In Greek mythology, the muse is a goddess or spirit that inspires the creation of literature or art. Popular culture often refers to the muse as she exists in the world of rock and roll. The Yoko Onos and Patti Boyds of the music world. Women who markedly changed not only the lives but the music of their respective lovers, arguably for better or worse.
Inspired by these mythical creatures, I got to thinking, do emcees have muses? I mean hip hop is art too, no? And it is a genre of music just as wildly expressive as rock and roll. Thusly, I sought to examine the existence of the hip hop muse.
I considered the catalogue of the hip hop ode to a woman. Frequently with a decidedly darker edge, emcees have historically paid homage to women. We have all heard Biggie’s “Me and My Bitch” or the ghetto love anthem “Your All I Need” by Method Man and Mary J. Blige, but I consider these songs more as thug valentines; fleeting displays of love and admiration, but not necessarily inspired works of art.
Undeterred, I was determined to find an emcee that appeared inherently changed by the presence of a female counterpart. Immediately, my mind settled upon Kanye West. Fitting that Kanye would be the only rapper I could think of with a recognizable muse as he fancies himself a true ‘artiste’ in the purest sense.
Since being spotted around town with bald-headed, buxom beauty Amber Rose, Kanye has been blessing tracks with lyrics that seem for lack of a better word, inspired. His delivery, cadence and over all style seem to possess a new-found fervor, that I will go on record to say, I didn’t think he had in him*. Accustom to Kanye’s more sing-songy style, these days, Kanye is sounding hungry!
Observe (Pre Amber Rose):
I got a Jones like Norah for your sorror’
Bring more of them girls I’ve seen in the Aurora
Tammy, Becky, and Laura, or’a Shirley
I’m tryin’ to hit it early, like I’m in a hurry
See, that’s how dude became the young pootie tang tippy tow (“School Spirit”, College Dropout)
Now, I’m sure it’s not the wackest shit you ever heard, but it’s far from the best shit you ever heard either.
Observe Kanye’s lyrics, post Amber Rose:
This the fast life we are on a crash course
what you think i rap for to push a f-cking Rav 4,
but i know that if I stay stunting,
all these girls only gon want one thing,
i can spend my whole life good will hunting (“Run This Town”, Blueprint 3)
Save for his comment poking fun at Rav 4s, currently my dream vehicle, not bad huh? The attempt at wit is decidedly more clever, tongue and cheek rather than nonsensical and corny. Admittedly, it may be a bit early to say that Amber Rose has changed Kanye’s music, a full length album would of course be a better indicator, but a close listen to Kanye’s recent work would prove that Kanye is stepping his game up. It’s debatable whether or not this improvement is due to Amber Rose’s good-good, but if a chick as bad as Amber Rose wont do the trick, I don’t know what will.
*Author’s note – Just my personal opinion. Die hard Kanye fans need not argue.