Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
360 – Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak(2008)
I was a huge fan of Kanye’s early music. When he dropped The College Dropout he was such a breath of fresh air for hip hop. He was groundbreaking with his production, subject matter, delivery, voice and fashion sense; with videos that displayed a potential genius, long before it was self-professed by Kanye himself.
He was on an upwards trajectory, I thought he’d continue to make smash after smash, then he dropped 808s & Heartbreak. I hated it. I was disappointed and thought Kanye was crazy for changing his sound. He had alienated so many people with this experimental record with weird electronic sounds and heavily auto-tuned vocals, it sounded like an amalgamation of Phil Collins and Santigold, who I am actually massive fans of, so why did I hate the album?? For me, it was too different. Kanye made such a positive impact to hip hop music with his first few albums, he had quickly become one of my favourite artists. I was loving Kanye’s songs, I just wanted him to stick to the formula that was working for him, but that’s not who Kanye is.
At the time I remember my friends were all so divided on whether it was good or not as well. It was such a polarising album, people seemed to love it or hate it. Regardless, it was getting played a lot. It took longer than it should have but I ended up falling in love with the album and also gaining so much more respect for Kanye as a person, which I didn’t think was possible.
What I love about Kanye is that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks he should do, he does whatever he wants. Whilst that often lands him in trouble with a lot of the bizarre and crazy shit he says, I love him for it. I rarely agree, but he’s unapologetically himself and I admire that. I wish I had his conviction. This album was a big risk but anything groundbreaking always is. That album impacted me so much, it changed my whole approach to creating. It made me realise I need to stop wrestling with demons in my mind telling me whether or not the music I want to make is what anyone wants to hear, it made me think “IF YOU LIKE IT, THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS, F*CK WHAT YOU ‘THINK’ PEOPLE WANT.”
Since then I say to myself WWKD when trying to make decisions about music – what would Kanye do? He’d do whatever the f*ck he wants to do, simple as that.
Today, 360 re-releases his double-platinum, multi-award-winning classic: ‘Falling & Flying’. The 10th Anniversary Edition of 360’s second studio album is released as a limited edition re-pressing of the original vinyl, plus a completely remastered digital release with additional bonus tracks, remastered instrumentals and two previously unheard demos from the ‘Falling & Flying’ sessions in 2010.
This release coincides with 360’s return to the Australian music landscape and the relaunch of his Rappertag series, an online series of rap cyphers that launched on YouTube in 2010.