Why Is Kanye West Asking Mark Zuckerberg for $1 Billion?

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Kanye West is widely known for being a one-man circus of controversy. Whether it’s storming the stage at the VMAs or calling out the artistry of Beck, he’s made himself into nothing short of a polarizing figure. One side of the aisle features the apologists, who argue that we should just let Kanye be Kanye. This camp would argue that his talent speaks for itself, and that all the ego and bluster merely come with the territory of all incredible musicians. The other side though sees him as a detriment to a pop music scene already rife with self-centered ego cases. All this is coming to a head now, marked by a request from West to Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.

Celebrities aren’t exactly known for their frugality, and that goes double for hip-hop and pop stars. Knowing this, it’s not much of a surprise to see Kanye West’s claims about being a whopping $53 million in debt. Incidentally, he’s a notable exclusion from Forbes’s annual list of highest paid celebrities, having gone from holding the sixth spot in 2014 at $30 million, to not being anywhere in the Top 100 in 2015. His recent trip into massive debt seems to have officially unhinged his already considerable ego, culminating in his ask to Zuckerberg on Twitter.

 

West continued his Twitter rampage with his usual blustering about being the greatest artist to ever live, likening himself to both Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry as “the best of 2 generations.” For someone who claims to have changed the world both with his music and fashion sense though, it seems odd for him to have not only frittered away a $30 million paycheck in 2014, but to also be in crippling debt to boot.

Recent behavior from West has led to a mass exodus from his army of apologists. It’s one thing to be proud of your work as a musician. It’s entirely another to dub yourself the greatest artist of all time, and then ask one of the richest men in the world to bail you out of a self-inflicted debt crisis. West has quickly become a parody of his own ego, having fallen a long way since the days of College Dropout and Graduation. Hell, there’s a track on his new album, The Life of Pablo, that’s literally titled “I Love Kanye.” As if comparing himself to Jesus Christ himself on Yeezus wasn’t enough, West is officially treading in a territory of self-love that’s worn entirely thin.

All this is without even mentioning the bizarre saga that was the naming process for West’s new album. The album originally was titled So Help Me God, then SWISH, then Waves, and finally The Life of Pablo. It shows an artist who’s flailing for creativity, caught in his own feedback loop of patting himself on the back. No one’s going to argue that great art is created in a vacuum of selflessness. But when all your thoughts and opinions are based around constantly proclaiming your greatness to the world, you begin to lose the ability to empathize with your audience. Art that doesn’t account for how other people will feel is doomed to fail if the approach is eaten alive by an ego like West’s.

In the end, we can’t pretend to understand the complicated psyche that is Kanye West. All we have to go off of are his Twitter rants and music releases, and none of these paint a picture of the artist that gave us the groundbreaking creations of his early career. If West wants to enter back into the upper echelons of hip-hop, he’ll need to do less talking about how great he is, and more actual doing.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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