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No need to exaggerate

Jake Robinson | Friday, December 3, 2010

   Dear Mac Hendrickson,

   Reading your review of Kanye West’s album (“No exaggeration necessary for Kanye West’s new masterpiece,” Dec. 1) it’s clear that you have no knowledge of Hip-Hop music. I tried my best to respect your opinions, but I must express my anger with your ignorance of the topic. You are quick to compare Kanye’s work to that of Nas, Jay-Z and the Beastie Boys (whose inclusion alone shows your lack of knowledge), but I honestly wonder whether you’ve even heard most of their work anyway. Kanye West is certainly a unique artist that has created his own lane and doesn’t deserve to be compared to other greats, but quickly after stating this you go on to make embarrassing comparisons.

   You’ve taken it upon yourself to proclaim that “Fantasy” is the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time. Even if this is how you feel right now, a week is not long enough to decide whether an album deserves “classic” status, let alone crown it the greatest of ALL TIME. I would hope that the greatest album of all time would be one that has proven it will remain as valuable forever, similar to albums like “Illmatic” and “Ready to Die.”

   You applaud that Hip-Hop was “snatched from the hands of thugs and placed back where it belongs.” You proudly use a horrible and insulting stereotype, disrespecting some of the greatest artists of all time. Just last year, 2Pac, a “thug,” had his song “Changes” honored by being placed on the Vatican’s playlist, which must have been because of its “moral repugnance.” Nas’s “Illmatic” was released before his 21st birthday while he was living in the violent Queensbridge projects, but to you it must all seem mindless because you can’t put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The “ghetto-ness” of many rap songs comes because the artists are telling stories of life in the ghetto. From a dorm room at a $50,000 a year college you refuse to find art in the stories of violence, drugs and struggle Biggie experienced. Songs like 2Pac’s “Keep Ya Head Up,” Ghostface’s “All That I Got Is You,” and N.W.A’s “Express Yourself” serve as inspiration for struggling people, which is certainly more mindless than West’s consistent promotion of Louis Vuitton and his own greatness, right?

   “Fantasy” is not even Kanye West’s best album. Actually, it’s not even second best.

Jake Robinson


class of 2010

Dec. 1