"Look, he’s not my kind of a guy. This is a grown man that’s got earrings. This is a grown man who wears his hat sideways. This is a guy who wears pink T-shirts. This guy wouldn’t make it 12 minutes in my neighborhood." Some Hispanic Guy
It goes without saying, I am a terrible party guest. I'm loud, obnoxious, and I nearly always end up dancing like David Byrne near the beer pong table. But my biggest party flaw is my propensity for getting in loud, all encompassing arguments about entirely unimportant issues. I try to fight the urge, but certain opinions just bring the dickhead out of me. I can't even say how often I've found myself drunk in a random kitchen heatedly arguing the evils of Starbucks (there coffee tastes burnt, they try to mass produce culture) with a non-discriminating plebeian. But Kanye West is the one topic likely to come up in a party that I just can't help but argue in favor of.
I just can't wrap my head around the idea that there are people out there who don't see this man's genius. He is, simply put, the best thing happening in mainstream culture right now. His vision, his focus, his style, and yes even his ego are unparalleled. If Anderson Silva was ever brought up in parties its pretty safe to say I'd ruin a few friendships in his honor as well. Well it turns out their much maligned careers have more in common with each other than just my slobbering fan boyisms. They have actually had very similar career trajectories.
"Ain't no love"
Anderson's most ridiculous moment in the cage happened even before he penned a deal with the UFC. It happened back in 2006 with his otherworldly back elbow on Tony Fryklund back when he was fighting under the Cage Rage banner. After this fight it became obvious Anderson was capable of doing things no MMA fan had ever seen before. Same goes for Kanye. Before he dropped the decade defining classic (yes I said decade defining. Deal with it.) College Dropout he was mixing beats in his basement. He produced the classics "Heart of the City" and "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" for Jigga's Blueprint. Both Anderson and Ye set the stage for what was coming next.
"They don't want me in the damn club/ I even need to show ID to get inside the Sam's Club"
Once their quality was proven to those paying attention, they needed to hit a wider audience. The next step for Kanye was 2004's College Dropout. Safe to say, "Jesus Walks" was a pervasive single blasting on MTV and frat boy's speakers across the nation. You just couldn't escape that shit. Kanye had finally arrived. In Anderson's UFC debut, Silva did the same. Before the fight Chris Leben made comments that Anderson might not be ready for the level of competition he would face in the UFC. Its safe to say that after the fight Leben felt differently. What happened can conservatively be described as an annihilation. I, personally, am amazed Leben is still eating solid foods.
"A hip hop legend/ I must have died in an accident because this must be heaven"
Next came the takeover. Kanye proved in his sophomore album Late Registration that he was a consistent hit maker dropping "Gold Digger," "Hey Mama," and "Touch the Sky" in the nation's collective awe-stricken faces. In Anderson's very next fight he did the same. In only his second fight with the promotion, Anderson received a title shot and he proceed to knee Rich Franklin's face concave. And then, 1 year and two dominating wins later he did it again. The message was clear, Anderson wasn't a flash in the pan. He was a motherfuckin headliner.
"Imma get on the TV Mama"
Kanye's next album was draped in hubris and stadium status bangers. Graduation's critics have always described it as an hour long self fellate fest, but it is also an undeniably great album. Masterfully produced by Jon Brion, Kanye's word play was at its very best. And the one shot Spike Jonze directed video for "Flashing Lights" was a work of goddamned art. Anderson had a similar stretch of fights here. He was untouchable, in fact, I'm not even sure if he was touched. He cut through a Henderson who was supposed to be his toughest test, knocked a 205 pound James Irvin unconscious, and embarrassed Forrest Griffin so badly he didn't show his face for months afterward. But Anderson was also beset by arrogance in this era. He opted to not even justify what he felt as lesser challenges in Thales Leites and Patrick Cote with a hard fought win. He merely coasted.
"My friend show me pictures of his kids/ and all I can do is show him pictures of my cribs"
In the next stage of their careers Kanye and Anderson both let emotions dictate them and received their harshest criticisms yet. Kanye released what will forever be remembered as his "emo" album. Beset by the death of his mother and a breakup that he took worse than Mike Thomas Brown, he released an industrial auto-tuned whine that nobody in the world likely appreciated as much as he did. Anderson spit slurs and stiff jabs and Demian Maia for three rounds, only to moonwalk away from him for the other two of them. Both Kanye and Anderson really only seemed interested in entertaining themselves. But beside that fact, both the Maia fight and 808s and Heartbreaks are not without their merits. In the first few rounds of the Maia fight, Anderson displayed some elite striking technique, and in 808s and Heartbreaks Kanye showed some raw pathos that had been missing from his music since College Dropout.
"Everybody Knows I'm a Motherfucking Monster"
Going into their next projects, Kanye and Anderson's public stock was never lower. Anderson because he spit more slurs than Chael Sonnen in his last fight, and Kanye because he really likes Beyonce. For four and a half rounds, things only got worse for Anderson. His rib was broken and he was consistently taken down. Going into the fifth round Anderson was lower than he ever had been in his career. But still, Anderson found a way to come through adversity and get the sub. He fought through the low point right back to the top. Kanye, looks to be doing the same. His VMA and SNL performance were vintage Kanye. His G.O.O.D. Friday series has been consistently dropping solid tracks every friday, and if "Runaway" the "Lost In The World" are any indication, his new album is going to be badass.
(Another couple comparisons that don't really fit my structure: Kanye: Jay Z:: Anderson: Big Nog. Kanye: Thom Yorke:: Anderson :Bj.)