My mother introduced me to Ye (or Kanye West, as most know him) when I was about thirteen, via the brick-like Sony stereo in our living room. The track All Falls Down from the rapper’s 2004 debut album The College Dropout was, and still is a favourite of mine.

The song is a piece of social commentary. West’s satirical bars expose the veneer of pretence that can exist in black hip-hop culture. The rapper theorises that the compulsion to overtly flash wealth is a symptom of deep insecurity. He says that this obsession with materialism is often rooted in America's dark history of racial trauma. It’s like people constantly feel like they have something to prove. In this track, Ye explores what is left when these ostentatious facades, all fall down.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

It seems we living the American dream

But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem

The prettiest people do the ugliest things

For the road to riches and diamond rings

We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us

We trying to buy back our 40 acres

Of course, this wealth of cultural insight went completely over my head at age thirteen. There were no intellectual or emotional thoughts stirring in my brain post-listening. But now (as I've matured), I can say that there kind of is. I now have the capacity to appreciate, question and critique Ye’s (often controversial) interpretation of life through his music.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

It is this 'interpretation' that makes the Chicagoan rapper a musical icon of our time - whether some of us like to admit it or not. This middle-class kid of a former Black Panther member and an English professor has had a lasting effect on our contemporary cultural landscape through the legacy of his creative endeavours.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

While the string of highly questionable sentiment that he has publicly spewed - specifically his insistence that African American slavery was a choice, his staunch support of the Trump administration, and his recent (very public, very tabloid-y, very Kardashian-y) relationship drama involving questionable episodes of social-media "call-out" posting, are extremely damaging and must be called out for their misogyny, blind ignorance, or blatant irresponsibility - they do not diminish his creative genius.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

The man is the epitome of the modern visionary. He has had a firm hand in both transforming the scope of contemporary rap of the early 2000s - departing from the genre's stereotypical machismo-gangster subject matter toward a more intimate philosophical, socio-political, philosophical, religious discourse, and prompting the streetwear renaissance of the late 2010’s with his fashion brand Yeezy.

When Ye is gone, he will be remembered as one of the greats - as one of those, who come along every so often, and profoundly changes the cultural status quo.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Now the first episode of the Netflix documentary trilogy Jeen-Yuhs has been released (two more episodes are to follow in the coming weeks). Compiling two decades of intimate footage recorded by the rapper’s childhood friends, creative duo Clarence Simmons (Coodie) and Chike Ozah, it documents the producer turned rapper’s rise to fame and hip-hop glory. Originally intended for release in the early 2000s, the film was abandoned due to a change of heart on Ye’s part, but in recent times filming resumed.

Ye and (now ex) girlfriend Julia Fox, pictured in Paris in January.
(Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Jeen-Yuhs tells the story of one of the world's most successful creatives through the eyes of those closest to him - those that he trusts. Perhaps this trilogy will help us to understand the enigma that is the tormented genius on a deeper human level, and remind us all why Ye is who is, and the power of what he does. Or perhaps this is wishful thinking and we'll be left none the wiser. Either way, it shows us a side of Kayne West that we have never seen before.

The first episode of Jeen-Yuhs is out now on Netflix