When Hip-Hop Happens

2013 – Year of Yeezus


As 2012 slowly and surely turned into 2013 we said goodbye to the old year, much in the same way in which we would welcome the New Year – with the blessing of Kanye West.

Yeah, I know, Kanye is self-absorbed.

Kanye is a bit neurotic.

Many times Kanye is friggin’ annoying.

But you know what?

No one in Hip-Hop, or in popular entertainment, dominated the headlines in 2013 like Kanye-cheda.

Known as much by his many aliases as well as his government, Kanye Omari West, managed to captivate the paparazzi, rule the airwaves musically and force news organizations to print headline after screaming headline mostly focused squarely on his blockhead.

Producing his 7th studio album since 2004, in Yeezus, every move in the industry seemed to be tied to the 36-year-old artist. In fact, from the birth of his daughter to his over-the-top engagement, Cheda turned into a media making machine transfixed with printing and taping his every move.

It all began as 2012 began grinding to a halt.

When the year ended – Kanye, a notorious solo act, had become a part of “Kim-Ye,” a media creation that mashed-up his name and that of media queen Kim Kardashian. Kanye would perform at a star-studded New York rock gala 12-12-12.


 The fundraiser raised money for victims of Super Storm Sandy, which savagely reshaped the Atlantic coastline in New York and New Jersey in a pseudo hurricane. West was the lone Hip-Hop artist in a show that was headlined by rock royalty like Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.

 Not bad for a dude who was openly laughed at for wearing a leather skirt, ah, I mean kilt, at the 12-12-12 benefit. About two weeks later, during a concert in Atlantic City, NJ, Kanye divulged that Kim-Ye was about to be three.

What followed was a 2013 that seemed to be for and about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian – 24-7.

With a news item almost every month, we could have called it the 12-months of Kim-Ye, but either Kanye really is genius or the media was really that obsessed. The hungry media seemed to gobble up any and everything Kanye threw its way including wardrobe choices and malfunctions as well as proclamations about his greatness.

It all seemed to begin in January in Paris during Fashion Week.  Always the fashionista, Mr. leather skirt and leather jogging pants, attended the high profile spectacle wearing a red, ski mask.

I wasn’t sure why at the time, but somehow that became news and we were off to the races.

In fact, it seemed like every time the talented Mr. West farted in 2013, the media was there to film, photograph or judge the consistency of the release.

Think I’m exaggerating?

In May 2013, while being pursued by paparazzi, West and a very pregnant Kardashian were approached while leaving a parking garage and banged his very big noggin on a “Wrong Way” sign. The incident broke down when the king of “hey look at me” ran at the photographers yelling: “Don’t take anymore f&*king pictures – man!”

Somehow this became news in this information age of ours.

Maybe the coverage isn’t that surprising in light of the planned release of his 7th album – Yeezus, which came on the scene in mid-June. The chart topping album, which also bred a world tour, was supposed to be the centerpiece in the year of Kanye, but expecting a child changed everything.

In July, Kanye was back in the news, attacking paparazzi in the parking lot of Los Angeles International Airport.

This time, photographer Daniel Ramos pressed charges against MC charging him with misdeameanor counts of criminal battery and attempted grand theft for grabbing his camera. Kanye countered by claiming he acted in self-defense.

Several months and dollars to Gloria Allred later, that matter of theft was resolved in November when West pleaded not guilty to the charges. While the felony charges were dropped, the misdemeanor charges will be further pursued.

The next month Kim Kardashian gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, the couple named “North.”  The world collectively gasped at the name choice, but baby girl

In September  West granted BBC radio host Zane Lowe a lengthy interview that he proclaimed himself a genius, the biggest rock star on the planet and a critical innovator in fashion, marketing and architecture. The interview, which he also said was the most honest media event ever.

When late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel made fun of the hour long rant, it touched off a Twitter war between West and the funnyman which ended in a nice sit down where we learned Kanye attended his wedding and that even though the skit was literally having two child actors repeat a part of the interview, that Kimmel felt like he needed to clear the air with his “friend.”

By late October the rapper was making more headlines by renting out AT&T Park in San Francisco to propose to his boo. It was fitting for two of the planet’s biggest media whores.

He of course placed a ridiculous rock on her pretty, little hand, all 15 carats of it with an estimated worth of $8 million.

As November rolled around, you figured even Kanye might cool it for a bit and spend a quiet holiday with his new family.

Not so much.

In a strange homage to  his song “New Slaves,” Kanye decided to adopt the Confederate flag as a symbol for concert gear tied to his Yeezus Tour.


According to previously published reports, Kanye said because the flag represents slavery, he was going to take the flag and make it his own as a sign of empowerment?

Ah, yeah.

Internationally renowed poet/author/writer/playwright Amiri Baraka saw it another way. He wrote a poem about. Wanna read it?

Here it go:

Who will the first
To slap the shit
Outta Kanye West
make him take off
his confederate outfit?
He thinks he is “too big
To fail”, he need to be knocked
On his tail. His next big hit
Need to be up side his

— Amiri Baraka

Okay, I have to admit. Mr. Baraka is a personal hero and friend of mine, so I’m a bit biased, but no one on planet earth could have said it better.

After a long year, you couldn’t possibly think he’d give us December off.

The release of his pseudo pornographic video Bound 2 made us all collectively throw up in our mouths a little and caused huckleberries like Seth Rogan and James Franco to parody the overly produced video, which featured a semi-nude Kim Kardashian taking a “ride” with her fiancé on a motorcycle.


It became a real laugh fest when the South Park crew joined in and used an animated Kanye to explain that Kim wasn’t a Hobbit through another parody video.
The song itself, which samples an obscure one hit wonder group: The Ponderosa Twins Plus One, was actually dope, but I couldn’t hear it until I listened to it without the video. I guess I had a stallion or one of Kim’s boobs stuck in my ear or something.

We love you Kanye, but Yeezus!

Some other Kim-Ye highlights you may have missed in 2013: the flap over whether Kanye would attend the June baby shower, the hiring of Andy Warhol’s cousin for a commissioned painting, the many masks he wore during his tour – aaugh!

It is entirely possible that the clever brother from Chi-town orchestrated the entire media-fest during 2013 and you know, I wouldn’t put it past him.

We can only hope so. I honestly had not seen the Press played like a harp since Malcolm McLaren did it in the 70’s with the Sex Pistols from 1976 to 1978. I’m sure McLaren is somewhere smiling a wry smile.

Like the old master said, “just make sure that those headlines are coming quick and fast,” it doesn’t matter if they are good or bad, but just keep them coming.

For Cheda, 2013 was triumphant as well as exhausting.

This year we seem to have more of the same to look forward with an over the top wedding on the horizon. At least we’ll get to see whether Kanye keeps his New Year’s resolution to now say anything controversial for at least 6 months.

We can only hope he keeps his word – uh huh – baby!

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Masta Talka

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