The Kanye we once loved — outspoken and vulnerable — was actually born out of Kanye University…the blog. This passion project was, for a minute, the only glimpse into the Kanye West psyche. We knew with certainty what he liked, what artists he was cosigning and what new bathtub or bathroom sink he was in love with. It played out a little like an Instagram account before Instagram actually existed. Trippy, right? But so many of Kanye's cosigns on that site fell gracefully by the wayside, as his passion and attention span changes faster than his smile-to-frown ratio. So let's take a trip back into the inside of Yeezus's mind, when all we had were blog posts and minimal rants. Ah, the good ol' days.
John Legend, Big Sean, Kid Cudi — all artists that were cosigned by Mr. West during the blog's (and G.O.O.D Music's) heyday and are still around today. Though, it was English electro-singer, Mr. Hudson that never quite caught on. Even with a prominent feature on 808s & Heartbreaks with "Paranoid" and a second try on Jay Z's "Young Forever" on the Blueprint 3 (along with a slight check in on Watch the Throne), Mr. Hudson didn't quite stick. His debut album, Straight No Chaser, came out to little fanfare in 2009. However, the singer is hardly forgotten by Yeezy himself, as he recently joined Kanye on stage during the 808s & Heartbreak showcase at the Hollywood Bowl to commemorate the album’s release.
Right after Kanye's "Stronger" video, the shutter shades — though a retro relic from the 1980s — became a pseudo-d-bag calling card. Synonymous with polo shirts with a popped collar, which at that point were totally played out, the shades never really became a thing. It ended up turning into a gag prop for bottle popping at the club. While that might have been the intention of Yeezy all along, for someone who considers himself the Steve Jobs of taste, these guys were more of a miss than a hit, especially if they were worn on a beach.
Bathrooms, Sinks, Shower Heads...
Ye’s love for avant-garde furniture design was probably the star of Kanye University. Before this blog ever existed, no one could imaging anyone loving bathroom sinks and shower heads so hard. Posting photos of left-field furnishings became the new way to prove you were down with cool, artsy things, yet it didn’t stick. It actually became another calling card for people we never wanted on the Internet.
To be fair, Kanye forgot to love T-Pain as much as all of us did. Before that, Yeezy rode hard with the Floridian Auto-Tuner, posting album art supporting his 2008 album release, features on remixes, you name it. Much of it was in thanks to their joint venture on Graduation ("Good Life"), but all signs pointed towards a long-term working relationship that dissolved into thin air. In 2014, we found out what really happened between the two. According to T-Pain, Kanye wrote a T-Pain diss track during the recording sessions for 808s & Heartbreak that left a sour taste in the rappa turnt singer’s mouth. With T-Pain prepping his next album release, perhaps the two will find their way to each other once more.
Fame Kills Tour With Lady Gaga
The Kanye of yester-year fluttered into near oblivion with that Hennessy bottle at the 2009 VMAs — and, oh yeah, with the stealing of Taylor Swift’s mic, but so did this anticipated collaboration with none other than Lady Gaga. It was on Kanye University where we found out that Kanye even liked Gaga and that he was going to co-headline a tour with the much adored pop singer. With Kanye’s disappearance from media for that couple of months, who knows how this tour would have changed the course for both artists?
(Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images)
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