In 2013, Kanye West sat opposite Radio 1 presenter/human bidet Zane Lowe and proclaimed himself the “number one rockstar on the planet” to some mild tittering from fans of alleged "real music". Cut to 27th June 2015 and, during his headline slot in front of tens of thousands at the Glastonbury main stage, he said it again. Somewhere on Merseyside, Miles Kane did a quick check of his pulse.
It's a statement that not a lot of people can understand (including my own mother who, by the way, thought Kanye West was Shania Twain), as there’s a huge difference between someone who plays ‘rock’ music and someone who is a rock star. It goes like this...
A rock star is sublimely talented, an absolute showman. Obnoxious, outspoken and arrogant, they push the boundaries of their genre, they’re total party animals, become bigger than the music they make, are extravagant to a fault and they usually date/marry/divorce supermodels or actresses. What part of this isn't just describing Kanye West?
West is the most important, progressive, brave and forward-thinking hip-hop artist since NWA. While UK indie music stagnates in the same tepid stool-water of platitudes from walking haircuts, and American mainstream rock follows the same 4/4-chord structure, hip-hop thrives. It is the new rock and roll, they are the new rock stars, and West is, indeed, bigger than Yeezus.
Here are seven rockstars that Kanye West is definitely more rockstar than – for all you “real music” fans out there still struggling with the concept.
7. Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl – rock’s nice guy – has been lauded lately on social media as one of the world’s greatest rock stars, seemingly for breaking his leg. The man who sat on a throne made of guitars and talked at length about his brittle bones is now the stalwart of rawk, having made a career off the back of being one of the greatest drummers of the twentieth century, before foolishly ditching the sticks to go predictably from minor to major key in every damn chorus.
The dynamic front man of one of the worst named bands in history; the toothy dress-up fiend does, to many fans, embody the very spirit of rock, without actually ticking any of the aforementioned boxes. Granted, the Foos have some straight up bangers, but have you ever seen a group of Foo Fighters fans together? It’s a harrowing scene. A seraglio of men and women in their early forties, all in matching t-shirts, shrieking at each other and high fiving vigorously, wallet chains a’ jangling.
Davey gets an honourary mention, simply because Kanye’s headline slot at Glastonbury only seemed to further incense those brokenhearted by the Foos’ absence. A famous person – a ‘star’, if you will – who plays rock music. Not a rock star.