Jun 11, 2020
Join Us on a Flight of Fancy Imagining Kanye West’s Children’s Album
Kanye West had slept uneasily last night. It was not simply his fur pillows; he had found himself stricken with pangs of anxiety. He took a long slow sip of his $100 cup of civet coffee as he stared over the skyline from his artful, minimalist penthouse, and he pondered.
Every father, Kanye thought to himself solemnly, worries about raising a good child, and leaving a better world for future generations. In the face of these concerns, he couldn’t help but worry that he had somehow misstepped in his life until now.
Like a bad dream, he imagined a four-year-old North in front of him, doe-eyed and shy. “Daddy,” she’d say, “What’s bruised in the esophagus? Are you really a …” She’d tear up. “… are you really a mothafuckin’ monster?” Or: “Daddy, what’s it mean that you’d do anything for a blonde dyke?”
No, Kanye thought, his jaw set. No, the last thing he wanted was to raise North badly. He needed to take steps to make something he could be proud of, something that would make North a better person.
He remembered his interview with Seth Meyers.
Yeah, totally, [North inspires my work], everything, and my approach to life, everything has changed … I think [I want to do] artistic, intellectual, kid-friendly songs … so it’s all the way that you raise and you have an understanding and appreciation for what, you know, you are looking at and what you’re hearing and why you’re hearing it. You know, it’s like if you think about the Yeezus album, cursing was definitely necessary in order to, you know, it would be like if you sat down and talked to Quentin Tarantino, it’s like, are you going to be making G movies now? It’s Quentin Tarantino!
And all of those perfectly coherent thoughts were true, every single one. On the one hand, that he wanted to make beautiful, meaningful art; art that was true to his roots and his intentions. His art was profound; it was about the precise recipe for a drink called a Malibooya; it was about ballin’ so hard mothafuckas wanna fine you. But he also wanted to raise North with eusocial values. He wanted to teach her things that would serve her well – things like how to act with discretion online, and politeness in the face of other people’s success, and dental hygiene.
What was the greatest artist of his generation to do?
The question stuck with him through the day. When North was starting to get fidgety in her rhinestone-encrusted crib, he pulled her out and cuddled her a little, before he put her in her equally ostentatious high chair and started to feed her baby food with a silver spoon. (He was, after all, a hands-on dad.) North turned her face away and pouted, and Kanye murmured under his breath:
I’m just trying to say,
The way school needs teachers,
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis,
That’s how you need puréed peaches …
North’s eyes brimmed with tears. She began to cry, a high thin wail. No, Kanye thought. The flow was all wrong, and North knew it. It would take more work than this. Just as he’d listened to Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan to break out of his previous creative rut, he’d have to expose himself to the old masters of this new genre. Schoolhouse Rock. Raffi. Barney.
Twenty minutes later, after Kanye had wiped off North’s mouth and burped her, he stroked her back and began to rap quietly:
Cutie the bomb, met her outside on my front lawn
With a little baby doll under her underarm
She said, I can tell you’re fun, I can tell by your charm,
Far as toys you got a ton, I can tell from your mom …
She pressed her face into his shoulder calmly. Kanye’s brow furrowed as North cooed. What else was good to sing to children about? Sharing, perhaps …?
Go to Cracker Barrel and you’re hungry, see,
Mothafucka at the buffet table so greedy
Packin’ up his bowl with his soup and greens
While you stand in the line and you tap your feet,
Thinkin’ no one man should have all that chowder …
North giggled, and Kanye bounced her a little, smiling. Yes, that was it, he thought to himself. He’d call the Wiggles’ agent tonight.