During his infamous Zane Lowe interview in the build-up to his Yeezus LP, Kanye West, as he tends to do, threw his name in with some of the most influential artists, musicians and minds of the century. Whether he actually stacks up to Steve Jobs or Michaelangelo is a conversation better suited for 2036 than 2016. But one of the names mentioned was the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson; an icon in his own right and a consistent point of reference for the type of cultural impact Yeezy aspires to attain.
What has yet to be determined, however, is how attune MJ was to Kanye’s output in his later years. And according to Jackson’s daughter, Paris, it appears he was very much aware of Ye. Specifically, 808s & Heartbreaks. In response to an Instagram follower’s lament over Kanye’s surpassing MJ in Top 40 hits (Schoolboy Q’s “That Part” was the catalyst) Paris basically summed up how we should all look at the art of our times: less competition, more recognition.
“the first time i ever heard kanyes heartbreak album was from my dad, he played it for me all the time. he liked him. he never saw music as a competition or a game, never had a motive to talk shit about other artists. it was always about the love and respect and appreciation for music. so if someone breaks a new record, be happy for them. they worked hard for it and they earned it. don’t be angry or jealous or bias. music is music and if it’s good it deserves recognition.”
So not only does the heir to the pop throne get it, but she was also put onto Kanye by her legend of a father, still watching and listening attentively as the musical landscape shifted and contorted out of commercial viability. Let’s all take a note from the young Jackson here.
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