Kanye West returns to Twitter, writing a philosophy book 'in real time'

The rapper made an unexpected return to the platform, sharing a book involving time and photography and advice for creatives

During Kanye West’s 11-month absence from the site, Twitter could hardly have been described as boring. Even without the 40-year-old rapper’s daily musings, the Twitterverse remained as addictive and corrosive as ever, thanks in large part to it having become, under the 45th president, a flashpoint for international diplomacy, partisan combat and ruthless trollery. But this past weekend, seemingly out of nowhere, Yeezy returned to the site where he once admitted to getting “emotional over fonts”, declared The Life of Pablo “the album of the life” and wondered about the providence of a water bottle he discovered while on an airplane.

Having deleted all those old tweets, West started anew on Sunday with a remarkably on-brand, and predictably existentialist, message. “Some people have to work within the existing consciousness while some people can shift the consciousness,” he wrote, following it up with photos of forthcoming Yeezy footwear and the word “Saint”, West’s son’s name, in various typefaces.

often people working with the existing consciousness are jealous of those who are more in touch and they become hard-core capitalist in hopes of creating the illusion that the value of money is worth more than the value of time and friends

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 16, 2018

Following a 24-hour break, he returned again on Tuesday with a string of aphorisms: “As a creative your ideas are your strongest form of currency,” read one tweet. “Try to avoid any contractual situation where you are held back from your ideas,” he wrote in another, which the MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes called “extremely good advice”. West went on to call distraction “the enemy of vision” and instructed his 7.6 million followers to “make decisions based on love not fear”.

All these tweets made more sense once West, in a Hollywood Reporter interview with his interior designer Axel Vervoordt, revealed plans to release a philosophy book called Break the Simulation.

“I’ve got this new concept that I’ve been diggin’ into,” he said, describing his Barthesian thesis about photography. “I’ve got a concept about photographs, and I’m on the fence about photographs – about human beings being obsessed with photographs – because it takes you out of the now and transports you into the past or transports you into the future.” Time, West added, “is our most valuable resource”.

To his longtime fans, the preoccupation with lofty ideas like time, capitalism and consciousness are just about the least surprising thing about the 21-time Grammy winner’s return to Twitter. He’s always been hip-hop’s pre-eminent and most brazen sage. What may come as a surprise, though, is the fact that West’s latest tweets are the book, as he revealed on Wednesday morning. “Oh by the way this is my book that I’m writing in real time,” West wrote. “No publisher or publicist will tell me what to put where or how many pages to write.”

let's be less concerned with ownership of ideas. It is important that ideas see the light of day even if you don't get the credit for them. Let's be less concerned with credit awards and external validation.

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 18, 2018

Of course, a tweet-stream-of-consciousness book is not the only thing on West’s plate. The rapper-cum-designer is also reportedly working on his eighth studio album, his first since 2016’s The Life of Pablo, which was dropped during an elaborate listening session at New York’s Madison Square Garden. In a since-deleted tweet from 2016, West said his next album would be called “Turbo Grafx 16”, a title that’s presumably gone through a few iterations since, as West changed the name of his seventh album several times before settling on Pablo.

In March, E! News reported that West, along with several of his collaborators, was recording at a studio in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where “he is in the zone to get things done”. Rumored visitors of West’s, gleaned from Instagram posts and sightings in the Jackson area, reportedly included the Dream, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi and the Chicago rapper King Louie.

Nevertheless, exactly when West plans to release new music is unclear. He and his wife, Kim Kardashian, welcomed a third child, Chicago, in January, and he’s also hard at work on the latest collection for his clothing line, Yeezy. But if West’s insightful and reliably zany return to Twitter is any indication, he is not wanting for consciousness-shifting ideas.


Jake Nevins

The GuardianTramp

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