Kanye West: King, Or Joker?

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kw2“I’m aware I’m a king”, Kanye professes on his 2014 song ‘Black Skinhead’. But could this particular monarch be the town fool in disguise?

Among all of the many denunciations thrown at Kanye West over the past few years, perhaps more than anything he has been accused of taking himself too seriously. The undeviating scowls, the hostile interviews, the bizarre proclamations of self-importance. The man called his more recent album Yeezus, for crying out loud. Anyone who thinks that they might be even the slightest bit deific must obviously think the sun shines a bit too brightly where it doesn’t.

But maybe we’re missing the point. What if the man who feigns Kingdom is actually a Joker in disguise?

You may be aware that West recently announced, in characteristically wacky fashion, that he would be running for President. For those of you that missed it, he rounded off a completely garbled speech, interrupted regularly by spates of applause-wallowing and posturing, with the off-hand remark that ‘and yes, as you have probably guessed, I have decided to run for President.’

Social media blew up, of course, and most people couldn’t decide if he was actually being serious or not. But this is exactly my point, I think 80% of the time Kanye West is not being serious, he is just sending himself up for our amusement, playing up to the crazy persona we have all expected him to fulfil ever since that infamous Taylor Swift moment back in 2009.

Walking into a lamppost when he is trying to avoid the paparazzi. Getting stuck on a crane during Glastonbury. The boldly droll lyrics, such as “I’m like the fly Malcolm X, buy any jeans necessary”. The inexplicably cheesy video for his song ‘Bound 2’. The live radio rap ‘freestyle’, consisting mainly of the words ‘No rhymes’ and ‘Nothing rhymes’. And of course, simulating a re-enactment of the ‘Taylor’ incident at the 2015 Grammys when Beck won best album.

Underneath the braggadocio cloak of awards and colossal record sales, it seems, the world of Kanye West is a lot more light-hearted than one might imagine. Admittedly, what he has in terms of humour he perhaps lacks in humility, but hey, who ever became famous being meek and mild? Alright, Jesus – but that’s only one!

So as Kanye readjusts his crown, sits back down on his golden throne and plots his next move, with the entranced public waiting in eager anticipation of his latest project, take care to notice the playful smile drawn across his face and the tongue mischievously poking out his cheek.

King, or Joker?

Who says you can’t be both.


Maxim Mower, Senior Young Journalist