Kanye West has spent most of 2018 dealing with the fallout of his controversial statements. Now, however, it seems the prolific rapper is back to focusing on his music career. West hit up the legendary Bob Dylan on Twitter on Wednesday, suggesting that the two work together on some new music. “Calling out to Bob Dylan let’s get together,” he wrote.
West didn’t provide any further details on the potential collaboration, but he’s spoken about his appreciation for Dylan in the past. In a 2007 interview with Rolling Stone, the rapper said that his music reminds people of the way that Dylan writes, and that the comparison urged him to listen more intently to the songwriter’s catalogue. “I need to get more into Dylan’s music,” he was quoted as saying. West has since been compared to Dylan several times over the course of his career.
West & Bob Dylan Have Often Been Compared In Terms of Impact & Controversy
A Reddit thread created by user @Strangers_pilgrims drew parallels between the way that West has polarized his fans in recent years and the way that Dylan pivot from folk to electric guitar bothered listeners back in the 1960s. “I don’t know if Kanye has a lot to say about Bob Dylan,” the user wrote. “But I bet he’d be right up the dudes alley, as far as ideological inquisitiveness goes.” Read the full thread here.
In 2015, a few years after West’s most controversial release, Yeezus, a survey was taken that compared the lyrical breadth of Bob Dylan to some of today’s most successful rap artists. The research showed that several rapper, West included, used more words than Dylan. The subsequent response from music writers and fans led to several different essays comparing the artist and the impact that they have had on their respective generations.
Paul McCartney Likened West to a Poet ‘Like Bob Dylan’ During a 2015 Interview
Paul McCartney, who has been a peer of Dylan since the 1960s, further illuminated the comparison during an interview with NME. When asked about going to Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne concert, the former Beatle said: “I was expecting it to be, ‘Oh it’s great, it’s hip-hop, it’s loud…’, but I hadn’t until then got the urban poetry aspect. Like, Bob Dylan is a poet. And so is Jay-Z, and Kanye.”
McCartney also represents something of a precedent for West in terms of collaborating with rock legends. They released a trio of songs together, including “Only One”, “All Day” and “Four Five Seconds”; the latter of which featured Rihanna and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Watch the music video below. If the collaboration actually comes to fruition, its unclear whether the songs would be released individually, like McCartney’s, or as part of West’s upcoming studio album Yandhi.