Kanye West: Can you separate the music from the artist?

by Teddy Machera, Staff Writer

Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, has established himself as one of the most successful rappers of the 21st century. With over 160 million records sold, he places as the third best selling and arguably the most influential rapper in recent history. However, his reputation has been put into question recently due to a plethora of antisemitic comments made on his behalf. These comments have rightfully upset many of his fans, and posed the question: should you separate the artist from the music?

For some context, the remarks started in early October on the social media platforms of Instagram and Twitter. West, who is no stranger to openly voicing his controversial beliefs, made his first remark on Instagram. In a later deleted post, West posted a private text conversation he had in which he claimed that his friend Sean Combs (Diddy) was being controlled by Jewish people. This was quickly followed up by a tweet he made the next day in which he wished death con 3, or in other words wishing death, to Jewish people. Over the next month or so, West would continue what he had started with countless other questionable comments, most of which were targeted against Jewish people. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, West added fuel to the already blazing fire and spoke the unspeakable. In an interview on the well known conspiracy talk show InfoWars, West praised Hitler and the Nazis, voicing his acceptance and love for both. This was the point where the situation truly blew up in the media, and the point where any lingering empathy towards Kanye was diminished, at least for most.

Speaking personally, it’s unlikely that I will be able to listen to Kanye’s music the same going forward. Although I don’t relate much to his music, the level at which he intertwines himself and his own character into his music makes it very hard to separate the two. As someone who also happens to be Jewish, it is sad to see such an influential person resort to this level of hatred. To shift directions, it is also clear that West has been battling with mental health issues for a prolonged period of time. Understanding this is important, but should in no way be used as a justification for the actions he has already committed. At the end of the day, many people will still listen to his music, which to their defense is completely their choice. Even with this choice existing, it is still important to take the music of Kanye West and others similar with a grain of salt, when deciding whether or not you think it is right to separate the music from the artist.