February should have been a great month for Kanye West. He released his much anticipated album, TLOP (The Life Of Pablo), on Tidal (you can read Kimberly’s thoughts on that one in her album review) and debuted the third season of his fashion line to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden.

However, instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, West went on a tweeting streak in which he revealed he is $53 million in debt and asked various high-profile contemporaries to help him financially so he could keep creating.

In reading his tweets, I couldn’t help but be reminded of The Romantic Manifesto, controversial author Ayn Rand’s collection of essays regarding the nature of art. I began to wonder if West isn’t so much an egotistical rapper as he is just an artist who will do anything to create the art he wants to create. In other words, a romantic.

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“The Romanticists did not present a hero as a statistical average, but as an abstraction of man’s best and highest potentiality, applicable to and achievable by all men, in various degrees, according to their individual choices.”
― Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto

Kanye’s latest Twitter rant about the state of his financials has been much publicized and even mocked. Memes have already been made and the regulatory, parasitic gossip mongers have conjectured West’s pending split from wife Kim Kardashian based upon his recent social media musings. However, considering how frequently he takes to Twitter to vent what is on his mind/heart, I honestly doubt this is a side of Kanye that Kim hasn’t seen once or twice before.

Still, I couldn’t help but notice that those who make fun of West on Twitter often ask him for a pair of free Yeezy sneakers in the same breath. Even I have tweeted about wanting a pair, so I can’t judge them too harshly for their desperation. However, the primary theme of Yeezy’s latest series of tweets isn’t a plea for funding and it definitely isn’t his one lyric about a fellow pop star. It’s his desire to create. To be an artist.

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“The basic purpose of art is not to teach, but to show — to hold up to man a concretized image of his nature and his place in the universe.”
― Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto

If one thing is clear from West’s propensity for 140-character proclamations of anger, love, need, happiness, and sometimes even hate, it’s that he is often ruled by his emotions over his art.

“As to the role of emotions in art and the subconscious mechanism that serves as the integrating factor both in artistic creation and in man’s response to art, they involve a psychological phenomenon which we call a sense of life. A sense of life is a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence.”
― Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto

Music and fashion seem to give Kanye his sense of life, which is why, even when it seems from the outside that Ye is at the top of his game, he is driven to tweet about his debt and his struggles.

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“One falls in love with the embodiment of the values that formed a person’s character, which are reflected in his widest goals or smallest gestures, which create the style of his soul — the individual style of a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable consciousness.”
― Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto

I’ll be the first to admit I have not been a career-long fan of West’s, not to say I used to dislike him or that there was ever I time I wasn’t aware of the impact he was having on the world of entertainment. Truth is, I’m as narcissistic about my art as he is about his.

Anything that doesn’t inspire me or offer fodder for a piece of writing that can further my career tends to escape my ultra-tunneled vision. I have been working very hard to overcome this inclination, so it is due to a fault of my own that I have never paid West as much attention as he is due and not because his music, fashion, or artistic vision is lacking.

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However, these images from Yeezy Season 3 make me wonder how I have been living under such a rock for so long! (Though somehow I doubt my previous ignorance would be even noteworthy to the rapper.) I can’t deny that this man’s talent is unique, unrepeatable, and irreplaceable. If I wasn’t also in debt, I would totally invest in him, and I hope his tweets garner the intended reaction from the people who do have the ability to fund his art.

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The fact that West took to Twitter to rant isn’t shocking. What shocked me was how much I could relate to the things he was tweeting. Normally Kanye West and I have even less in common than…I honestly can’t think of two greater opposites.

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There is truth in this. I can only speak from the perspective of a white woman. I come from a line of Greek immigrants and farmers. My grandmother ran away from Catholic school in the 7th grade to marry my grandfather and never received a high school diploma.

My mother graduated from high school but wasn’t able to go to college. She found work as a pharmacy technician, and through her own motivation and hard work, she became one of the first registered pharmacy technician in the state of Wyoming.

My mother instilled a love of learning and a willingness to pursue dreams in both my sister and me. We were not only able to attend the universities of our choice, but we could also study topics we were passionate about. Even if I can’t speak from the perspective of a descendant of an ex-slave, I can say I am proud of my heritage and family.

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“It is one’s own sense of life that acts as the selector, and responds to what it recognizes as one’s own basic values in the person of another. It is not a matter of professed convictions (though these are not irrelevant); it is a matter of much more profound, conscious and subconscious harmony.”
― Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto

I am also proud to call myself a writer, and as I read West’s stream of consciousness narrative about debt and art, I couldn’t help but think of my own student loans and how even if I’m writing for free, I’ll still do it happily because it means I’m writing. Even if it means this week I’ll get my toilet paper from a restaurant and eat leftovers for the next week.

It’s that drive to create that I responded to in Kanye’s tweets, and it made me wonder if he is this generation’s most romantic artist. If he can inspire me, someone so different from himself, what else is this artist capable of?

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Where will Kanye West go if he receives the funding he is so vehemently and relentlessly pursuing? Who knows? Maybe some hints of what he has in store lie in the below chart, which outlines West’s vision for DONDA, a creative content company he debuted in 2012 via, you guessed it, a series of Twitter posts.

DONDA Chart tweet