Kanye West's Celebrity Defenders and Admirers

(Instagram) It's not always easy being a Kanye West fan. Though he's responsible for some of the most groundbreaking music of the past several decades, the Chicago native is unfortunately becoming just as famous for his outlandish outbursts as he is for his beats. Ask the average pop culture enthusiast what West's most memorable accomplishment was in the past year and you'll most likely get an answer involving Kim Kardashian or leather jogging pants. Nevermind that album Yeezus, which landed on the top of every major music critic's "best of" list.

As a longtime West devotee, I usually chalk up his behavior to an uncompromising need for honesty, both artistically and personally. With each lofty, self-aggrandizing proclamation, Kanye resists the media-trained world of celebrity in which he's expected to participate. He's not there to offer some sanitized anecdote to sell his brand: He's only interested in truth, honesty, and dopeness. "I'm totally weird, and I'm totally honest, and I'm totally inappropriate sometimes," he admitted during his intensely awkward Jimmy Kimmel Live interview, adding, "[T]he thing is, for me to say I wasn't a genius, I would just be lying to you and to myself."

This week, West allegedly assaulted an 18-year-old boy inside a chiropractor's office after the boy repeatedly hurled racial and sexual insults at Kim Kardashian, the mother of West's child. Given the circumstances of the alleged altercation, reactions have been divided. Many are sympathetic of West's fury, while others are taking it as yet another indication of a man unhinged. He's not very popular among Yahoo commenters:
But even with all the bad press, there are quite a few people who've stepped forward to voice their appreciation for Kanye in the past year. Here's who he can count on to have his back in the celebrity world.

Bruce Springsteen
In an interview with NPR's Ann Powers this week, Bruce Springsteen called Kanye "incredible," gushing about the production values on Yeezus.

"I saw him on television, he did the song called "Blood on the Leaves" on the Later...With Jools Holland — it was fantastic, you know. He's a very, I still find him very interesting," Springsteen revealed. "I'm not necessarily driving [to] it in my car, you know. I probably fall back on the stuff that I listened to as a kid or something if I'm driving around. But I do listen. I listen to a lot because there's a lot of information in it and it's just fascinating record-making."

Russell Simmons
After Kanye released his universally misunderstood music video for "Bound 2," Russell Simmons posted an essay titled "The Genius That Is Kanye West" to his entertainment site, Global Grind.

"What’s often times misunderstood about Kanye is that people believe he wants all of this for himself, in fact, quite the opposite, he wants all of this for the rest of us. He wants to destroy the glass ceiling with 808′s and crack music…so one day WE have the power to see all of the lights," Uncle Rush wrote. "Certainly he wants a piece for himself…everybody would, but at his core, at the bottom of his heart, lies an inner-truth that has led to an external battle to make this world a bit easier for those who have been dealt a hand of struggle, by showing them a glimmer of hope through his art."

Russell went on to directly challenge the public's perception of Kanye: "So, you may think he’s mad when he goes on his “Yeezy rants,” but it is a different kind of mad. It is a mad that keeps you up at night, knowing that if you fall asleep, you are wasting time. It is a mad that makes you go into the lab and work seven days with no sleep, cause you want to perfect your craft. It is a mad that sees the world still unfair for women and people of color, that makes you want to break down every door that they say is locked and can never be open."

Lou Reed
In a review of Yeezus for The Talkhouse, Lou Reed got real with his opening paragraph: "Kanye West is a child of social networking and hip-hop. And he knows about all kinds of music and popular culture. The guy has a real wide palette to play with. That's all over Yeezus. There are moments of supreme beauty and greatness on this record, and then some of it is the same old shit. But the guy really, really, really is talented. He's really trying to raise the bar. No one's near doing what he's doing, it's not even on the same planet."

Later in the review, he compares one of West's most-used sounds to farting.

Alana Haim
In a conversation with Rolling Stone, HAIM lead singer Alana Haim rhapsodized about West — specifically, the "f**king masterpiece" Yeezus. "I have yet to see Kanye not put out an amazing record – and people don't understand how hard that is," she insisted. "To make record after record and come out with something new and push the boundaries and have it succeed every single time is insane. If I could choose any brain to just chill in, for, like, 10 minutes, it'd be Kanye's. I just want to see what goes on up there. Because he's a genius."

Kevin Hart
In a candid interview for his movie Grudge Match, Kevin Hart pointed out that West is only human.

"I think everybody has a breaking point. It’s just where you choose to have that breaking point. I’ve had those breaking points," Hart explained. "It’s just been around people that are comfortable enough with me where they can hear the breaking point and not judge me by it later. But I don’t judge Kanye or hold anything against him. He’s a passionate guy. If anything that you can say, take the fact that he’s passionate. I know him. He’s a friend of mine. He’s like that with everything. He puts his passion into his work.”

I'm the former Zimbio Music Editor. Into music, cats, karaoke, and shiny things. Follow me: Google