Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons released an op-ed piece this week. The Def Jam Recordings founder took the time to share his thoughts on hip-hop’s most controversial superstar: Kanye West. In his piece, Simmons shares his belief that West is misunderstood and he also believes that Kanye’s recent outbursts are for the good of everyone–not just in service to West’s own narcissism.
“I recently sat down with Ye in New York and got the chance to hear about his hopes and ambitions, his frustrations and contradictions, his happiness and his anger,” wrote Simmons in the piece, which was originally published on his Global Grind site. “But through it all, what I felt from Kanye was an artist who desperately wants to leave his imprint in the history books. What’s often times misunderstood about Kanye is that people believe he wants all of this for himself, in fact, quite the opposite – he wants all of this for the rest of us. He wants to destroy the glass ceiling with 808′s and crack music…so one day WE have the power to see all of the lights. Certainly he wants a piece for himself…everybody would, but at his core, at the bottom of his heart, lies an inner-truth that has led to an external battle to make this world a bit easier for those who have been dealt a hand of struggle, by showing them a glimmer of hope through his art.”
Simmons specifically addressed Kanye’s infamous “rants” and how they should be empowering to people instead of controversial.
“It is his generation that has this power. He knows it. He feels it. He tastes it. And he so badly wants it like mad,” Simmons says. “So, you may think he’s mad when he goes on his ‘Yeezy rants,’ but it is a different kind of mad. It is a mad that keeps you up at night, knowing that if you fall asleep, you are wasting time. It is a mad that makes you go into the lab and work seven days with no sleep, cause you want to perfect your craft.”
After the piece was made public, Kanye voiced his gratitude via Twitter.
“Thank you Russel for these kind insightful words, I appreciate your mentorship,” Kanye tweeted.