Kanye West just dropped his new album tracklist on Twitter – and in typical Kanye fashion, he’s describing it as “the best album of all time”.
Uploading a handwritten tracklist on Twitter earlier this morning (with a sign-off from Kylie Jenner at the bottom), his announcement has already received over 200,000 likes and retweets from fans eager to hear his follow-up to 2013’s Yeezus. Although we’ll have to wait until February 11 until SWISH is officially released, we thought it might be interesting to try and get an insight into the rapper’s creative flow before then. We asked handwriting expert Adam Brand to analyse Kanye’s penmanship – and the results might surprise you.
“Reading this, I’m not surprised that he’s a famous rapper. The choice of pen is interesting. He’s chosen to use a thick fibre tipped pen. It’s the sort of pen commonly used by singers and actors because it makes a strong impression – he definitely wants to make an impact on the world. Negatively, you could also suggest that the use of a fibre-tip pen suggests you want to make an impression without having to do too much work! The overall effect is one of dominance.”
While it won’t come as a surprise to many that Kanye likes to be dominant, Brand thinks that he might also have a more sensitive side.
“Looking at his writing, I think this indicates someone with a warm nature. The words are very close together, which suggests that he has a strong need to be involved with people, and the fact that the baseline is wavy and undulating suggests he’s impressionable – he cares what people think about him.”
Impressively, given that he had never heard of Kanye West until I explained who he was (‘he raps poetry over music, did you say?), Brand identifies the question that perplexes Kanye fans the world over. Is the “Kanye brand” – the soaring ego and bigger-than-Jesus pronouncements, the love-me-or-hate-me attitude – is it all a creation of the man himself?
“I’d say that the way he uses capital letters suggests a masked persona. He doesn’t necessarily want people to know the real him. Often when someone uses capital letters it means they put on a front, but underneath they’re quite a sensitive person.”
When it comes to the rapper’s creative process, Brand’s of the view that Kanye’s not always logical in his approach. “The capital letters are disconnected from each other and don’t join up. This means that he’s intuitive in his thinking, rather than logical.” Once again, Brand seems to be spot on in his analysis – in an interview with director Steve McQueen for Behind The Hustle, Kanye described his creative process as “childlike”. “I just close my eyes and act like I’m a three year old. I try and get as close to a childlike level as possible because we were all artists back then.”
“I do worry about the last word. There’s a lot going on in that oval. I wouldn’t want to talk about what though too much, it’s too dangerous”
Turns out, whether you stick within the lines or write across the page is pretty major in the handwriting world. “Kanye’s keeping within the lines, which is interesting. People who are quite full of themselves usually ignore the lines and write right through them”. So perhaps Kanye’s not as much of an egomaniac as is popularly perceived. Kylie on the other hand…well, Brand’s impressed.
“Look at how Kylie’s written across the page. Totally imaginative; she couldn’t care less about structure; she’s just out there having fun. She’s a very impressive character. The handwriting is large, which suggests she wants to make an impact. I think she wants to make her mark on the world”.
Overall, Brand’s pretty complimentary. “Certainly the overall effect is pretty positive. The way that the ‘y’ on the second line curves to the right is a good sign. It usually means someone is altruistic. And what I also find interesting is that he’s kept his left margin really straight. That suggests he respects education.
“I can definitely see he’s a rapper. For example, the way he’s used a figure of eight for a ‘g’ suggests a tremendous mental certainty, which is what you’d expect from a rapper. He’s clearly got a lot of intuition and flexibility, and the writing suggests restlessness – he needs to be with people and creating all the time. He definitely lives in the here-and-now.”
For all these positive signs, Brand does end on an ominous note – although, frustratingly, he won’t be drawn into what it means. “I do worry about the last word. There’s a lot going on in that oval. I wouldn’t want to talk about what though too much, it’s too dangerous”.
So, Kanye’s a creative, intuitive, charitable kinda-guy – with a hidden dark side. Which given everything we know about him, seems pretty much spot on. And it turns out, Kylie’s the one we need to keep our eye on. Who’d have thought it?
Follow Sirin Kale on Twitter here @thedalstonyears
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