The Contradictory Sides of Kanye West Explored in 'New York Times' Profile

"Mr. West isn't content without feedback," writes Jon Caramanica

November 18, 2010 6:13 PM ET

The only people who spend more time talking about Kanye West than the man himself are members of the media, and it's hard to say which is more full of misinformation and bluster.

Video: Kanye West's Surprise Visit to Rolling Stone

Which is why an article like Jon Caramanica's feature in this weekend's Sunday New York Times is a breath of fresh air. In light of Kanye's controversial appearance on the Today show, the Taylor Swift/VMA incident and more, Caramanica examines one of pop culture's most confounding and contradictory figures and calls him out on his flaws, examines them and assesses why they help make him the great artist he is. In other words, he essentially says Kanye is a genius and a bit of a jerk at the same time, although not exactly in those words:

"In the future maybe [West] will become like Bono," Caramanica writes, "giving one or two interviews per album cycle, never revealing too much, waiting around long past the point of appearing intriguing. "Except that Mr. West could never be like Bono. Mr. West isn't content without feedback; his effort is valueless without response. Plenty of artists insist their work speaks for them, but as spectacular as his work is and likely will continue to be, Mr. West will never be one of them. A blowhard with subpar records wouldn't merit the trouble."

Kanye West, Still Unfiltered, on Eve of Fifth Album [New York Times]

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »