Who the Heck is Beck? An Undeserving Grammy Winner According to Kanye West

Mallorie Ronan

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Beck on stage - Photo Credit Scott Beale / Laughing Squid (flickr)
Beck on stage – Photo Credit Scott Beale / Laughing Squid (flickr)

Beck?…Who is Beck?

I presume (hope) I’m not the only one who, up until February 8, 2015, had little knowledge of this man or his music. I accept this could just be, and probably is due to a slight musical ignorance on my behalf because as it turns out he is an American singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who has 12 studio albums under his belt and now a Grammy Award for Album of the Year for good measure.  I was as shocked as the next person to hear Beck had beaten the likes of Queen B (Beyoncé), Sam Smith and my beloved Ed Sheeran  to the coveted award, however, I am not here to fight and defend on behalf of her Majesty (Beyoncé again) because I’m sure she is more than capable of that herself.

Warning! Rant beginning

What I AM here to do is to have a small rant about the peculiar being that is Mr. Kanye West, or as some fanatics, and his wife like to call him, Yeezus (ugh). I accept he is a talented artist and entrepreneur but what I don’t accept is his attitude. While his controversial side is potentially an ingenious marketing ploy, (quite possibly, although unnecessary), I think he is just plain rude.

'Yeezus' himself - photo credit Kenny Sun (flickr)
‘Yeezus’ himself – photo credit Kenny Sun (flickr)

This rudeness I am referring to hit me while I was reading different articles about Kanye’s, in my view, extremely disrespectful rant to E! Online after the awards ceremony. One particular gem  I stumbled upon had a bizarre outlook on the whole scenario. This article basically suggests that ‘Ye (ugh) was merely fighting for the right of black artists in a white dominated industry, bringing his need for his crazy remarks back to a race issue, which it definitely is not. It’s just about his basic lack of decency for other, less outspoken, more humble, equally if not more talented artists such as Beck…. Eh, hello, Beyoncé has 20 Grammys, Kanye himself, 21 so I don’t think it can be fairly stated that race is a factor when choosing an award recipient.

While it was all fun and games with Kanye appearing to have become more human and poke fun at his now infamous stage-barging during Taylor Swift‘s 2009 VMA awards acceptance speech by pretending to do the same to Beck, we should have known his softer, jokey side was too good to be true when he came back with a vengeance and his hurtful remarks.  It shows the measure of the man Beck is that he took Kanye’s criticism’s on the chin, didn’t retaliate and even went so far as to label the erratic rapper a ‘genius’. This may be true but this ‘genius’ needs to learn some manners.

Rant continuing

The issue is that Kanye had the outright impudence to state that Beck “needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé”. I listened to this outburst of word vomit coming from him and it angered me. How dare he accuse another musician of lacking artistry and creativity and going on to suggest Beck lacks the ‘craft’ and ability to inspire people. Kanye could learn a thing, or ten from the humble artist.

Beck Album, Morning Phase - Photo Credit Michael Brown (flickr)
Beck Album, Morning Phase – Photo Credit Michael Brown (flickr)

As admitted earlier I wasn’t aware of much of Beck’s music but having since listened to his album Morning Phase and researching the background of the tracks I can honestly say this man is extremely talented. His album is very easy to listen to and the instrumentals behind the lyrics are orchestral and evoke all the feelings associated with his haunting lyrics, not to mention, and probably most importantly, he wrote and composed all the songs on his album and played 15 different instruments throughout the 13 tracks, while Beyoncé had multiple writers on her album and used one instrument, her voice. Beck lacking artistry, craft and creativity? I think not, Mr. West.

Rant over

The point of this rant of mine was not to take away from Beyoncé, I’m an avid fan, and she already has a nice, full trophy cabinet cementing her greatness. Instead, it is to point out the flaws in Kanye’s rant, the latest in a number of ramblings from the dour, moaning rapper. He is wrong about everything he said about Beck who has ample creativeness and artistry (he wrote and composed all the songs on his album for god’s sake) and is modest to boot, and while I am on a role, no, Beck should not have given the award to Beyoncé, because he thoroughly deserved it.

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Mallorie Ronan