Dear Summer: An Open Letter to Kanye West About G.O.O.D. Music

Dear Yeezy, Kanye, Ye, Mr. West, Grand Vizier Maestro Kanye Omari Yahweh West: The First ,

How long has it been, brah? Was it that beluga pancake breakfast at the Gucci Store on Rue du Faubourg this Spring? You and Kim looked like you were having the best time explaining Chicago’s drill scene to Anna Wintour. She’s definitely got bandz, but I thought the news crew outside was a bit excessive. Still, we balled till we were full. It was a glorious morning.

Good news: I finally got the chance to listen to the download of Cruel Summer you sent me. It was totally unnecessary to include that secret program that sprinkled a flourish of gold dust when I unzipped it, but if there’s one thing I know about you, you will always walk the extra mile in your $6,000 Jimmy Choo shoes (don’t worry I won’t tell anybody about that one time).

Let’s start with the good. Whenever I listen to “Mercy” on my Beats by Dre headphones while doing kegel exercises in front of my floor-length Murakami mirror, it provides the same rush that it did when I was cruising Rodeo Drive in my Mayonnaise-colored coupe and asking people if they’d seen my friend Molly. It was this year’s summer jam and I saw at least six girls named Kaitlyn twerk to it. Mission accomplished.

I’m also happy that you and 2 Chainz starting broing out. He’s pretty chill to hang out with on long airplane flights and he’s totally going to help your three-on-three basketball games in Hawaii. I know Common was getting all cocky after all that work he put in prepping for Just Wright, but I assure you, 2 Chainz will shut his shit down and force Common to buy Benihana for all. That fried rice is like heroin. Also, it’s also pretty swag (my little bro is still saying that, so I guess it’s still cool?) that you got R. Kelly, Pusha T, Ghostface and Raekwon on the record. We should totally text them the next time T.C. has a “White Party.” Oh, and I’m talking about Tom Cruise not T.C. Boyle.

It’s the rest of your playgroup that concerns me. I like “Clique” a lot and I’m stoked that you mentioned our Gucci breakfast (that means a lot), but what’s up with you and Big Sean? People are starting to talk. How is it possible that no one in the studio or at any point in the last six months has maybe mentioned to him that he shouldn’t call himself “B.I.G.” According to my rough calculations, he is the 87th Greatest Rapper of All-Time with a “Big “ in front of his name—behind The Notorious B.I.G., Big Daddy Kane, Big Boi, Big Pun, Big L, Big Mike, Big Hawk, Big Moe, Big Noyd, Big Syke, Big Shug, and Big and Rich. He is also the size of a lanky member of the Lollipop Guild. My sister started calling him Petite Sean. But she also believes that G.O.O.D. things come in small packages. So there’s that.

Maybe I’m a player hater or just jealous that you didn’t invite me to the topless yodeling contest that you judged in Switzerland (why does Big Sean get to go to EVERYTHING), but I’m not seeing the appeal of the new crew. You’re arguably the most famous rapper in the world and you’ve used your power and influence to break Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Cyhi the Prince, and whoever Travis Scott is? That’s like getting four #1 picks and using them to draft Kwame Brown, Andrea Bargnani, Michael Olowokandi and Pervis Ellison. Even Lil Wayne has introduced far more interesting stars (maybe it’s because he looks like Whoopi Goldberg in Eddie?) It’s great that you’re using beats from Hudson Mohawke, but why are you giving them to John Legend? He’s the John Mayer of R&B. Oh, right.

You know that I’ve learned my lesson to talk about style with you. You embarrassed me that time when I showed up in a purple Vicuna-skinned suit on Jay-Z’s yacht off the coast of Aruba. I made a huge mistake—Vicuna was so ’09. And after all, I’d never even heard of Givenchy until you showed me your Givenchy scarf on the dresser. But it feels like you’ve changed. I still remember when we first met. I’d never seen anyone wearing a backpack in a Benz—probably because it’s uncomfortable—but at least it was fresh. “Gold Digger” might have been my favorite thing you ever did. It was funny and succinct and self-deprecating. You fooled everyone though: you didn’t get on and leave her ass for a white girl. You ended up with a Kardashian, a species so rare that they cannot be classified in the human race. She’s merely an essence to be bottled and sold at Macy’s. Side note: I’m so happy for you, dawg. You guys must have the best post-boning convos.

“To use a metaphor that you once used with me: it feels like I’m watching four bisexual supermodels try to fit into the same evening gown all at once.”

Kanye: you’ve always been at the head of the pack—except when the pack was made of some cheap and tacky textile (No Huckaback). You were the first major rapper to sample Daft Punk and get that Steve Aoki crowd money. And 808s & Heartbreak invented the sad rap robot, which is one of the best CYBORGS OF ALL TIME. Sure, I didn’t like My Dark Twisted American Gothic Horror Fantasy as much as the other guys I talked about it with in the bathroom at the Soho House, but it was still inspired if not indulgent. It had “Blame Game” and that was the realest shit you ever wrote except for that one time you accidentally sent me a text intended for Amber. Hot. It’s cool that you can respect Wiz after all that.

I started to get a little worried on Watch the Throne. Sure, it had that hit song on it with the word in the title that white people aren’t supposed to say, but it felt like you’d completely lost touch with reality. I like a pillow stuffed with the flaxen hair of Scandinavian supermodels as much as the next Robb Report subscriber, but I felt like I couldn’t relate to you anymore. Your only conflict is which ivory backscratcher to buy. Someone on Twitter said that you were like Walter White on Season 5 of Breaking Bad. “You’ve lost all conflict. Masters of the Universe are boring.” He probably just doesn’t understand though. Never listen to someone who has never even had his own shoe line.

But here’s the thing: you keep on comparing yourself to God, Martin Luther King and Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop (I’m still not sure which one’s the greatest). But people didn’t like you because you were a God, they liked you because you were endearingly human. The old Kanye was arrogant but goofy. He was playful and rarely took anything seriously, except for the music itself. You’re not like Axel Foley, you’re like Eddie Murphy after Bowfinger: uptight and dedicated to showing everyone what a Serious Artist you are at all times. I mean, that can be a good thing. I was one of the few who picked up on the thematic similarities between the Runaway short film and The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

It also troubles me that you’re barely even producing anymore. Almost every track has four other listed producers and it sounds like it. To use a metaphor that you once used with me: it feels like I’m watching four bisexual supermodels try to fit into the same evening gown all at once. There’s no reason why songs have to be five minutes long with enough orchestral flourishes and bombastic bridges to satisfy Alfred Molina in Boogie Nights. The best beat on the tape might be “I Don’t Like,” the one you stole borrowed from Young Chop. It’s sort of weird that you jumped on the Chief Keef-wagon without any real context, but I get it—it’s important to be “hip” and “cool” and “down” with what the kids like. Looking forward to the album you’re going to executive produce for Lil Durk.

What’s most frustrating is that it feels like your heart isn’t into this. The sequencing is front-loaded. The beats sound overheated and undercooked at the same time. And when you’re rapping, you seem joyless and incoherent. Your lyrics are mostly unconnected statements and random punch lines like you’d written them while watching the worst episodes of Family Guy. Other things I’m confused about: Why are you talking to George Tenet? Why are you ripping off Biggie’s bars (Jay’s idea, huh?) Why are you telling people to get off your “Scott Disick?” Was that an E! -sponsored bar?

Maybe you should take some time off. You sound burned out. I feel you, mayne. It’s hard for me to keep up with the Kardashians and I only met Khloe that one time at the Wienerschnitzel on Slauson. That was an odd day. I keep on re-playing “Clique” and one line stands out. You say that you really just to want to “design hotels and nail it. “That’s a noble goal. Did you know that there’s a Gucci store inside the Bellagio?

G.O.O.D.Speed,

Jeff

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