Thursday, February 09, 2012

Relatively outdated hip-hop line that I recently heard again and suddenly realized is dumb ... of the week

Artist: Kanye West

Song: Everything I Am

In this song, Mr. West attempts to define himself by establishing what he is not. Thesis: the things that he is not = everything he is. This seems rather all-encompassing, as listing the things you are as means of defining who you are would seem much simpler than acknowledging everything you are not (table, coconut, Asian person, wind, pencil, and so on and so forth) in order to reach that same conclusion. However, as in many rap songs, the “theme” is only approached intermittently, and the song quickly devolves into some faux self-deprecation and the declaration, “I got a lot of cheese.”

But one line in this song has been stuck in my head since I heard it again the other day, and I would like to explore it here further:

I never rock a mink coat in the winter time like Killa Cam
Or rock some mink boots in the summertime like Will.i.am


What is intriguing here is that Mr. West seems to be implying there are two established sides of the hip-hop coin: those who wear mink coats in the winter time, and those who wear mink boots in the summertime, neither side of which he falls into. The message: Don’t pigeonhole me into your mink-related hip-hop box of perception!

With regards to Killa Cam’s -- Cam'ron, for the uninitiated -- penchant for wearing mink coats in the winter time, I would argue that the winter time is as good a time as any to wear a mink coat, if you’re into that sort of thing. Many people, I believe, who are not rapper Killa Cam have worn mink coats in the winter time. Furthermore, I never really recognized Killa Cam first and foremost as “the guy who wears lavish winter outwear.” I’ve always known him as “a rapper who is sometimes good at rapping, more often one who stretches the limits of words that make sense—sample line: 'Kumbaya Killa Cam my Lord/Still the man with pants'—and who once initiated a contrived beef with Jay-Z in an attempt to advance his career." I’m ashamed to admit I was not aware Killa Cam had worn a mink coat in the winter time even once until hearing this song, much less that he was known for it. Did he wear one in a video? If so, I did not see that video. Although, a quick Google image search of Cam'ron did reveal this, so there is that. Anyway, the point is, Kanye West would never do that.

But, the question remains: Would he wear mink boots in the summertime? The answer, according to this song: no. I mean, should Kanye West wear mink boots in the summertime, who in his right mind would be able to differentiate him from Will.i.am, other than by their respective music and other unique personal attributes? Nobody, that’s who.

Now here is my problem with this line. Let us, difficult as that may be, set aside the mink aspect of this all for a second. Because I think what Mr. West is saying here, really, is that he’s not eccentric. Kanye West, who has caused a scene at several award shows and who recently hosted the Olsen twins at the Paris premiere of his women’s fashion line, is not eccentric. Nope. If anything, he’s a regular ol’ rapper guy who, as the song later implies, sometimes cannot pay his rent. Hey, Killa Cam—stop flaunting your warm mink coat! Your buddy Kanye is about to get evicted over here.

If you stopped a person on the street at random and asked her, “Who is Kanye West?” she would say, “The eccentric rapper.” If you asked that same person, “Who is Killa Cam?” she would say, “I don’t know. But he sounds dangerous.” Therefore, the point AND truth of all this is lost on me.

Also there's this:

I never rock a mink coat in the winter time like Killa Cam
Or rock some mink boots in the summertime like Will.I.am


Umm, yes. Yes you would. I mean, I know you’re into fashion and all, and maybe you have some objection to whether or not various mink apparel is in season, or even maybe some moral objection to mink in general, but that’s foreign to the average listener. Here is a picture of you:



As if someone would say, “Yeah, he may wear glasses that he cannot see out of and a retro varsity cardigan with a camouflage hat backwards and a bright yellow watch, but I’ll tell you one thing—that guy would never wear a mink coat in the winter time!”

The line in question is immediately followed up by this one:

Let me know if you feel it man

Let you know if I feel that you don’t wear mink coats and boots? Umm, okay, I guess I feel that. I mean, I would never wear that either, so yeah, looks like we’re on the same page here. Consider this my formal submission of “feeling it.” If there was another avenue by which I should declare this, please let me know.

So who is Kanye West? A guy who wears mink socks in the fall? It’s difficult to say. All we know is that he is not two other rappers who are not him. The important thing to remember is that "Cam" rhymes with "am," which is, I think, the point of all this.

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