First off, Peace to the God MC, I’m posting this as a soundtrack to allow for a particular mind-state. Ok, now to the subject at hand… first for your perusal check out this con-spiracy thread from @Snowcone965 over on de Twitter. Take from it what you will. Click on the image to get the full thread.

I admire the illumination that was provided in this thread in regards to the Easter Eggs hiding in plain sight. Now before you all blow up the comments section with your “Well, actually…” and missives on the danger to the “Community” this reckless behavior that Kanye West is engaging in blah, blah, blah talk, please realize what the spirit of this post is all about: A Provocateur and how they show up in art and ultimately entertainment.

There are two life lessons that I have continued to carry with me from my youth:

1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain (which I’ve always taken to mean always know that there’s a curtain, with someone pulling strings so pay attention)

2. Life is just like Pro Wrestling with good guys and bad guys. Whatever side you fall on that day, make sure you don’t get held down for a three count in the one fall ten-minute time limit that you’re given.

Now I haven’t been giving a whole lot of energy to Kanye (hell to Social Media in general but that’s a whole other topic for another day), but because we’re all cool like that I will give you my take (which deals more so with some of the actors as opposed to the entire play which @Snowcone965 so eloquently lined out). I’m not an expert, but I’ve always had an ability to connect dots.

I’m a longtime listener of Charlamagne’s podcast “The Brilliant Idiots” . I don’t agree with everything he and his co-host Andrew Schulz put out there, but it’s definitely an entertaining listen as they constantly wrestle with ideas that run counter to what is often deemed as politically/socially correct (whatever that concept means).

I give this bit of background information because it all ties-in to several weeks ago when Kanye first showed back up on Twitter. At that time there was a “TMZ Sighting” of Charlamagne at Kanye’s studio blah, blah, blah, and when he returned to the show the following week he stated that they just sat around and listened to some tracks (Translation: They recorded the in-depth interview that showed up this week on Kanye’s YouTube Channel) that Kanye was working on. If you listen to “The Brilliant Idiots” a lot you will inevitably hear them mention Van, yes the same Van Lathan that showed up in the widely shared TMZ video where Van challenged Kanye’s diatribe with, as the kids say, #Facts. Charlagmane and Andrew at times on the show have also have let the curtain back on how TMZ works. Van has been known to source Charlagmane for “tips” etc., but the other side of that equation is the admittance that a lot of “stars” that are “surprised” by TMZ called TMZ themselves to let them know when their flight was coming in or when they would be at a particular restaurant.

So to me, it’s all pro-wrestling. Good guys and bad guys. I can’t assess the state of Kanye’s mental health (there are literally hundreds of thousands of clinical psychiatrists on Twitter who have taken up that job pro-bono), but if I were a betting man (which I’m really not) I’d take “I’m narcissistic and I’m putting out some new music and this is an attention economy so I need some currency for $1000, Alex.” Continuing with the pro-wrestling analogy, in this climate in order for you to be a bad guy, you have to be incredibly outrageous because the bar that has been set means taking your cues from the chief idiot sorta kinda in charge (God help us), and we know who that is.

When I was a kid, I watched wrestling every Saturday at noon without fail. I hated the bad guys. One bad guy I hated above all the rest, but I couldn’t stop looking at him and hanging on every bad word he said. That was none other than Ric Flair. When I turned 12 years old, one of my best friends had started working on a news show for kids that was based in Charlotte, NC. When I was down there visiting my grandma for the summer, we got together and he asked me if I wanted to go see a taping of World Wide Wrestling. Without a doubt!!! As we were riding to the television studio, he and I had a “Please pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” moment. My friend informed me that the Good Guys and Bad Guys were actual friends in real life. To prove it to me he told me that when we got into the studio to look up to this staging area where all the wrestlers would hang and eat before they would run out, hit each other with chairs, or come off the top rope. Sure enough, I looked up when we were in the studio and who did I see? “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys” all sitting around eating chicken, drinking soda (this was 1982) laughing and at the appointed time they would run out and take their positions as “enemies.”

I can’t say for certain, but I think Charlagmane, Kanye, Van and on down the line know what the score is here and are playing their roles very well. The only proof that’s needed is the amount of attention that has been paid. If somehow Kanye West comes out of this with a championship belt, the only appropriate response might be this…

Ric Flair

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.