I am more right all the time about Kanye West being my generation’s, the Millennial generation’s, Bob Dylan. I could write an essay at this point on all the parallels! I would love to do it too, but, for now, I’ll satisfy myself with this quick blurb.
Hip-hop in the 2000s served much the same purpose folk music served in the 1960s, and much like Dylan helped make folk music popular and influential in a way it was not before, Kanye was one of the rappers helping break hip-hop into the pop mainstream in his time. Then, three years after his debut album, Dylan began to move away from “protest music” in the folk scene and go electric; similarly, four years after his debut album, Kanye began to break away from “pure” hip-hop as well, venturing into experimental hip-hop fusions with pop, synth & electro pop, and R&B. And from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Dylan’s breakout album, to Slow Train Coming, the album where Dylan began making and playing only Christian music for a few years, is sixteen years; from College Dropout, Kanye’s breakout album, to Jesus is King, the first record after Kanye announced he would only be making Christian music, is fifteen years.
Also, and this is a big part of why I love both Dylan & Kanye as artists, neither artist has ever wanted to be lumped in with any specific scene, style, or movement, and both have constantly trolled the press to help avoid that sort of lumping. Both actually think for themselves and do not adhere to any kind of checklist. Of course, Dylan never tried to run for president as far as I know, so this analogy, as with all analogies, only works to a certain point.
Maybe I am crazy, but the parallels are there for sure!
Plus, much the same as Dylan represented a wide range of the struggles the Boomer generation faced, Kanye — throughout his life and through all of his creative pursuits as a hip-hop creative, as a fashion designer, as a performance artist, etc. — represents a surprisingly, shockingly complete picture of the Millennial generation, better than any other artist, though that is a different quick note for me to write another time.