Malick Ba

Kanye West vs. The People

May 1, 2018

Since the announcement of his next studio album, Kanye West has been a bit off the charts. His sudden re-emergence of his Trump-like Twitter presence and a couple of musical releases has definitely put him back on the radar not only in the hip-hop community, but in the eyes of the media as well.

Is this marketing to build hype for his newest releases? Behind marketing, there is a ton of planning, strategy, and precise thinking that goes into the release of some type of product or service. And while this all seems to be ramping up before the release of his new album, he’s getting attention in some pretty unconventional (and low-key sus) ways.

As we all know, Mr. West is not one to seem like he has the most logical (as seen by his Twitter page) filter for himself. He shocked the media by posting a picture of himself in a studio wearing a Make America Great Again hat. As a long-time Kanye supporter, I found myself disappointed by that and needed to know why he’d do such a thing. There’s no way he actually endorses this after the types of songs and statements he’s made before…right? Remember his infamous quote “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”?

Little did I know that by him posting the picture of him wearing the hat, was his way of getting myself and a ton of people to take the bait. Days after, he released a song called “Ye vs. the people”, in which he specifically addresses the reasons why he’s done it. The song is essentially a conversation between him and “the people” (acted by T.I) that’s basically addressed every question I had. It’s tough to find a non-copyrighted version of the track, but here are the lyrics.

A friend and I discussed the lyrics of the track and talked a little bit about what it meant, but still had a hard time rationalizing his behaviour and thoughts on Trump and the republican party. But that’s not the point. The point is that while his statements are a bit wacky, or his actions are questionable, it’s that he got attention.

So is this advertising? Is this a way to say “hey guys, buy my new album”? Maybe not. The truth is that Kanye West almost surpasses strategy and marketing due to his influence. After he posted that picture, he had the world in the palm of his hands. He was able to assert dominance in the hip-hop community but also command the world to listen to him as well – no matter how ridiculous what he’s saying actually is. Moral of the story is, whether you like him or not, you’ll listen to him in some way or another.

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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