Making fun of Kanye seems almost like a norm nowadays. People keep attacking him, saying he’s not a musician, saying that he’s dumb (which is actually true in a sense) and have no right to be called a genius. Which isn’t true, he revolutionised hip-hop production and have a good lot of lyricism aside from his occasional stupidity.
And as we all know, people like stupid because stupid make them feel better about themselves :P.
Take Good Morning for example. This song is one of his seminal work and is one of my personal favourite. It’s a somber song about graduation day and it show Ye’s cynical view about school system (he’s a dropout himself).
While it started as a standard brag song about his achievement after being a lazyass stylish student who happens to be like fly Malcolm X: “buy any jeans necessary” (seriously, Ye -_-), it evolves into a something deeper as the verse goes on:
Good morning, look at the valedictorian
Scared of the future while I hop in the DeLorean
Scared to face the world, complacent career student
Some people graduate, but be still stupid
They tell you read this, eat this, don’t look around
Just peep this, preachers, teach us, Jesus
Okay look up now, they done stoled yo’ streetness
After all of that you received this*
*) graduation paper
First he compare the fresh graduate who are stil unsure about their life past graduation to himself who are ready for the future (hop in the DeLorean).
There are several points he make here: about the “career student” who are focused to the study and study alone and not ready (or even know) what they actually gonna face in the real world. How you don’t necessary have to be smart to graduate from school, you just need to pass the tests and follow the rule (read this, eat this, don’t look around).
And how the “streetness” being taken away by the years and years of schooling.
Some people think the last two lines talk about one should stay “street” and left the school while I believe it’s something beyond that. Kanye talked about how your “street smart” are slowly being dulled by staying in the educational system that was not only turning you into a machine, but make you losing what it actually needed in a real world application.
The street knowledge, the things you can only learn from actually being part of the real society out of the safe bubble that is college.
Some might disagree on this view and I totally understand that. College is important and I just realise that after I actually being the part of the college life itself. But on the flip side we can’t discard the reality about the fresh graduate who are totally oblivious about the real world and got shocked with what they are getting post graduation.
Eight years after the song got released, the now-maturing me believe there should be a balance between education and real world skill. The advancement of technology also helped the younger students to learn to fill the knowledge void formal education left them with. While a lot of school still have the old rigid system, some good lot are actively evolving for the better.
Kanye probably will never go back making songs like this again and I’m totally cool with that. He changes like everybody else do, hopefully for the better sooner or later whether the fans like it or not.
You may see him as Kim’s husband, or that weird egomaniac on Twitter, but I’d like to keep him as the musician that inspired me, both lyrical and production-wise.