West tweeted when introducing this new idea. “My spirit is full, my heart is open…I can’t hold it back.” Every Friday until Christmas, West will be releasing a new song for free on his blog, and so far, Mr. West has delivered big time. 

Songs like the captivating “Power (Remix),” “See Me Now,” “Devil in a New Dress” and the most recent “G.O.O.D. Friday” have featured the likes of Jay-Z, KiD CuDi, Beyoncé, Common and Swizz Beatz. 

The most epic of the tracks so far, “Monster,” even features singer-songwriter Bon Iver, as well as a breakout performance from hip-hop newbie Nicki Minaj. 

The best part about the songs so far, however, has been the long-awaited return of West’s untouchable rapping and dazzling production. “This is the Yeezy we love,” West ad libs at the end of “See Me Now,” and he couldn’t more spot on. 

So, after a long year under heavy media scrutiny, Kanye West is making some changes in his life. He seems to be a man with a fresh outlook on life; He’s a man who wants to minimize his mistakes and spread love rather than hate. Like the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” West’s heart has seemed to grow three sizes, finding the strength of 10 West’s, plus two. 

This is what music needs: an artist who is not afraid to embrace the Internet and use it to his advantage. West is finally having fun again, and he’s brought us along for the ride. 

It’s a new day, and as long as the quality of his music is top-notch and the tweets keep coming, the public will come to forgive West for his flaws.