News that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are expecting their first child threatened to break the internet late Sunday and early Monday morning, throwing those who are easily distracted off the scent of America’s impending fiscal doom and inspiring everyone with a smartphone to slap together some pithy joke for their Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
But as the dust settled and jokes about why Blue Ivy will be better than the gestating fetus inside Kim Kardashian lost their luster, one started to wonder what it would be like to be raised by Kanye West. A casual examination of West’s music reveals a 35-year-old given to thinking about fatherhood, a subject that pops up with some regularity across his cannon.
His most direct treatment of the song comes, perhaps unsurprisingly, on a duet with Jay-Z. “New Day,” off last year’s “Watch the Throne,” features the two rappers musing about the lessons they’d like to teach their children. Here’s ‘Ye’s verse:
“And I’ll never let my son have an ego He’ll be nice to everyone, wherever we go I mean, I might even make ’em be Republican So everybody know he love white people And I’ll never let ’em leave his college girlfriend And get caught up with the groupies in the whirlwind And I’ll never let ’em ever hit the telethon I mean even if people dyin’ and the world ends See, I just want him to have an easy life, not like Yeezy life Just want him to be someone people like Don’t want ‘im to be hated, all the time judged Don’t be like your daddy that would never budge And I’ll never let ‘im ever hit a strip club I learned the hard way, that ain’t the place to get love And I’ll never let his mom move to L.A. Knowin’ she couldn’t take the pressure, now we all pray”
The song is a fine example of West’s relentless commitment to honesty. The last couplet refers to West’s late mother, Donda West, who died from complications from plastic surgery (West founded DONDA, an interdisciplinary design firm, in her honor). There’s a self-awareness (“I’ll never let my son have an ego … [like mine]”) and the understanding that most people (especially those who populate the comments sections of the internet) will remember him most for his brashest moments (“hit the telethon”). There’s even a bit of self-disgust — it’s hard to imagine Rick Ross or any other big name rapper admitting he wasted time in seedy places (though, then again, that’s sort of what every Drake song is about).
So in “New Day,” the message is a simple one that’s familiar to any parent: I want my child to be better than I am.
by Kia Makarechi