By now, it surprises me that some pop cultural verb hasn't been coined to define embarrassing incidents involving our favorite anti-hero, Kanye West. When you can find entries on www.urbandictionary.com for being "blagoed" i.e. "To fuck up and get caught by the feds on tape in the midst of a criminal conspiracy," or for being "snookied," "When a girl gets sucker punched in the face," it seems only fitting that one could also end up being "kanyed."
And that's just what happened to Calamity Jane Recordings artist Pilotpriest. Yesterday, label co-owner and Time Out contributor Dani Deahl informed us that Kanye West had posted for free download a Pilotpriest track to his kanyeuniversecity.com blog, erroneously claiming it to be new and as-of-yet unreleased material from Daft Punk. Obviously, if Kanye proclaims it to be so, it is so. As readers to his blog commented, speculating that it was upcoming work from Daft Punk's soundtrack to the Tron Legacy film (even going so far as creating youtube videos with the track playing to an image of the film's logo) , Deahl was crafting a release to set the record straight. "We love the comparison of our artist’s production to Daft Punk, but the claim simply isn’t true," says Deahl via her press release. "The song was composed by, and belongs to Pilotpriest." Also chiming in with a response, Pilot Priest had this to say: “I'm really, really flattered, but this is just a Myspace rip or Sendspace hack of my track.”
With the Grammy awards just last night and many of our DJ and musician friends deriding the spectacle while the music industry wallows in lost profits, this incident goes beyond a simple case of mistaken identity. How is it that Kanye West, one of the best selling artists currently, feels that he can bootleg tracks from other artists (including ones that he clearly has respect for, seeing as how his 2007 hit "Stronger" could not exist without Daft Punk) and give them away for free? And I ask that before taking into account that the track is actually coming from an artist on a small label striving to make it in his own home town.
Let the debate begin.