Happy Tuesday WFNY!
While We’re Waiting is the place you guys come in the morning for some early sports talk to get the day going. So lets start by talking about Kanye West and the Grammys.
Scott Sargent touched on the Grammys in his WWW yesterday, but I wanted to say a few words about Kanye’s disgraceful and tiresome act. For anyone who missed it, the album of the year award somewhat surprisingly went to Beck’s “Morning Phase”. I say “somewhat” surprising because, in all honesty, the Beck win really isn’t that surprising at all when you look at how the Grammy award for album of the year typically goes. Safe, predictable, boring music for white people is what always wins, and this year was no exception. Lets look at some previous years’ winners:
Like I said, nothing too edgy, innovative, or colorful in that list. Safe, predictable, boring music for white people. It wasn’t always this way. In years prior to this list the likes of Ray Charles, OutKast, Lauryn Hill, Santana, and Norah Jones had won the previous three awards. Perhaps not necessarily shocking artistry there either, but at least it shows that racial diversity was once possible at the Grammys.
Which brings us back to Kanye. Does Kanye have a point? After the awards were over, Kanye said the following about Beck winning the award:
I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. “Flawless,” Beyoncé video. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé and at this point, we tired of it. Because what happens is when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. And we as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day. And they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place. Then they do this whole promotional event, that, you know, they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want a commercial advertising. Like no, we not playing with them no more. And by the way, I got my wife, I got my daughter, and I got my clothing line so I’m not going to do nothing to put my daughter at risk — but I am here to fight for creativity. That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight. But y’all know what it meant when ‘Ye walked on the stage.
You might think from the tone of my earlier comments that I agree with Kanye. But I don’t. Not one bit. Acting like a petulant child all the time is getting old. Kanye West isn’t being endearing or funny in a sort of “There goes Kanye again” kind of way. He’s embarrassing himself and his so called artistry by being so disrespectful of others.
The first time Kanye pulled this stunt was to protest Taylor Swift winning over Beyonce. Now he protests Beck winning over Beyonce. I’m not sure who elected Kanye to be spokesperson for Beyonce, but just look at the artists he has offended and slighted. Take a look sometime at the writing credits for Taylor Swift’s albums. She gets a few helping hands here and there from Max Martin and Shellback, but the majority of her songs are written by Taylor Swift. Now go look at the writing credits for Beyonce’s album. It’s stacked with industry insiders and other pop stars like Pharrell and Justin Timberlake earning writing credits.
That’s not to put down Beyonce. She’s an incredible performer and a lot of people really loved her album, “Beyonce”. There is artistry in what Beyonce does. But look at Beck. Beck is a guy who grew up in freaking Andy Warhol’s factory. The guy knows a thing or two about artistry. How many instruments does he play? Pretty much every one he can get his hands on. Beck once released an “album” that was nothing more than a book of sheet music for 20 songs and a ton of artwork. The idea was the end user could then perform the album on their own by playing along with the sheet music. And Kanye wants us to think that Beck doesn’t respect true artistry? Give me a break.
It’s funny that Kanye cited his family and his clothing line as the reason he didn’t say this stuff on stage. No mention of his music, I guess. Maybe real artistry transcends music in a way none of us could understand, because none of us are on Kanye’s level of genius.
Or maybe Kanye is just missing the point. The real truth here is that the Grammys are a joke. It doesn’t mean anything. At all. Music is subjective. It’s like having an award ceremony every year to honor the best colors. Orange is pretty upset with Red winning Color of the Year for sure. I think Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder once said it best:
And he’s right. How can anyone proclaim any one album to be universally better than the rest? It makes no sense. If you like country music, rap music, rock music, or whatever your taste happens to be, you’re going to disagree with things outside your genre being named the “best”.
I just try to remember a few things. Music is Art. Art is Resistance. Resistance is Futile. The Grammys don’t have the first thing to do with artistry. It’s a bunch of rich industry insiders getting together and putting a bunch of self importance onto a made up game show. And Kanye can resist it all he wants, but it’s not going to change. If you really care about music and art, the best thing you can do is just ignore the Grammys. I’d much rather spend those hours listening to my personal favorite albums than listen to a corporate committee tell me what is the best.
Again, I apologize for spending over 1000 words on the Grammys, but music and art is important to me and I had to share my thoughts on the ridiculousness of Kanye’s comments. But I do also care about sports, and I care about the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And just as it seems like pointless drama can’t be avoided at the Grammy’s, so too does pointless drama follow around the Cavaliers. This whole LeBron James tweet thing comes at a really curious time. Will Gibson has more on the tweet thing itself today on WFNY, but I want to focus on the strange timing of it.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the NBA’s absolute hottest teams. In January 13, 2015, the Cavaliers lost their sixth straight game to fall to 19-20 on the season. From there, the team won 12 in a row and have now won 13 of their last 14 games. They are playing excellent team basketball. In the games since they ended their losing streak, Kevin Love has been averaging 15.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. And he’s doing this as the third option on the team. And he’s done it without complaining about it whatsoever. As humble and quiet as ever, Kevin Love has just tried to be himself and help the team in any way he can. He has sacrificed more of his game than anyone else on the team has.
So why now? Why is LeBron James now questioning Love’s ability to fit in with the team? From the outside looking in, I don’t get it. Maybe there’s more stuff going on behind the scenes that we don’t see. Actually, there has to be. I hope there is. Because otherwise, I don’t understand LeBron choosing this moment in time to publicly question and embarrass Kevin Love. The team is playing great, Love has been very good lately, and things on their surface seem better than ever.
So either the timing is bizarre, or maybe this whole story is overblown. The NBA season is long. It has its ups and downs. Things happen, players’ moods change. It’s part of being a team. So I’m not going to get too worked up over this latest crazy incident. It’s just the Cavs being the Cavs. The important thing is that the players are coming together on the court and the team is getting better and better. That’s something worth paying attention to.
That’s all I have for this Tuesday. I promise, next week I’ll focus more on the sports again.