Rapper Kanye West performing | Kevin Winter/Getty Images
The entertainment business is often cited as one of the most fickle pursuits one can undertake. Once-beloved stars frequently see their careers lose steam, and sometimes, one creative misfire or scandal can be all it takes for a celebrity to fall out of favor with the public. We’ve seen this happen in the past decade or so with stars like Mel Gibson, and in the age of social media, it appears the number of actors, musicians, and other celebrities who are hated has increased dramatically. Take Kanye West, for instance.
In the mid-2000s, West emerged from being an acclaimed producer to become a solo artist in his own right. Both The College Dropout in 2004 and Late Registration in 2005, sold millions of copies and delivered many chart-topping hits, cementing the rapper’s status as the next big thing in hip-hop.
However, over the years, West’s musical track record has been gradually overtaken by his public persona, leading to a backlash that has seen his reputation plummet. Nowadays, the rapper is among the most controversial celebrities out there. Here are a few of the reasons why.
1. His muddled musical direction
Though his early work was almost universally praised, West’s more recent albums — namely, Yeezus and The Life of Pablo — have seen the rapper take on a less accessible, more self-indulgent sound that has frustrated some longtime fans.
Of course, there are those who proclaim that he’s more of a visionary than ever before.
2. His marriage to Kim Kardashian
West alone was already a controversial enough figure before he married fellow subject of celebrity gossip, Kim Kardashian. That entire family — exemplified by Kim herself — is often hated for far too many reasons to list here, and West’s union with the Kardashian clan has only made his critics loathe him even more.
3. His onstage meltdowns
Kanye West and Taylor Swift | MTV
That notorious moment at the MTV Video Music Awards in which West took the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech may still be the most memorable, but it was just the first on-stage meltdown. We could probably do an entire list solely on all the times West has caused a ruckus on stage, whether during awards shows, other events, or simply during his own performances.
4. His combative attitude
West has made it no secret that he has strong feelings about literally everything. However, sometimes his passion can too easily boil over into rage, and though he has some valid points and his fair share of defenders, some have accused him of being inappropriate and too aggressive at times.
5. He blatantly overuses samples
Some fans of hip-hop criticize West for his overuse of samples. While sampling is a common practice in rap music, some feel that West’s music borders on plagiarism and underscores a lack of originality throughout his career. They may have a point about that.
6. His flow is inconsistent at best
Despite his success in the industry, West’s lyrical content and delivery are sometimes slammed for lacking substance and for being too laid-back and self-referential. There’s a certain swagger in West’s flow to be sure, but it still has proven divisive.
7. He wants to be the next POTUS
Kanye West and Donald Trump | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Perhaps one of the worst things a controversial celebrity can say is his desire to run the United States. West has announced that he hopes to run for president in 2020, and though these are likely empty words that will never come to pass, the fact that West thinks he is qualified to lead the nation is laughable to many.
8. He thinks he is God/Jesus
Kanye West | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
In keeping with West’s ego, he has continually compared himself to Jesus Christ, painting himself as a Messiah figure to the world based on his creativity and vision. Though we certainly hope that West doesn’t sincerely see himself as a God-figure, his pomposity is alarming nonetheless.
9. He thinks he’s the voice of this generation
West so desperately believes in his own genius that he has proclaimed himself a creative pioneer along the lines of Walt Disney, Andy Warhol, William Shakespeare, and countless others.
Whether or not you think he is, in his words, “the number one most impactful artist of our generation,” shouldn’t that be a distinction that someone else gives him?
10. He can come across racist
In much of his music and during many of his public appearances, West naturally touches on issues of racism. But the way he approaches such heady topics has left some people believing that the rapper himself actually has deep-seated racist issues of his own.
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