Until about three years ago, I was very much a Two Door Cinema Club kind of person. I liked the kind of guitar bands you’d find on the FIFA soundtrack, the kind that made good background music for looking out the window of the bus.

Without wishing to sound too dramatic, that all changed around the end of 2013. I was in the bar at uni with some friends and someone came in with their laptop – I don’t remember who – and said something like ‘Guys look at this Kanye West music video.’ Then all of a sudden we’re watching and it’s the landscapes and the horses and the piano and Kanye is on the motorbike with Kim in front of that shitty background. And the whole thing sounds a bit slow and disjointed, like there’s too much going on and none of it fits together quite right.

It was pretty funny at the time. I watched it a few more times over the next couple days and found myself saying ‘uh huh honey’ under my breath. I downloaded the song onto my phone, got bored of it about a month later and went searching for other Kanye songs. And that was pretty much that for my Two Door Cinema Club days.

‘Stronger’ was the big one for me in those days. That’s the song I’d always return to. I’d heard it before but only played out loud through the phone of a kid I really envied in middle school. He was cooler than me even though he was in the year below which felt like a real injustice. But I don’t think it was resentment alone that stopped me from liking the song back then. I think fear played a role too. It was loud and angry and distorted, and in those days I’d never even listened to The Killers because their name sounded scary.

You probably know that Friedrich Nietzsche was the first to say ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger.’ What you might not know is that back in 2012 Kanye’s legal team actually cited Nietzsche in order to get a copyright lawsuit dismissed. They argued that Kanye didn’t get the idea for the chorus from Vincent Peters but from the nineteenth-century German nihilist himself.

It was this article that first got me interested in using Kanye West lyrics as a jumping-off-point for philosophy. I started listening out for lines of philosophical significance and found them everywhere.

I don’t know if this says more about philosophy or about Kanye. I suspect it’s a bit of both. You can find philosophy anywhere but Kanye is more philosophical than most.

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