Author: Mark Beaumont
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Format: Trade Paperback
On sale date: August 11, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kanye West is undoubtedly one of pop culture’s most divisive and fascinating characters. Alongside his multimillion selling albums, Kanye has also launched record labels and clothing lines and in the process, become one of the most respected, creative and influential artists in music today.
The most in-depth look at West’s life and career to date, Mark Beaumont’s new book lifts the mask to expose the man behind the endless myths. Featuring quotes from all of the major players in West’s life, Kanye West: God and Monster traces his life from the suburbs of Chicago through art school and rap apprenticeships to recording in the coolest studios of New York and Hawaii with the biggest names in music, revolutionizing hip-hop at every step of the way. Beaumont documents every rumor and revelation, details the wildest extravagances and biggest ego blow-ups of this true rap original.
I made a list of books to read while on vacation in May. I took a trip to my local Indigo and grabbed the titles I wanted. As I was walking to the cash register, I passed the Employee Picks section and saw this book. I picked it up as an impulse buy given that both my husband and I are fans of Kanye's music. I'm a little more College Dropout era and JG is still going strong. I packed this book along with all the others on vacation and this was the only one that came back read.
As a fan of Kanye's music, I never really got into the nitty gritty of his journey to the top, then the bottom...then the top again. This book does just that! Kanye is always portrayed in media as an outspoken and extremely arrogant individual, which he is. What the author does with this book is gives readers insights as to why that is. Mark Beaumont's title for his book "God and Monster" is aptly named when put into the context of Kanye's life.
"Along the way Kanye became the most loved, hated, admired, ridiculed, celebrated, lampooned and consistently unignorable force in rap. A self-proclaimed God and a motherf***in' monster." p10I took away a few learnings about Kanye's rise to the top and the hardships he overcame to get there. His perfectionist nature and need to be recognized is felt throughout the pages. It also sparked a few "Did you know?" questions directed to my husband while I was reading. For the most part he did know... My favourite tidbit from the book was how another famous musician got his stage name from Kanye and poet J. Ivy:
"Kanye repeatedly played Ivy a track Stephens was singing on and Ivy was blown away by how refreshingly soulful his voice was. When Stephens arrived at the studio an hour later, Ivy accosted him - "I heard your music," he enthused, "it's so amazing, it sounds so old school. Man, you sound like one of the legends. You're a legend. Matter of fact, that's what I'm going to call you from now on: The Legend". When Stephens walked into another session several days later, Ivy shouted at him "John Legend!" and Kanye backed him up, saying "you're John Legend from now on, that's your name". And it was." p105Overall, I enjoyed the behind the scenes looks into Kanye's career. I will warn you though, if you're not well versed in hip hop history, you may need to Google a few names to understand who they are and why their presence in this book and/or their work is significant to Kanye West's life.
The next book I have on my "learn more about Kanye West" journey is Kanye West Owes Me $300: And Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big by Jensen Karp. Just because I need a little humour in my life. On to the next one...