Kanye West is a man of many talents, one of whom professes to be a genius.
"I'm Picasso," West shouted once between songs during a 2013 concert, the crowd roared in approval of his comparison with the Spanish painter. "I'm Michelangelo, I'm Basquiat, I'm Walt Disney, I'm Steve Jobs."
The famous singer / songwriter Leonard Cohen did not agree.
A poem written by Cohen in 2015, before his death in November 2016, was recently published and went viral on Thursday, the same day that the Grammy Award-winning rapper met with President Trump, another person who has called genius. The poem has a blunt title: "Kanye West is not Picasso".
The fiery 21 lines, published last week in "The Flame," a book of Cohen's latest writings, were written long before the strange White House visit to the West and before it was so controversial. But many rushed to call him "A dissident poem from beyond the grave."Shared on Twitter by musician Amanda Shires early Thursday, the tweet Since then he has accumulated more than 10,000 "likes" and was retweeted more than 4,500 times since early Friday.
The poem begins with the frank lines: "Kanye West is not Picasso / I am Picasso".
West has been repeatedly compared to the painter. After his outburst in 2013, West repeated a similar sentiment during a 2015 speech at the University of Oxford, saying: "My goal, if I were to make art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater." A year later, behind the scenes. On NBC's "Saturday Night Live," it was recorded that West had 50 percent more influence than Picasso, Stanley Kubrick and the apostle Paul, CBS News reported. The 2016 West Grammy nominated album is also called "Paul's Life".
Cohen seemed to mock West's propensity to align himself with some of the world's most prominent creative minds.
"Kanye West is not Edison," he wrote. "I'm Edison / I'm Tesla."
Lines centered on Kanye take on a similar tone.
"I am the Kanye West of Kanye West / The Kanye West / Of the great false change of the bulls: the culture", he wrote. "I'm Kanye West, Kanye West thinks he is / When he pushes you off stage / I'm the real Kanye West."
It is not clear what inspired Cohen to write the poem. Cohen talked about West in a 2014 I interviewed the Wall Street Journal and did not seem to harbor any ill will towards the rapper, saying: "A lot, let's say Jay-Z or Kanye West, you do not have to identify with each position they occupy, especially if you're white. the energy is the resonance of the truth, of the person, of the real experience, when we are exposed to someone's real experience, it resonates and invigorates ".
Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: Cohen wanted his poem read. Although the book in which the poem appears was published posthumously, Cohen participated in the decision of which pieces would be included. An article by Brian D. Johnson in Maclean describes the tone and selections of the book as appearing "to reflect the almost vertiginous vertigo of an artist on the verge of death".
In other words, Johnson wrote, West's poem was "Cohen's koan response to a stroke of poetry."
The reactions to the poem are divided mainly into two camps: those who praised Cohen and those who saw the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member as just another old musician who talked about changing times.
"I did not think I could love him anymore," a person wrote on Twitter about Cohen.
Another described the poem as the "final microphone fall."
Montreal Gazette columnist Brendan Kelly was not a fan.
Kelly, who met the writer and singer "Hallelujah" in the late 1980s, wrote on Thursday that although the poem reflected Cohen's characteristic humor, "for the most part there is a kind of bad temper that is unpleasant, reminding me of all the musicians boom. " "I listened to Kanye and hip-hop in general while listening to the same old Dylan and James Taylor albums."
Many echoed Kelly's opinion.
"To be clear: I think this stinks" tweeted The editor of the New York Times Willy Staley, adding that Cohen sounded like a "hatred".
Another person tweeted"This only reads like" rap is not as legitimate as what I do ".
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