By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is Kanye West. I am writing to inform you of my intention to matriculate at the illustrious Chicago State University. Again. Yes, I'm that guy. The one who talked mad shit about higher education on The College Dropout and Late Registration. I understand your reluctance, considering I previously dropped out of CSU to pursue my hip-hop career. But that was then. This is now.
I used to be one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. Now I'm lucky to make the "Where Are They Now?" edition of US Weekly. Back then, everyone had a lip-lock on my jock. But eventually they got bored, and I got sloppy. I was never fully embraced by the streets and my paranoid rants ultimately chased away suburbia.
Now I'm a changed man. Ever since my fifth album (The Fifth-Year Senior) tanked earlier this year, I've had a lot of time to pray and think about my future. I want to return to college to get my diploma and not just because Diddy won't return my calls. With your help, I can turn my life around. Enclosed you will find materials that I believe prove I'm an ideal candidate for resuming my studies at CSU.
Love and respect,
Enclosure 1: Official Application
Last name: West First Name: Kanye M.I.: O
Birth Date: June 8, 1977
Gender: Please. Do the words "magnum" and "in your mouth" mean anything to you?
Marital Status: Single...as soon as my divorce from Condi Rice is finalized. I can get down with kinky, but that chick was a freak.
Permanent Address: I'm kinda crashing at my mom's place in Skokie right now. But it's just temporary.
Mailing Address: Technically, I don't have one. I had to fake my own death to avoid the creditors. But you can send general delivery mail to "Eynak Tsew" at the Skokie post office. I tell people I'm a Haitian cab driver.
Occupation: Former Next Best Thing No. 2,923,457,876. And, if anyone asks, a cabbie from Port-au-Prince.
Citizenship: U.S., unless President Jeb Bush has anything to say about it. Shit, I thought his brother didn't care about black people.
Ethnic Origin: Say it loud...
Military Service: "Jesus Walks" was used in the Jarhead trailer, does that count?
In case of emergency, contact: Pharrell Williams. Resident of the Former Hip-Hop Cameo Whore Recovery Center, Los Angeles, California.
Intended Major: Whatever will get my diamond-encrusted Jesus pendant out of hock.
Enclosure 2: Personal Essay
Why is CSU a good college choice for you?
It's my best chance at skating by on "Hey, weren't you Kanye West once?" recognition. Plus, my moms used to work there so I know some serious faculty dirt if it comes down to a little black male blackmail.
Describe a pivotal moment in your life.
Aside from The Car Accident--who knew getting your shit busted in three places would spark your career?--I'd have to say a pivotal moment was when I taught a class at CSU as a "stand-in professor" back in September 2005 for some MTV show. That's when I realized I wouldn't be drinking out of Snoop's jewel-encrusted chalice forever. It didn't help that I was touring with Fantasia from American Idol at the time.
What would you change about your life if you had known then what you know now?
First off, I stretched myself too thin. By the spring of 2006 I was producing, touring, promoting Late Registration, working on my third album, operating my G.O.O.D. Music record label and launching my Pastelle Clothing line.
Make no mistake, I had style. My early albums had some substance, too, but the rest was filler and it wasn't even my caulk filling most of the holes. My albums had more guest spots than the Tonight Show, but sugarcoating my flows with the Yellow Pages didn't turn people off nearly as much as my conspiracy theories.
Sure, I was paranoid. Shit, who wasn't in 2005? They were cool with me saying the government didn't care about black folks, that Whitey administered AIDS to kill Africans ("Heard 'Em Say") and Reagan used cocaine to disband the Black Panthers ("Crack Music"), but people thought I went too far when I said the Michelin Man killed Tupac and Twinkie the Kid was tapping my phones. I still see a white Hostess van tailing me sometimes, but what are you going to do? Snack cakes are bigger than the police.
Enclosure 3: Letters of Recommendation
From: Shawn Carter
Occupation: Ex-CEO of the R-O-C.
Comments on Applicant: 'Ye has been my boy for years. And let me tell ya something, it's been a hard-knock life for us. Instead of being treated, we've been tricked. Instead of kisses, we've been kicked. And nobody has been kicked harder than Kanye. Life hasn't been the same since that tape of him pissing on R. Kelly got out. He needs a second chance at CSU. It's his only chance.
Occupation:World's Fastest Rapper, The Guy That Wasn't Jamie Foxx on "Slow Jamz."
Comments on Applicant: Yo, soI'veknownKanyeforawhile, wewerebothfromaroundthewayChicagoandhehelpedmycareermorethananyothermotherfucker. HewasalwaystheretoputIcyHotonmytongueafterIspitsomeblisteringrhymes. NowI'mgonnareturnthefavorbyvouchingforhisre-admissionintoChicagoStateUniversity,yaheard?
From: Jamie Foxx
Occupation: Thespian, The Guy That Was Jamie Foxx on "Slow Jamz."
Comments on Applicant: After Ray and "Gold Digger," I thought we found the secret to crossover success. I won a second Oscar for my role in Hey, Who Turned Out the Lights?: The Stevie Wonder Story and my cameo on Kanye's remix of "Superstition" called "Conspiracy (Someone's Hiding in my Closet, Pts. 1-8)" topped the charts.
After that, our careers hit the skids. Kanye started to weird people out, and I stretched the famous blind person thing too far when I played Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker 2: Out For Blood. It bombed. Not surprising considering the core audience couldn't see or hear the movie. I convinced Kanye to do another collabo, but we were too focused on another payday to realize Helen Keller singing the hook on "Set Trippin' Over Furniture" consisted mostly of me moaning incoherently.
I implore you to accept Kanye back. His motives may not be entirely pure--I ain't saying he's a gold digger--but nowadays there ain't nobody else messing with his broke ass. Speaking of which, could you send me an application?