Kanye West made a triumphant return to Twitter this week and, so far, it’s going swimmingly. The rapper, Yeezy designer, and famous husband had quit the platform last year, not long after defending his transitional meeting with President Trump “to discuss multicultural issues”… and years of filling his feed with shameless self-promotion (“This is not album of the year. This is album of the life,” he said in 2016), virtual Broadway stage door-ing (“Who’s seen the play Wicked? I’ve seen it 4 times! Other than loving the music acting and costumes… it’s my story!!!) and occasional grumpy “get off my lawn” missives, obviously, because he’s a dad now (“Fuck any game that puts in-app purchases on kids’ games”).
This week—maybe because he was bored on Sunday night, maybe because he was brimming with 140-character philosophical gems, we may never know—West reappeared on Twitter, shouting-out his favorite two-year-old Saint Pablo concert tee, his ex-brother-in-law Lamar Odom (in somewhat curious timing, just as his sister-in-law Khloe Kardashian was about to give birth), and, because why not, revealing the design for a forthcoming neck tattoo honoring his son, Saint, which was designed for him by streetwear savant Gosha Rubchinsky.
West has also returned to his special brand of Stuart Smalley-style Deep Thoughts. “Some people have to work within the existing consciousness while some people can shift the consciousness,” West tweeted on Sunday. Yesterday produced another affirmation of sorts, one not far off from those revealed in The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, currently on Netflix, actually: “be transparent as possible. Stop setting plays. Stop playing chess with life. Make decisions based on love not fear.” In the immortal words of C + C Music Factory: “Things that make you go hmmm.”
Decoding Kanye’s more cryptic Twitter musings has quickly become, once more, America’s favorite pastime. For example, when he tweets, “Sometimes you have to get rid of everything,” is he Swedish death cleaning, or purging his life of toxic people?
Even Kim Kardashian West is in on the act of close-reading, tweeting back (and apparently gently mocking) her husband:
“Wait…EVERYTHING?!?!?!” (The couple’s friend and resident Queen of Twitter Chrissy Teigen replied, “I have an air mattress here and I have been itching to bust it out if you need.”)
All of this random, reflexive, high-profile tweeting by a famous man communicating directly with his vast following… where ever have we seen this before? Yes, there are parallels to President Trump’s feed, though West hasn’t used his 140 characters to threaten nuclear war (yet). But life in the bleak, bullying Trump-dominated Twitter era (because Twitter won’t cancel him, even though it should) actually only makes Kanye’s comeback that much more welcome. He’s a reminder that Twitter doesn’t have to be a tool for firing people, or banning trans people in the military: it can still be a happy place where eccentric celebrities live-tweet their sneaker designs at all hours of the day and night. If Trump is the disease, could Kanye be the antidote?