Rhymefest Rates Kanye’s Rhymes & Identifies The Beginning Of His Downfall (Video)

Che “Rhymefest” Smith and Kanye West had a bit of a public falling out recently. Well, actually, it was more like the two longtime friends and collaborators ending up at odds, with Kim Kardashian West in the middle. For those that may have missed or not followed, ‘Fest had publicly asked Drake for financial help for Donda’s House, a nonprofit co-founded by himself and West in honor of ‘Ye’s late mother. According to Rhymefest, the last time he reached out to Kanye over the foundation, his response was less-than-flattering, claiming ‘Ye told him “f*ck the youth of Chicago.”

The public action by ‘Fest compelled Kim K. to get involved by way of a social media showdown that included accusations of bootleg shoes, awkward studio sessions, and an apparent fame-measuring contest. Appearing in a “Rate The Bars” segment, Rhymefest is asked to react and quantify songwriting merits of several Chicago MCs’ bars. Twice, he is presented with lyrics from different West tracks—one “old Kanye” and one “new Kanye” in the eyes of many.

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The first was from the “suits and cases” bars from West’s Grammy-winning “Jesus Walks,” ‘Fest gave his writing partner ‘Ye 5 bars, explaining that it’s still possible to put out a hit record with lyrical purpose. “I do think it’s possible to have good writing and rhythm,” he said. “It’s about being complete and thorough. It’s about moving and purpose.”

Then, when it came to 2016’s “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” Rhymefest was a lot more critical. “I said this is not who you are,” he remarked about the bleach-related bars, speaking about West’s musical prowess and acknowledging that he knew the song. “This is all vanity and no humanity…Who you are is, you vanity and humanity have to fight each other. If it’s all vanity or all humanity, it don’t work…this right here, this was the beginning, and this is when I took an airplane and went home and said ‘f*ck it’… I give that a zero.”

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Others whose bars Rhymefest rated included Lil Reese, Lupe Fiasco, Sasha Go Hard, G Herbo, Common, and even gave his own “We Can Make It Better” lyrics, which the DJ Jazzy Jeff M3 collaborator gives a perfect 5.

#BonusBeat: Veteran mixmaster and producer DJ Skizz recently uploaded an October 2001 battle between Rhymefest and Kanye West from his Halftime Radio Show. For fans of both artists, this is a moment in time that is both prophetic and worth remembering at once: