Kanye West – Lost In The World (fea. Bon Iver)

Alright, since no one else is going to do it I guess I have to. I feel an obligation of sorts to speak out against such a thing happening in this day and age. I’ve read the story and I know that Kanye and Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) are good friends. Vernon flew to Hawaii to record his part for “Lost In The World”. West and Vernon played basketball together, and you know sure, that sounds lovely and all but something awful was brewing underneath the whole time…a collaboration!

I understand that Kanye West is seen as some sort of new voice in the rap world and back in the day I did give him a proper listen. The College Dropout hit like a bomb back in 2004 and thrust Kanye into the spotlight and he has since then had a lucrative career. I myself had enough with one spin through the album. I just didn’t need to hear another African American rapper speak on how the white man was getting him down. I feel that although the subject of racism is unfortunately and regrettably still at the forefront of our everyday life, at the time I was looking for something fresh and original. A new voice if you will, speaking about something that hadn’t been touched on yet and I simple couldn’t find it in Mr. West. The only thing I could find myself latching onto for a brief moment was his 2008 album 808’s & Heartbreak.

Fast-forward to 2010’s My Dark And Twisted Fantasy. Track 12, “Lost In The World” is not the only collaboration with Bon Iver found on the album, I choose not to go there at this moment nor will I in the future, ever. The track starts with a sample of “Woods” off of Bon Iver’s 2009 EP titled Blood Bank. Woods has obviously been changed to World to suit the song. I don’t dis-credit Kanye for not having anything to say, for me to state such a thing would be ludicrous. What I’m saying is that, we can see Run DMC and Aerosmith working together on “Walk This Way” as an idea that makes sense. In the end it helped re-launch Aerosmith’s career so it can easily be seen as a good thing. Another prime example is “Bring The Noise” with Public Enemy and Anthrax. Those two examples are classic tales of rock and rap coming together for a common cause to release a song not necessarily to prove a point, but to say that music sees no color. Perhaps also in the same way it speaks to us, forcing us to step outside our own comfortable little box. In hopefully going so far as to realize that there are a lot of other different styles of music out there that we should be aware of, and listen to.

When I first heard about this collaboration between West and Vernon my first thought was, “why?”, followed by just about every question you could think of that one asks themselves upon hearing something so shocking, that it unwinds your very being in disbelief. “If we died in each others arms, still get laid in the afterlife”. If Kanye is trying to do what he says he is in “Lost In The World”, that is attempting to escape from being lost in a plastic life then perhaps he’d do better going back to 2004 and trying it again.

In the end, I hold every second of every Bon Iver song very, very close to my heart. His music has helped me through a lot of very difficult times in my life as music tends to do with many people. It’s difficult for me to understand the relation to these two artists in a clear light. But, the respect you have for one musician and lack for the other is in fact a matter of opinion. Others may see this collaboration as magic, eye opening, and beautiful. Others may see it as two artists coming together to serve no purpose other than to upset the listener. The latter is of course how I see it. My opinion and nothing more. Fans of Kanye are just that and will be for their own reasons and that’s great. Others describe Bon Iver as nails on a chalk board. And Kanye has been said to be bringing hip-hop back, whatever that means. I never knew it went away. The fact being that this is an example, although stealing a page from Run DMC et. al. of two artists coming together for a common purpose, music. I hope this track does speak to someone, then it will have served a purpose. Other than that I cannot go beyond that one, very small dream that at least one person will “get it”.

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