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Eric Turner


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The Man Who Would Be Kanye

Someday I’m gonna buy me a spaceship

by Eric Turner

It’s 2 am on a school night and I’m getting high, scrolling through Reddit. r/HipHopHeads has become my internet home, the place where I get away from my problems.

The Man Who Would Be Kanye | Someday I’m gonna buy me a spaceship

Tia is moving to Iowa. Report cards came in today. I cleaned my bowl on my keyboard. It’s January, and this is life.

My name is Eric, and I’m in an epic funk.

It’s 2 am on a school night and I’m getting high, scrolling through Reddit. r/HipHopHeads has become my internet home, the place where I get away from my problems.

I’m cleaning my bowl on my keyboard. Not the QWERTY kind, the MIDI kind. An Akai MPD25, to be exact. For two years I have been producing music. But I haven’t actually finished a song in months. I tell people I want to be a musician, but mostly I get high and think about opening Fruity Loops.

Report cards came in. I’d never fallen below honor roll. Until today. I’m about to fail Trig and Bio. Real consequences. School has started to feel useless, so I’ve neglected it as hard as possible.

I feel like everything these days is a complete waste. First off, Tia is moving. Tia. Short. Brown-haired. Feisty. Maybe the only person I can hold a proper conversation with. Soon she’ll be in a different part of the country. I’m devastated. As my one true connection to the world leaves, I fear nothing will stop me from spiraling downward into this.

All during this bout of… whatever it is, depression? — she’s the one who seemed to understand while everyone else withdrew.

So I sit home. Alone. In the dark. Scrolling through Reddit. Because that is all I can do.

It’s this isolation, fear, and loneliness. Like I’m the only one who is a dreamer, a night owl, a weirdo. Tia reminded me that everyone else is weird too. Told me that your dreams can come true. That within the darkness of my insomnia there was someone out there wide awake as well. I could smile, frown, whatever. And I knew she’d be smiling and frowning too. In a graduating class of 122, I found someone as eccentric as I am. This connection — it’s a blessing. And, now that she’s leaving, it’s becoming a curse.

So I sit home. Alone. In the dark. Scrolling through Reddit. Because that is all I can do.

Scanning r/HipHopHeads: Tyler, Ab-Soul, Kendrick. These names are intriguing, but I’ve already picked through their discographies. I dig deeper, looking for something new to me. Then a thread falls into my lap asking a very simple question: “What is the best Kanye album?”

Good question.

I fasten my headphones and find his first album on Spotify: College Dropout. Click.

What happens in the next few minutes is what a Bokononist would refer to as a vin-dit, a spiritual push forward. If you’re not a fan of Kanye West, it’s impossible to explain the magic in the first words he raps on College Dropout:

If this is your first time hearing this, you are about to experience something so cold, man.

I’m enchanted. I listen with a smile as he displays his trademark arrogance on “Last Call”:

If you’re not a fan of Kanye West, it’s impossible to explain the magic in the first words he raps on College Dropout.

“I’m Kan, the Louis Vuitton Don / Bought my mom a purse, now she Louis Vuitton Mom / I ain’t play the hand I was dealt, I changed my cards / I prayed to the skies and I changed my stars.”

To many listeners, this is run-of-the-mill materialistic braggadocio. But to me, and to many of us who defend the Louis Vuitton Don to the death, lines like the last two are what make Kanye the Messiah of the self, the paragon of confidence. The opposite of how I’ve felt.

That night, listening to College Dropout transformed me. I realized that the world was not ending. My problems were microscopic. I’d been a prisoner of my own insecurities. I’d been believing that achievement came from luck, that the actions of a person were inconsequential to their fate.

Within five minutes of becoming a Kanye West fan, these beliefs were shattered like a bottle in a bar fight. Kanye exhibited power of self. Of course he’s not a God. But by projecting that he is, the man has made his goals reality. I vowed to live in that same world. A world where willpower can take you anywhere you want to go.

Just like that, I got it: Tia was still a text away. Other friends would fill her place. I wasn’t alone in the world. Scholastic extra credit was a thing. My music career just needed an injection of effort. My issues were non-issues: easily solvable teenage bullshit.

In January, I fell in love with College Dropout. In March, I turned 17.

In January, Tia moved to Iowa and left me alone in the world. In March, I had assembled a clique of my own.

In January, report cards came and I was off honor roll. In March, I had a working relationship with most of my teachers.

In January, I cleaned my bowl on my keyboard. In March, I was the leader of a six-person music collective and had successfully applied for a real job.

In January, I fell in love with College Dropout. In March, I turned 17.

A year later, in Boston, I’m still transforming. Turning 18. Still learning to differentiate between real problems and teenage melodrama. I hit a record store and flip through the hip-hop section to find College Dropout.

At various points in life, I’ve needed a reminder that dreams can come true. Purchasing College Dropout means that reminder is never more than a record player away. During any dark time, I can drop the needle and experience something so cold, man.