Rob Hansen // REVOLT
'I Guess' is Kathy Iandoli's battle cry of #shruglife. It's everything that impresses us and unimpresses us—which could be one in the same given the day.
For years, SXSW was this weird crunchy indie haven where kids flew to Austin and would sleep on the ground just to party and say they discovered a band before the radio did. Then Kanye West showed up in 2011 and SXSW was never the same. We can't call it bad per se, but there's like this 50/50 split of people who may have preferred "South By" to be the concrete Woodstock versus the NYFW with cheap beer and cellphone carrier sponsors that it's become. It's all Kanye's fault. He likes something so he puts a big fat artsy ring on it, and then we're left with the ruins.
He's doing that right now with Instagram. Like, literally, as we speak.
It started with this weird Instagram account he had that was super low-key and I only followed it because my friend gave me the name and I wanted to feel special. Ya know, like going to SXSW before 2011. He would post these staticky shots of weird walls and corners of clothing like they were segues in an avant garde horror film. That lasted about 20 minutes because with an obscure Instagram account name and anemic followers, however will Kanye's message hit the entire world? I don't blame him, to be honest. Wouldn't you want everyone to see a half of your sneaker?
Now he has three million followers, so he's living his best life, so whatever. But the posts are like the inside of a mind on the verge of a panic attack.
The first of the photos happened this week: a spacious view of mountains and blue skies decorated with buildings in the distance that weren't as tightknit as favelas, but rather all symmetrical and monochromatic like a condominium development in New Jersey. We learned from the next post—a rough scribbled drawing that they were actually buildings inside of the hills of Colombia. He spelled Colombia wrong (Columbia).
The next post was about a "meeting with Matt George," and he once again drew about it. It looked like a police sketch from when they're trying to catch a murderer. Then he drew one while in the studio with 6ix9ine and didn't complete his face. He also decided Tekashi looks better with a high fade, because he gave him hair like Brian Austin Green when he played David Silver on Beverly Hills 90210. Another is of Consequence in the same misspelled Colombia. Then, by the time he got to his sketch of dinner with Maurice Armitage, he filled in the second "O" in Colombia extra dark, like, "SOR-RY!!! Pardon me for not being perfect and confusing a country with a university. Sheesh! Everyone is always trying to hate on me!"
Then it's like anything goes. He posted a parody video of his weird song-slash-video with Pump. There's a cute video of North singing "In My Feelings" (another olive branch to Drake perhaps?), a vintage poster of Pac and Biggie performing together (Rest In Peace to both, always), his old house in Chicago, and new music that sounds like it probably should be Auto-Tuned (that's the first time I've ever said that in my entire life). There are also other things like task lists.
It's all so strange and confusing, yet then again it's not. This is a man who has now offered us countless public breakdowns, genuinely thinking that he's gifting us with this "inside glimpse into his life" like we don't have enough of that already.
It's the most Kanye West Instagram account in the history of Kanye West things, and yet it's not Kanye West enough. If you want to show us another side of you, post your breakfast like us mere mortals do or take a fucking selfie. Show your human-side. Don't make us have to stare at your drawings at lunch with Colombian entrepreneurs while in Colombia building buildings inside of hills or whatever. At surface level, this must be his new Wyoming or Hawaii where he's recording, yet then again maybe he's doing some large charitable thing or filming a movie with Nick George, with Tekashi 6ix9ine on the soundtrack. And here's the part where the self-loathing kicks in because it's like, why do we even care? And by we, I clearly mean me, but judging by the engagement on these posts, some of you care too.
That's where you say "Fuck SXSW! And book your hotel room the day it ends for the following year so you're guaranteed a spot."
So what will become of Instagram now? Will Kanye align with Armitage and purchase it, calling it Kanyestagram? Will he hold all of his listening sessions over IG Stories? We aren't even a week into his newfound Instagram fascination and this is what it's come to. Same thing happened with Twitter; whenever he comes on, it's like, "Oh good, here we go again."
It's fine. I was planning on announcing my "social media break" [insert meme about distancing yourself from toxic people and learning how to unplug]. Right after I watch these TED Talk videos he posted to his page with subtitles.
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