Kanye's shooting his mouth off again, they'll say.
Spilling uncomfortable or inconvenient truths is what Kanye West does. In among the endless showbiz fakery of popstars and presidents playing nice, Kanye stands like a lone wolf, going rogue left, right and centre, bringing down your faves and, apparently, not caring about the consequences. So far, the majority of his comments have been put down to megastar hubris, or a desire to shock – Kanye has never been a shrinking violet and is married to one of the most successful monetisers of aspirational attention-seeking in the world – but there's a new edge to Kanye's latest rants that suggest something deeper is going on.
Kanye's rambling speeches on his concert tours are nothing new, but in recent outbursts – as we're calling them, to make it clear that this is not "normal" behaviour – Kanye has gone to some darker places. Previous eruptions, like his invasion of the stage as Taylor Swift won an MTV award, and his assertion on live TV that then-president George Bush didn't "care about black people" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, have not only been understandable, but they've been very palatable to a more liberal mindset.
Taylor's win, for example, was yet another example of the dull white mainstream overshadowing a genuine popular culture phenomenon in the shape of Beyoncé's Single Ladies video. Now, however, he's challenging everything his liberal cheerleaders stood for, by claiming Bill Cosby is innocent of sex attack charges, that he would've voted for Donald Trump in the election, and, horror upon horror, he's come for Beyoncé. Just as we knew he would.
Queen Bey must've been idly wondering when it would be her turn to feel Kanye's wrath. He's skirted around saying that she and husband Jay Z are not quite what they seem for a good while, but he finally let loose last week, claiming the couple – who he became very close to following his mother's death in 2007 – haven't been there for him recently, and that Beyonce apparently wouldn't perform at the MTV VMA's unless she won Video of the Year over Kanye.
That Kanye is fixated on awards, even when they don't involve him directly, is interesting, because even though he's never been short of critical acclaim and press attention, he seems to require "official" validation. He needs to hear not from a "higher power" be it the Grammys or MTV, and it seems this is the only kind of recognition that counts. And while it might be a cliché, you have to wonder how much of this thirst for approval is down to the untimely death of his mother.
In an excellent thread on Twitter, Atlanta-based writer Myles E Johnson suggested Kanye's behaviour was more than just arrogant swaggering you'd expect from a huge star. Kanye has, beyond the bluster, been through a lot since he found success, and it's highly possible he's still grieving. He was close to his mother Donda and blames himself for her death, telling Q Magazine "If I had never moved to LA, she'd be alive".
Kanye's fame, which we tend to forget came after years of working for other artists until his talent shone through, has come at a tremendous personal cost, the kind of price no amount of wealth can make up for. And he's has been pretty open in the past about how inflated his supposed affluence is.
His wife Kim Kardashian being tied up in an armed robbery in Paris is just the latest in a series of events where everything Kanye loves has come within a whisker of being taken from him. It's easy to dehumanise him, as we do with most celebrities, and assume that his wealth (again) would give him access to all the help he needs, but who's telling Kanye to look after Kanye? Apart from Kanye himself, of course, in the worst possible way.
Think about how you feel when you fall out with your best friend; West's actions seem like they're motivated by rejection and insecurity rather than malice. His distaste for celebrity fakery has long been evident, and he seems as fascinated by the trappings of his fame as he does its total destruction.
When you feel the world you live in no longer understands you, you start to tear it down. As Kanye has run out of dictators to overthrow, it's almost natural he should start to reject the liberal consensus too. After all, he might think, what has it ever done for him? He still feels like an outsider.
Regarding Donald Trump, Kanye has hinted that he at least respects the president-elect's honesty, no matter how gross his proposed policies. This is made all the more ironic by the fact that the most extreme of Trump's promises are very unlikely to come to fruition, making Kanye's respect for his truth-telling seem even more misguided. Trump's rhetoric may have been hate, but he was never less than convincing. In Kanye's world, unless you're saying what you mean, you're not saying anything at all, no matter how unpalatable it may be.
On the flipside, while we may dehumanise celebrities and expect too much of them, we also indulge them. If the average person arrived at work and went on one of these extended rants, they'd be told to shape up or ship out – our well of sympathy would be shallow to say the least. Kanye's status allows him this platform; it's a luxury unavailable to many other voices who may well have a clearer and more relatable cause to talk about.
Kanye never fails to bring us conflict. We applaud Kanye's fearlessness, yet the accompanying carelessness makes us hostile to him. Perhaps he needs someone he can run this kind of stuff by who'll tell him how it sounds, what it could do – not just for the sake of his career, but for his own personal well-being.
The trouble with honesty in a post-truth world, however, is that its value is ever-decreasing. To be guaranteed a captive audience, you have to tell them what they want to hear. Whether he's spilling it or hearing it, Kanye is no exception.