Kanye West burst onto the scene in 2004 with his debut album “The College Dropout” with a buzz that connected pop culture with underground hip-hop fans. He was a unique entity, a counter-cultural icon to the likes of 50 Cent, who at this point had become poor imitators of 90′s gangsta rap. Every lyric on Kanye West’s album was quotable, his melodies resonated on an emphatic level. “Through The Wire” was his breakout hit and it made for a classic single which showcased his story telling ability and introduced us to his ‘ rap flow’. Initially, he came without the overt macho nature of celebrity rap stars, which made him a relatable artist – the level of production on his records was fresh and exciting as was his willingness to incorporate his personal story into his music. His production credits alone were something to behold in this time period, he worked behind the scenes on Jay-Z’s album ‘The Blueprint’ giving Jay some of his most memorable beats. His artistic endeavours began to highlight the lack of ideas coming from elsewhere and there seemed to be no limit to his future as an MC and producer. A boast of confidence after much success, meant his ego became voluminous, and its appearance at the 2009 VMA’s took it to a new unprecedented level. He seemed to recognise how repulsive his behaviour had become, by the time he released his last solo album “My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy”, where he was rapping about what a moron he was and how he revelled in it (it was a brilliant body of work by the way). The album topped Rolling Stone’s albums of 2010 list and upon my last check, it was sitting with a 94 score on Metacritic, making it on of the top 20 highest rated album releases on the site. So it is with great regret to see him reduced to a mere tabloid celebrity, now dating Kim Kardashian. It’s almost as if he has become a dull shadow of his former self. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Kardashian’s business sense and I think she has built a very successful brand. However, her celebrity is a lot different to that of Kanye West’s; he helped music aficionados embrace the idea that they can be open to more than one genre of music; fusing cross-cultural influences and integrating them into his own unique sound. The promo and hype surrounding his latest album release proved that West also possesses good business sense as Jay-Z and West didn’t follow a typical marketing scheme when it came to promoting their joint 2011 release ‘Watch The Throne‘, preferring to forego loud song releases for quiet announcements via Twitter, peeks into the making of the album on YouTube and surprise giveaways for fans. I just hope that we can sustain that Kanye West, the one who gave hope to millions of hip-hop fans.