From critiques of his relationships to negative takes on his music, the comment pages of the internet are rife with folks casting aspersions Kanye West's way. But as we slowly creep up on the eighth anniversary of West's first studio album, The College Dropout, it has never been more abundantly clear that the rapper, designer, producer and newly minted reality-TV star is as A-List as it gets.
He's even hobnobbing with George Tenet, the former director of the C.I.A., as reported by West himself and confirmed by Wired.
A quick snapshot of the world West inhabits: His girlfriend is the most famous woman in the country, his latest album has fought off extremely negative reviews to claim the No. 1 spot in iTunes, he sat front row at New York Fashion Week, has been mentioned (if derisively) by two presidents and shared the "Throne" with the only rapper more in demand than himself, Jay-Z.
West boasted about that final nugget in "Clique," a song off Cruel Summer. In a brief vignette, the rapper offered the following scene: "Yeah, I’m talkin' business, we talking CIA/ I'm talkin' George Tenet, I seen him the other day/ He asked me about my Maybach, think he had the same/ Except mine tinted and his might have been rented."
'Ye went on to describe how "white people" never spend their money the same way he does ("I'd rather buy 80 gold chains and go ig'nant -- I know Spike Lee gonna kill me but let me finish").
But why on Earth would the Chicago-raised rapper be rubbing shoulders with George Bush's spy king? Wired reports that the two once happened to be in the same building in New York. In a twist that somehow still defies imagination, they actually "chatted briefly."
Others on West's level of fame include Tom Cruise and Jay-Z. But Cruise is embroiled in the never-ending tabloid cycle of his much beleaguered Church of Scientology. It's true that Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce, is probably nearly as famous as Kim Kardashian (a quick Google search offers 20 million more results for the latter), and that Jay-Z is Obama's favored entertainer. But it's also entirely possible that George Bush has never heard of Jay-Z. (Bush famously said that West's accusation that the president didn't care about black people was among the low points of his eight-year administration.)
Sure, Cruel Summer has been maligned as a disjointed collection of hits and misses, and rumors of a new sex-tape starring West (and not "home video" superstar Kardashian) are unlikely to endear him to his many haters. But let's at least admit that the 35-year-old rapper has your attention.