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A Man's Debate: What If These Musicians Didn’t Back Away When The Lights Were Brightest?

Image via Getty

We know that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are two of the biggest celebrities on the planet — and, not so shockingly, it's probably why they ended up together — but we have to wonder if Kanye West's music suffered because of it? Was it too much to handle for Kanye?

For whatever reasons, artistry is fragile. The raw emotions a person sympathizes with are the same catalyst that brings their favorite artist down into a dark place. Mental illness is something that doesn’t escape people because of fame. As a matter of fact, it’s been a factor in destroying numerous icons, while tearing them down at their peak. When they’re gone, it leaves us wondering all these unanswerable questions. What happened? Where did they go wrong? And the all mighty question of 'What if...?'

What If Kanye West And Kim Kardashian Never Would Have Dated?

Kanye West is, by far, our most flawed living icon. He transcended hip hop — revolutionizing the sneaker game and creating a new generation of kids to express themselves in various ways. And he did it all while wifing up a sex tape vixen gone reality star, Kim Kardashian.

The guy does the sh*t that we all wish we could do, and says whatever the hell he wants to. For that, he has been called insane for a long time, since way before Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were a thing. We've been looking at Kanye a little side eyed for a while now. Probably since he blurted out on a national broadcast that, "George Bush hates black people", in what would become one of the most awkward TV moments of all0time. But, since linking up with Kimmy K, it's been a downward spiral leading into the Saint Pablo tour. 

If you're reading this, chances are high that you saw the breakdown first hand. The ugly. The paranoia. The insanity. Now, I'm not going to blame Kim Kardashian or say her famous last name carries a strange curse, but, chances are, if he wasn’t with her, he probably really could run for president in 2020.

What if Andre 3000 From Outkast Didn't Burn Out?

Andre 3000 was cut from a different cloth. When he and Big Boi hit the scene as the two-man group Outkast from Atlanta, it was clear that Andre 3000 had that X-factor. Something was different about him. Outkast were the first real southern rappers to break through into the mainstream, and, from there, over the course of five albums, they were able to revolutionize hip hop. The leading force behind that movement was the creative vision of Andre 3000.

Together, they were able to dive in flawlessly between child rearing, drug dealing, racial politics, technophobia, gypsies, aliens and the end of the world. But alone, Big Boi was never able to shake the same sentiments as the pimp without the poet. Their genre-bending sound came to a close in 2003 with the release of their last studio album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

Even Andre 3000 will admit that he never wanted to be a 40-year-old rapper. Why he bowed out, no one really knows. Waning interest, different ambitions or maybe he just ran out of things to say? He was pulled into clothing and acting and all the pressure of constantly reinventing himself might have finally caught up to him. A person can only reinvent themselves so many times before they're a shell of what they started out as. If Andre 3000 could have kept his energy, southern rap might be something completely different than the trap music we have today.

What If The Spotlight Didn't Blind Lauryn Hill? 

In 1998, Lauryn Hill released a Grammy-crushing record and an instant classic, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Off the heels of a mega-classic with The Fugees, Lauryn Hill had a lot to prove to her fans and herself that she could make it as a solo artist. The combination of her, Pras and Wyclef in The Fugees turned out to be a global sensation, with Wyclef's genius on full display. Something rubbed Lauryn wrong about that, and her strained relationship with Wyclef wore on her physically and emotionally, setting her out to prove the naysayers wrong.

Lauryn Hill's story is the type that deserves a book, not a few paragraphs. From the time she left The Fugees, there seemed to be a growing and consuming sense that she was being exploited, making her shy away from fame. She had the industry at her doorsteps with scripts and roles and record deals, but all Lauryn Hill did was push them away. Turn them down.

Even today, Hill will still speak of a new album coming, but never commit to a date. The consummate perfectionist, she never truly followed up the Miss Education album that set the summer of ’98 on fire. And for all her greatness, her empowering ownership of feminism and blackness, her voice that could send shivers down your spine, the lights just shined too bright on Lauryn Hill. And, it’s a shame, because she could have been bigger than any pop star that’s ever walked the earth.

Now, what your taste in music says about you is something we've all wondered about, too. But, we can't help but wonder if Kanye West and Kim Kardashian never meeting would have led to more music for all of us to love, rather than him get distracted and fall into the fame game? We may never know.

Lead image via Getty.

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