David Bowie would probably have been flattered by a Kanye West tribute album

We should be celebrating artists who share Bowie's will toward cultural disruption, not signing useless petitions against them

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The Independent Culture

In spite of the rumours being almost certainly bullsh*t (I for one doubt that The Daily Star has sources in Kanye West’s inner circle), thousands of people boringly flocked to a predictable petition this week seeking to “ban” the rapper from giving his own take on David Bowie’s material.

“It would be sacrilege,” petitioners whined, as if a man who delighted in reinvention would have been bothered by his work spawning more of it following his death.

Covers/remixes are frequently dull and superfluous, and there might not be a person alive who could do Bowie’s oeuvre justice, but would Bowie have been bothered by Kanye giving it a go? No:

David Bowie liked hip-hop, specifically West’s latest collaborator, Kendrick Lamar

"For his new album ★, “we were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar,” his long-serving producer Tony Visconti told Rolling Stone.

“We wound up with nothing like that, but we loved that Kendrick was so open-minded and that he didn’t do a straight-up hip-hop record [To Pimp A Butterfly].

“He threw everything on there, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. The goal, in many, many ways, was to avoid rock & roll.”

Kendrick’s influence is clear in the wounding brass lines in the album, and ‘not doing a straight-up hip-hop record’ and ‘throwing everything on there’ are definitely traits of Kanye’s too, from the furious and subversive Yeezus to the paradigm-shifting 808s and Heartbreak.

Hell, Bowie's friend Lou Reed found Yeezus "Majestic and inspiring".

Kanye paid Bowie proper respect, which I’m sure he would have appreciated

Ye has done a good job reworking other rock musician’s work in the past

He sampled King Crimson, made great use of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon on vocal hooks, and once did a really bloody pleasant cover of Thom Yorke:

Bowie has been sampled countless times in hip-hop

J Dilla, Public Enemy, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Jay Z, MF Doom, Death Grips and El-P have all used snippets of track, for which they would have been granted permission.

Kanye generally gives zero f*cks, and neither did Bowie

If anyone’s going to make a David Bowie tribute album (N.B. I still don’t think anyone should) who could be more fitting than Kanye? A man who has taken huge risks, who reevaluates his own work, persona and artistic goals on a near daily basis and who seems driven by a desire to shake things up?

They share an obsession with creativity. I’ll leave you with these two quotes.

‘I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring.’ - David Bowie

‘I have no interest in working with anyone who is too important or too good or too traditional to take a call at 3am. - Kanye West