That was good to hear, because Kanye isn’t exactly beloved. Not everybody gets it. On record and in public, he’s asymmetric and flustered just like a regular human being is, but unlike rap you’ll play for your kids, rap songs about shopping at Goodwill, rappers who are safely in the past. What’s popular, on the sales charts, on the radio, at the festivals and in hip-hop today is EDM. And EDM has a lot of things, but it’s short on words. Kanye has words for days — words that don’t agree with each other, ambiguous pronouns, homonyms, insults, “Strange Fruit" quotes. There are ideas in "New Slaves" and "Black Skinhead" that are echoed in the editorial pages of The New York Times, but Kanye’s songs give them volume and heart. They are a reminder of what music can do — and the isolation artists feel when they say things we don’t want to hear. People need to stop saying hip-hop is dead. There are brave people making it, and we should be proud.

This is for any of you who constantly whine and tell me that you just don’t “get” Kanye.  At least NPR’s Frannie Kelley understands.

That was good to hear, because Kanye isn’t exactly beloved. Not everybody gets it. On record and in public, he’s asymmetric and flustered just like a regular human being is, but unlike rap you’ll play for your kids, rap songs about shopping at Goodwill, rappers who are safely in the past. What’s popular, on the sales charts, on the radio, at the festivals and in hip-hop today is EDM. And EDM has a lot of things, but it’s short on words. Kanye has words for days — words that don’t agree with each other, ambiguous pronouns, homonyms, insults, “Strange Fruit" quotes. There are ideas in "New Slaves" and "Black Skinhead" that are echoed in the editorial pages of The New York Times, but Kanye’s songs give them volume and heart. They are a reminder of what music can do — and the isolation artists feel when they say things we don’t want to hear. People need to stop saying hip-hop is dead. There are brave people making it, and we should be proud.

This is for any of you who constantly whine and tell me that you just don’t “get” Kanye.  At least NPR’s Frannie Kelley understands.

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