Why study Kanye West?
It’s a question Jeffrey McCune constantly fields since news of his WashU course has spread across the globe.
McCune says it’s the wrong question:
“The question isn’t, ‘Why teach Kanye West? The question is, ‘What does Kanye teach us?’”
In his talk, the second of three public lectures on Kanye West, McCune explains in detail that hip-hop is “one of the greatest art forms this country has created,” and West is one of its most brilliant creators. For detractors who believe it’s not a musical form worthy of study, consider the parallels to jazz. There is no longer debate that this American-made musical genre isn’t an extraordinary contribution to the world of music, but that wasn’t always the case. Early in its rise in popularity, jazz was called the “devil’s music.” Early detractors like Thomas Edison ridiculed jazz, saying it sounded better played backwards. By the end of the 1920s, at least 60 communities across the nation enacted laws prohibiting jazz in public dance halls.
For a fascinating peek at McCune’s talk, check out this video in the Source.