I ride the train every day and I see so many people just consuming content. Be it whatever they do on their Blackberry or iPhone or book or the local paper. I always smile when I see someone crocheting on the train.
We are a consumer society. I think, most of us, as developers and designers are especially privileged in the sense that we can bring form to thoughts - bring them into actuality.
To create is to be happier. Yes, it's good to watch the occasional TV show - but if you're just sitting there consuming content all day, it's a net trade deficit for you in the long run.
Thank you for posting Kanye West's heartfelt paen on creativity and the impermanence of life.
If you have not ever seen this, Ira Glass of This American Life on 'making stuff even when you know it sucks'. The power of persistence.
I don't think it's quite that bleak. The trick is that we only create in a small handful of arenas. So most of what we have in common with one another, most of what we do, is consume other people's productions.
But that guy passively consuming on the train might have a woodshop at home and could be reading about woodcraft and fueling his passion even as he consumes.
That guy on the blackberry could be exchanging recipes to further his own.
And who knows what might be going through the mind of the guy reading the paper. Perhaps you've just caught him during his 'offline, recharge' time. Where he steps back to broaden his awareness to stimulate new ideas.
Frankly, you have to take a pessimistic, judgmental (borderline-misanthropic) view of anyone not actively creating at any given moment to decide that most people do nothing but consume.
I'm sure the stereotypical mindless consumers exist. But I know that even creative people go through phases of their life that are like that.
But that's how it is with passion. If you don't have it, there's no sense trying to force a craft.
I don't think it is a bad thing that we may be a consumer society.
And you are correct in that observing people passively on the train without asking them about themselves is a biased filter.
In my biased worldview, I do believe strongly that most people are happier consuming content vs the pain and joy of producing original content (for example, the creative army behind a hit series like 'Big Love'). Personally, I am happiest when I am making something (whether it be a homemade crappy non-Hallmark but sentimental birthday card or some Cocoa code for an upcoming iPhone app). And it is very, very easy for my addictive personality to sit on the couch and surf on the iPhone until the battery low warning.
On a tangent, is why I believe Facebook/Twitter/et al. are positive - they allow people to share bits of their interests/lives.
Note: A few of the best conversations I have ever had have been with random strangers (non-regulars) on the train/airplane about their lives
There is definitely something more to people who create, as well as consume. Whether they be a knitter, gardener, musician or developer.
That's what we all have to do. Not just keep repeating the same shit in slightly different forms, but go somewhere else and do something new.
You can't know what you don't know till you've been somewhere you haven't ever been.
But, as you can imagine, most rappers don't do a concept album all about the girl who broke his heart.
If you listen to music outside of the mainstream (yes, even rap), 808s and Heartbreak doesn't seem like that original or impressive of an album, and there are works by other artists that are far less appreciated or noticed but could make bigger impacts both musically and socially. I do, however, really enjoy a few of the songs on that album, and I think Kanye is an inspiring person even if he can be a total douche.
He could have made another album like Graduation and sold 10 times the records 808 did. If you want to gain some respect for Kanye, go download the Graduation album and listen to it start to finish. Not only is it great, but it is very introspective and self-critical.
How could you be so Dr. Evil
You're bringing out a side of me that I don't know
I decided we weren't gonna speak so why we up 3 a.m. on the phone
Why does she be so mad at me for, homie I don't know she's hot and cold
I won't stop, won't mess my groove up cause I already know how this thing goes,
You run and tell your friends that you're leavin' me
They say that they don't see what you see in me
You wait a couple months then you gon' see,
You'll never find nobody better than me
It's pure poetry. Never matched or surpassed. He's truly the Bob Dylan of our times.
Kayne, as a producer, does great work. His lyrics are usually good. (I'm not a fan of Misogynist hits like Kanye's Workout Plan or Golddigger, but hey.) But Bob Dylan?
(Admitting to knowing and liking hip-hop is probably instant disqualification for any future YC application. :)
And this is magically topical, since in my mind it reinforces that Kanye may be a great producer, but even Jay says, "If skills sold / Truth be told / I'd probably be / Lyrically / Talib Kweli."
Autotune. He also assembled a team of people hipper than himself to do research and development for him. In this way he's similar to contemporary artists like murakami, hirst and koons in that he's more of a manager, while his employees do the work of figuring out what's hip and helping him incorporate that into his music, videos and fashion sense.
Auto-Tune was also used to produce the prominent altered vocal effect on Cher's "Believe," recorded in 1998. When first interviewed about this, the sound engineers claimed that they had used a vocoder, in what Sound on Sound perceived as an attempt to preserve a trade secret. After the massive success of "Believe," many artists imitated the technique. It was evident in songs of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Some notable examples are Gigi D'Agostino's "La Passion" and Janet Jackson's US #1 hit "All For You," among many others. After years of relative dormancy, the effect was revived in the mid-2000s by R&B singer T-Pain, who elaborated on the effect in contemporary popular music by making active use of it in his songs, a style that has since gone on to be imitated by numerous other R&B and pop artists such as Kanye West and, more recently, Jamie Foxx in his hit song, "Blame It".
Personally, I think the hordes of talentless R&B "singers" using auto-tune have completely destroyed its creative potential. I cringe every time I hear it.
But, yeah, someone should clue him up on @font-face or something g I appreciate the crazy typography sometimes, but being able to copy and paste it is always nice..
Music is so nostalgic. Every song I listen to brings me back to when I first played them for my mom, when I first played from for Dame, when I first played them Jay, when I first played them for Kweli, when I first played them for my niggas back in Chi, when the album first came out, when I first called Ebro from Hot 97 and begged him to play through the wire, when DJ Pharris blew me up in the Chi.
We used to be the niggas rocking polo shirts, Louie back packs, paper denim jeans, and exclusive Adidas from Sporty LA. We were the underdogs. I never feel like I'm not the underdog. I never felt completely comfortable. I'm tormented by the need to create. With the loss of McQueen I feel like we lost one of those faces of modern creativity's Mount Rushmore.
There were times that the only thing that kept me on this earth was the need and responsibility to create. Maybe McQueen felt his job was done because his last collection was the greatest of the decade. We are all so hurt. I know we're selfish because he brought us so much joy and inspiration.
I know how it feels when the night demons come. We can't let them control our hands and feet. Sometimes when it hurts so bad we have to just lay in the bed. Just lay in bed and don't move please, I know how it feels. I wish McQueen could have just been still. Don't let the psychiatrists give you their drugs because it slows down your wings. Society and public opinion can beat the wings off of angels. When god sees they can't take it anymore he brings them back home.
During this new album process sometimes I turn the music up and drink and cry. When something sounds so amazing and ground breaking I'm reminded of why I live. I drink the pain of now 2 generations and breathe our melodies and messages. The music keeps us alive.
I was blessed with the opportunity to bring my and others dreams to life. It's like performing magic or something. It's surreal. We bring the unrealistic to reality. “Go hard, go hard, go hard” echoes in my dreams. When I wake up and brush my teeth and look in the mirror it's like I see Michael and my mom and Malcolm. Who's that African in the background mom? Oh he created the original layouts for the pyramids but was written out the history books and his MTV award was given to “aliens”.
There's no such thing as fact anymore, only opinion. The closest thing we have to fact is “common opinion”. Everything is an opinion. The way you dress is an expression of your opinion. Your religious beliefs are your opinion. The music you turn up loud is your opinion. For most people it's easier to just agree. For me the hardest thing is to 'just' agree and that is what sparks creativity, the feeling that something can be better, the feeling that something's missing. The feeling that something's needed.
His last show: http://www.alexandermcqueen.com/int/en/corporate/archive2010...
Really - it almost works as Beat Poetry.
"For me the hardest thing is to 'just' agree and that is what sparks creativity, the feeling that something can be better, the feeling that something's missing, the feeling that something's needed."
I like the idea that creativity isn't just about creating something in a void -- it's about having a strong viewpoint and the taste to know how things should be.
This essay actually betrays a vulnerability; it reveals a Heiligenstadt Testament-like calling. I, for one, am impressed.
There's an old legend where I live, in the Czech Republic, of a fire bird. The hero sees the bird and his horse tells him, "If we turn around right now, you'll have a nice life, a quiet, happy life... but if you capture that bird, you'll cry and you'll suffer, and your life will be an amazing adventure." The horse begs him to chose the former, but of course, the hero's journey is the latter.
A lot of artists, however, try to explore and express something about the human experience. That kind of creativity demands vulnerability, because you have to be sensitive and introspective enough to be able to channel that emotion into some kind of medium.
What he wrote is interesting. He reminds me of the music industry's Andy Warhol.
Do you seriously think Stevie Wonder sits around reading Kanye West's site? :-)
He's the Steve Jobs of Hip Hop.
i know your not gonna name your album this but this would be cool if you named it “IMA LET YOU FINISH”
But if you listen to his first two albums, "The College Dropout" and "Late Registration", and compare it to what was being released at the time, you find something completely different.
In addition to the new sound (summary: sped up soul samples), he came with emotion as well as acceptance of his being a upper/middle-class guy (his mom was a college professor) while others would try to masquerade as gangsters.
Basically, what he did was bring relevant hip-hop to the mainstream, showing suburban kids, college students and yuppies that you can relate to rap music without having to act like someone else.
Then again, maybe it's the shutter shades.
It's a bit like economic motivation in capitalism. If someone's greed for money leads to them doing great things to make money (hiring people and redistributing wealth in the process) then that "greed" is considered good, from a capitalist point of view.
In the same way, Kanye routinely admits he has a massive ego, and I think that if that ego and pride leads to him doing some great work (even if he says some stupid shit from to time) then it's worth it. It's not like he's running drugs, touching kids, screwing taxpayers out of money, or whatever.. being an ass and jumping on stages is a small inconvenience for what he brings to the world.
Your answer makes sense, I rarely listen to rap music.
Ed: oh, and I don't live in US either, so maybe is a cultural thing.
If those "niggas" are the underdogs, what should we call the "niggas" dying in Haiti?
On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.
What is creativity? Where does it come from?