The electro duo called The Chainsmokers went viral in 2013 with their EDM hit “#Selfie” and now they’re back for more with a new single, “Kanye.” Delicate piano cords open as airy female vocals dance alongside during the track’s opening. The song starts off as sweet and light, until the chorus comes in strong and leads into a bass-heavy dance anthem.
The chorus is simple enough:
I wanna be like Kanye
I’ll be the King of me always
Do what I want and have it my way
“Kanye” by The Chainsmokers (ft. Siren)
Sorry for the late disclaimer: this song’s message is unapologetically self-centered. We all have role models and here it’s Kanye. He’s controversial, narcissistic, and opinionated. When I first heard the song’s chorus, it was almost hard for me to take the song seriously.
But then it dawned on me.
More than anything, Kanye West represents the freedom to be yourself (however ridiculous you seem) and say what you think (however ridiculous it sounds). Kanye is a metaphor for complete self-confidence. Isn’t that what we all want? The confidence to be who you want to be. The courage to go against the grain. The freedom to say exactly what you think… exactly the way you think it… to anybody… anytime.
Okay, you may not want to be like Kanye, but there’s not a person alive who isn’t afraid of what people think sometimes and who wishes they weren’t. Like gravity, the pressure to impress people weighs on us all. The funny thing is, even Kanye isn’t immune to fear of man. Take a look at this quote from his own song, “All Falls Down.”
Man I promise, I’m so self conscious
That’s why you always see me with at least one of my watches…
It seems we living the American dream
The people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
Kanye West, All Falls Down
There you have it. The king of confidence admits that even he is controlled by self-consciousness. Rich or poor, popular or fringe, athlete or nerd. We all alike face a common enemy.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
Proverbs 29:25 NIV
Confidence is what we want. Fear is what we have. The Bible’s position is that God can make up the difference, if we change what we value. When all we live for is the attention, recognition, and respect of man, then we’ve already decided to live a life of fear of man. The Chainsmoker’s’ song, “Kanye,” is less an answer to this common fear, and more an ode to the idea of being free from it.
Kanye may be a fitting metaphor, but he’s no god. We’re a generation looking for freedom, but too often it seems we look to wrong places for answer. Being on top of the world sounds like the solution, but that’s a carrot we’ll never catch. Instead of trying to be a god, we might be better off getting to know God.
5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”