In this age of crunk and gangsta revivalism, it doesn't help West's case that his lyrics betray a certain thematic complexity, alternately accepting and rejecting his peers' conspicuous consumerism and reconciling his middle-class, Judeo-Christian upbringing with hip-hop's nihilistic archetypes.
But West's secret is that he clings to the only rule that matters for an artist: Speak from your heart on what you know. Or, in hip-hop terms: Kanye doesn't front. -- Sam Chennault
Catch Kanye West, Ying Yang Twins, Petey Pablo, T.O.K., Jadakiss, 8Ball & MJG, and Pit Bull at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 27, at the University of Miami Convocation Center, 1245 Walsh Ave., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-284-8686.