Friday, February 13, 2004

KANYE WEST: GIVING HIGHER ED THE BLACK EYE?


too cool for college, kanye's not
too cool to bare his inner teddy


This is likely going to be a major conversation piece as more people listen to Kanye West's College Dropout album. West, who is the son of the former head of English at Chicago State, lampoons the quest for higher education (i.e. college and beyond) on this new album and this is ruffling quite a few feathers, including my own. The digs mostly come on two or three tracks, the most egregious being on the "School Spirit 2" and "Lil Jimmy Skit".

I noticed over on the 10 Reasons Why Hip-Hop Is Dead, the convo has already begun. Here's my two cents - as someone who used to work with working class and inner city youth at a job training center, I know that four year universities are not a realistic goal for a lot of teens and that there's not enough training available to help them find work in the labor market that isn't dead-end, minimum wage crap. Preaching about college is a great ideal but that shouldn't overtake a larger social agenda that also includes real options for youth who opt (or are unable) to attend college.

At the same time, Kanye's not really talking about an alternative - dude just seems to be really bitter at the idea of college, and makes pursuing higher ed seem like a fool's errand. Actually, worse than that, he makes it seem like going for your masters, even your BA, is selfish when you could already be out there, earning for your family. I know the skits are meant to be hyperbole, but he's not making a joke of it though, at least not that I can tell.

Listen. Decide. Return. Discuss. Please!

This is in the comments section but was worth upgrading to the posting. Says Milo: "Kanye, nobody coulda' put a wire in your jaw with just a high school diploma."