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I Guess… | On Lauryn Hill critics and Kanye West sympathizers

Kanye's outbursts don't somehow forgive Lauryn's negligence of her disappointed fans, but it does shed a light on the selective understanding as it pertains to our heroes.

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'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.

There's a cloud of disappointment hanging over Kanye West—sorry, "Ye"—fans for so many reasons. For one, his apparently anticipated Yandhi project has now been pushed back to Black Friday (November 23) after Ye originally promised its arrival on September 29. The rumored 8-track work carries a title that's presumably loosely borrowing the Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi's name and, like every Kanye West release, his legion of fans are hoping it's his "best work yet." Kanye is planning to head to Africa to record the project that was supposedly already completed.

On Saturday night, we watched as Kanye danced around on the Saturday Night Live stage dressed as a bottle of Perrier. We heard his rant in support of Donald Trump, including the outtakes. We (yet again) saw that damn MAGA hat. He went on to sport it once more on his Instagram account Sunday morning, taking the "Make America Great Again" credo and giving it a connotation of "love."

I regret enjoying the six posts on his IG before it vomited into this thing it's become. Ye then traipsed on over to Twitter to chat about himself and his love movement, met with responses of "WHERE IS YANDHI THOUGH?" For every commenter that challenged Kanye's strange belief system (including his twisted ideas on the 13th Amendment), there were three suggesting we "give him a chance" and "listen to him" because "he has a right to his opinion." This was all chased with more demands for the music, as the biggest disappointment Kanye has shown his fans as of late is not his support of Trump, but his delay of delivering yet another mini-album. Oh, and Kanye West canceled "cancel culture" over Twitter, so apparently he can't leave now. He called it, so it's set in stone.

Meanwhile, just yesterday I saw someone post that Lauryn Hill just showed up to Aretha Franklin's funeral—a tired right hook to the dead horse criticisms that Lauryn Hill shows up late to her concerts, if at all. More jokes ensued last week upon learning that Ms. Hill racked up a $400,000 American Express bill and is facing a lawsuit. "Crazy" has been the word frequently used to describe her since her sporadic hiatuses following the release of 1998's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Now listen, I am not asking everyone to absolve Lauryn Hill from her fan-perceived sins. As a die-hard fan of hers, I personally feel she owes us nothing. I think if you show up to her concert, she may be late. She may also cancel her show. It is what it is. Do I think Lauryn Hill is crazy? No. Do I think Kanye West is crazy? No. I do think he's mentally unstable, but basks in the glory of his mental health diagnosis, which is far worse than any missed concert L-Boogie may throw our way, because boasting that sickness isn't normalizing it when it's followed by patterns of destructive behavior.

West fans may bark back with a list of Kanye West albums lined up next to Lauryn Hill's one as proof that at least he cares and is using his ills for creativity. There's College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (the four projects most Kanye fans regard as classics). For Hill, there's Miseducation and maybe The Score if we want to bend the rules (though I still argue that her Unplugged album was great in content and forecasted a lot of the current political landscape).

Both Kanye and Lauryn have endured trauma in their lives; Lauryn primarily hid during it (though Miseducation was certainly a product of trauma) while Kanye created through it and still does. The preferred route is a moot point because who can call that? But due to Kanye's consistent visibility, he's managed to somehow bypass any significant backlash. So it changes the conversation around him versus the one around Lauryn Hill, when in reality the toxic energy that he spews into the ether eclipses anything that Lauryn has or hasn't done in the name of her career. Maybe that's just my opinion, but if you feel personally victimized by whatever Donald Trump has said and done over the course of his months/year-plus in office, then you agree that Kanye West's support of him is a problem masked in a costume called "love."

But by all means, continue to wait for Yandhi because, after all, artists' sins are washed away by their next release. Maybe every Lauryn Hill joke meme would fade away if she would release a follow-up to her classic solo debut album. Maybe not, because women don't get those kinds of chances in the spotlight. I mean, look at who often gets blamed for Kanye West's shortcomings: Kim Kardashian. He was like this before her, and he'll be like this after her. Trust.

I'm sure some Kanye West fan will read this and feel that it's harshly slanted in Lauryn Hill's favor, and they'll be right, because the number of chances Kanye West receives to constantly fail upward are drastically unfair compared to the sparse few thrown Lauryn Hill's way. Kanye's outbursts don't somehow forgive Lauryn's negligence of her disappointed fans, but it does shed a light on the selective understanding as it pertains to our heroes.

Maybe Kanye West apologists will think twice before throwing a rock at Lauryn Hill from their glass concert hall, since their hero is so flawed. Maybe I'll stop being so annoyed at Kanye because a lot of people are still upset at Lauryn. I doubt it either will happen, but if Lauryn Hill can't get a pass, then neither can Kanye. Fair is fair. I hope Yandhi is worth it for you. There was a time when the wait would have been worth it for me, but those days are long gone.

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