Kanye West's press conference in New Zealand to promote 808s & Heartbreak is somewhat infamous, but not for reasons you may think. There was no maniacal rant, no shots thrown at other celebrities, in fact he seemed to shy away from the spotlight (a first for him). There was one line that summed up his present state and the album. When a reporter asked what he planned to see in New Zealand, he answered, "The back of my eyelids."
808s & Heartbreak is the culmination of multiple, profound losses at the same time. The year prior had seen Kanye's mother die and the dissolution of his engagement. The album throws out any convention of what hip hop, R&B and pop is supposed to sound like. It's a series of distorted, pained mumbles and shrieks as Kanye forces himself through the healing process.
That's what makes the lead single, "Heartless," so incredible. In the middle of this messy, confusing, and lonely process, Kanye was able to produce a massive pop hit, that's still one of his best selling singles to date. The chorus is so accessible it could be a Chainsmokers song, yet still oozes the anger and misunderstanding that defines the album. Kanye stepped into the pop box with his 4/4 timing accented by the keyboard, and did it better than anyone in the genre at the time. The song has been an inspiration for many, and even got a pretty damn good cover by The Fray.
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About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.