We all have our opinions on Mr. West, but here’s five reasons why he might be the most iconic artist of this generation…

There’s very little room for middle ground on Kanye West. You either love him or you hate him, and you’re generally pretty adamant about which camp you fall into. It’s virtually impossible to ignore Kanye in 2015, considering he’s affected everything from music and reality TV to clothing and books.

It’s time for everyone to come to peace with Yeezy as one of the cultural icons of this generation, and here are five reasons why.

He’s Always Seemed More Authentic

Kanye keeps it real, sometimes to a fault. Whereas other musicians and celebrities of his stature are constantly giving professional answers through publicists, Yeezy’s somewhere on a stage spouting off his actual opinion about something controversial. Instead of adopting a super business-like persona (Jay Z) or constantly worrying about everyone liking him (Drake), Kanye seems to just be doing Kanye at all times.

Sure, West wants everyone focusing on him, but as long as he’s the center of the discussion, he seems pretty flexible on what the discussion is. From his music to his actions to his now-infamous rambling speeches, Kanye always appears to be far more concerned with doing what he wants to do rather than what the public thinks he should do. It’s extra impressive considering the clan he married into.

He Has The Guts To Say What No One Else Will

Is Kanye always right about what he says? No. Is he necessarily wrong about a lot of what he says? Absolutely not. Whether he’s discussing race relations (“George Bush doesn’t care about black people”), music (“I’ma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time”), or future political endeavors (“I have decided in 2020 to run for president”), Yeezy isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

Maybe Kanye does almost entirely lack a verbal filter, and maybe he says some dumb stuff from time to time, but he makes some valid points. The “Single Ladies” video was incredible, George W. Bush’s team did have a questionable reaction to Hurricane Katrina, and maybe it is time for a president with some new ideas. As scary as it would be to have a First Kardashian, could he really be much worse than some of the other options?

He’s One Of The Greatest Musicians Of This Generation

Take away all of the celebrity, all of the hype, all of the fame, all of the everything, and you’re still left with some of the best rap music to ever grace this planet. The College Dropout and Late Registration might be the best two-album start to a career in history, and Kanye has continued to push the boundaries of music with every album. Half of the music world is still trying to make sense of Yeezus, and there’s a new rumor about West’s next record (allegedly titled Swish) dropping just about every month.

His own music catalog can stand up to just about any other rapper (alive or dead), and that’s not even including everything he’s produced for other people. No hyperbole, Kanye might be the best rapper/producer combo to ever spit rhymes and lay beats down.

His Cultural Impact Is Second To None

There are very few rappers out there who are as highly regarded in the music industry as Kanye, but there are absolutely none who are currently leaving their mark across the cultural board at the same level. Everything from sneakers to books (there’s a remake of Re-Animator centered around West) has seen the magic touch of Yeezy’s influence outside of the music realm.

When you get right down to it, Kanye is to males 18-35 what Taylor Swift is to teenage girls. Sure, not everyone in those categories love their respective musical leaders, but most do, and they almost all have a strong opinion of them. Oh, and if you don’t think he could legitimately get some votes in 2020, you’ve clearly never seen what people will go through to get their hands on a pair of Yeezy sneakers. If you’re looking at who’s got the attention of today’s youth and cultural trends, it’s tough to find just about anyone else near Kanye’s level.

He’s About As Close To A Superhero Persona As Exists In 2015

Look at it this way, when Kanye took the world by storm with The College Dropout in 2003, he was widely considered to be a sympathetic figure with a tremendous amount of talent. At the midpoint of his career, he fought a great battle with the vile being known best as Auto-Tune before beginning to descend into a more controversial role.

There are few celebrities who want to be the center of attention as much as Kanye does, and fewer yet that have the talent and cultural relevance to back it up. Just about everything he says and does affects thousands of people, and unlike someone like Taylor Swift, Donald Trump or Jay Z, Kanye always seems to be in it more for the love than the money. Maybe he lived long enough to see himself become the villain, but he’s the hero music deserves (and the one it needs right now).

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