For the past two weeks, it seems that every music news outlet has been ranting (some rave, some don’t) about Kanye West’s latest music video/mini-movie “Runaway.”

I, however, refuse to hop on the bandwagon. I won’t sit here and pretend as if I understand all of the metaphors and allusions (even though most of these said metaphor are supposedly metaphors for Kanye himself, which makes sense if you’re familiar with Mr. West’s self-centered nature) within the video, and I can’t even act like I didn’t yawn a few times while watching it. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know when the video was premiering—I just happened to be hanging out with some people who were alerted about its debut via Twitter, and we caught it halfway through. It was visually stimulating though, there were tons of pretty colors and I was in awe of the talent of the ballerina dancers (but not in awe of Kanye’s ridiculous use of the voicebox, it’s as if he was given one for Christmas and refused to put it down for an entire year. The voicebox/autotune is the sole reason why I don’t regret not purchasing 808s & Heartbreak. Note to Mr. West: this is not 1987 and you are not Roger Troutman…but I digress).

So instead of critiquing or dick-riding Kanye West’s new level of “greatness” as a video director, I’ll just stick to the basics. I.LOVE.KANYE WEST.

Yes, I said it. I can probably count on one hand the number of current popular artists (not counting mixtape artists or long established legends) that I truly love, and of those artists, Kanye West tops the list. I love Kanye West so much that I’m even willing to forgive him for that mess of an album that was 808s & Heartbreak. Don’t get it twisted, that album had some bangers, but it was nowhere near the quality of the other albums.

The man is a freaking genius, as both a producer behind the scenes, and as an MC in his own right. Who didn’t roc (all pun intended) with the “Izzo” instrumental, and I dare ANYONE to tell me that College Dropout is not a classic album. Not a hip-hop classic, but simply a classic, one that transcends genres, race and creed. Late Registration and Graduation also followed suit- I still find myself cracking up over the “Broke Phi Broke” skits, and to this day I shriek in excitement over the beat drop of  the track, “I Wonder.”

Not to mention that Kanye puts on one hell of a live show. I’ve had the luxury of seeing him twice – once at the 2005 WGCI Big Jam with Twista, back when he was still a fairly new MC, and another time at the 2008 “Glow in the Dark” tour.  The “Glow in the Dark” tour was by far the best concert I’ve ever been to (and I can’t count how many concerts I’ve attended). As a matter of fact, I don’t think it’s fair to even call “Glow in the Dark” a concert- it was more like an experience. As much as I love writing, I don’t think I’ll ever to be able to describe how amazing that show was, therefore I won’t try. I’m still hoping that the tour is one day released on DVD, so that my memories won’t have to be exclusively mental in nature.

Best live show of MY LIFE.

Even putting talent aside, I still can’t help but love Kanye West. His arrogant nature and outlandish behavior that accompany are enough to make one shrink in their seat, but only so they can hide their face while laughing. His temper tantrums are challenged only by those of Elton John, and Sir John has had many more years in the spotlight to perfect such an art (I can only imagine what it’s like to be the publicist for either man). When half the country turned their backs on Kanye after “Taylor-Gate” of the 2009 VMAs, I admit, I contributed a few “WTF Kanye”s to the dialogue myself. Within moments, however, I found myself chuckling and moved on. The whole concept is still hilarious to me: the category of “Best Female Video” had absolutely NOTHING do with him, but trust Kanye to find a way to place himself in the situation (And let’s be honest here, Taylor Swift benefited greatly from this incident).



Without Kanye, there would be no infamous "Kanye Shrug," and Twitter would be a much more boring place.

You see, Kanye is like that family member who simply does not know how to act; and everyone knows this, but you love him anyway because he’s family. Whenever he throws a bitch-fit for a myriad of reasons, the typical reaction is usually along the lines of “Well, that’s Kanye for ya.”

I think the real reason I simply adore Kanye West is that he made it okay to be a surbanite in the hip-hop game, and his lyrics reflect such. Gone are the days of  “acting hood” just to fit in, a concept that I struggled with for some time when attempting to gain acceptance during those awkward pubescent years. As someone who has no “ghetto story” to share (nearly everyone in my family is a professional of some sort and I’ve always lived in the most suburban locations on earth), I’ve always enjoyed the lyrical flow of many MCs and the beats and breaks over which they rhyme, but I haven’t always been able to say that I could relate to the content of their lyrics, however, I found my bread and butter in Mr. Kanye West.  Kanye; thank you for entertaining me with your music as well your antics, but more importantly, thank you for showing me and countless others that it’s okay to be yourself when society tells you it’s not.