David Bowie and Kanye West are two names you wouldn’t usually expect to see in the same sentence, though when you get down to it, they’re actually quite similar.
Both of them are the very definition of a musical chameleon, each march to the beat of their own drum, and both artists have had contentious relationships with the press.
However, there are some folks out there who believe that that Kanye and Bowie are connected in a way deeper than many of us could understand, with their relationship going back to a time before Kanye West was even born. Confused? We thought so.
The origin of the theory
Back in 2007, a blog appeared online that aimed to outline the supposed conspiracy that connects David Bowie and Kanye West. Making numerous connections and claims, the theory purported that Bowie actually predicted the birth of Kanye, fashioning him to be something of a musical saviour.
So where do they get their facts? Well, to begin with, you have to go all the way back to 1972, and take a look at the front cover to David Bowie’s fifth album, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.
Released on June 16th, 1972, the cover of the album shows David Bowie in London, standing outside a furrier on Heddon Street and appearing to be at one with his urban surroundings. However, while the city setting doesn’t really feature many notable visual landmarks, it does however feature a prominent sign above Bowie’s head, emblazoned with the words ‘K. West’.
David Bowie’s album cover was supposedly foretold the coming of a hip-hop icon
A coincidence, right? Well, fans began to dig a little deeper, immediately turning to the lyrics of the album’s opening track, ‘Five Years’.
Aside from being a brilliant opener, the song tells the story of a doomed Earth, set to end in five years unless some sort of saviour descends from the heavens to save mankind.
Almost exactly five years later (just eight days short of the album’s fifth anniversary, in fact), a young Kanye Omari West was born on June 8th, 1977,
The mystery deepens
For a number of years, this is really all there was to the theory, with fans seeking any further connection between the two artists.
In 1974, two years after the album’s release, David Bowie gave an interview with Rolling Stone in which he described the death of his Ziggy Stardust alter-ego. “As soon as Ziggy dies onstage, the infinites take his elements and make themselves visible,” Bowie said at the time.
When David Bowie tragically passed away on January 10th, 2016, Kanye West was one of the first artists to share his condolences for the artist, making himself visible by taking to Facebook to lament a great loss to music.
The parting gift from a musical legend
Of course, the theory doesn’t end there either. Just two days prior to his passing, Bowie had released his final studio album, Blackstar. Fans soon began looking at the record’s title track, noting that while Kanye West is himself a ‘black star’, the lyrics were rather prophetic as well.
“Something happened on the day he died, spirit rose a metre and stepped aside,” Bowie sang during the song’s bridge. “Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried; I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar.”
Surely that’s all there is to it, right? Well, not quite. See, the third track on Blackstar was a tune titled ‘Lazarus’, and speaks of the biblical character who is brought back to life thanks to Jesus himself.
Three years earlier in 2013 (almost 41 years exactly since the release of Ziggy Stardust), Kanye West released his album Yeezus, which featured tracks such as ‘I Am A God’. Add onto this the fact that Sia released her Kanye-produced song ‘Reaper’ only three days after Bowie’s death, and it’s all starting to add up.
But could it all be true? Could David Bowie have foretold the rise of Kanye West, and the fact that the rapper would take his place in the wake of his untimely passing? Well, anything is possible, but when you consider the almost superhuman achievements Bowie made during his lifetime, we’re not willing to write it off completely.
David Bowie himself was a musical icon, there’s no denying that, and as divisive as Kanye West is, he is undoubtedly an artist whose legacy will be impossible to ignore.
It’s clear that the pair share a similar career trajectory – turning heads for pushing boundaries, becomes icons of their era – so it only makes sense that they’re intertwined on a much deeper level, right?
Whether it’s a musical myth or not, it’s definitely worth giving David Bowie credit for all the music he gave us, Kanye West for his willingness to break new ground, and the mystery that surrounds them both. Let’s pour a drink and toast to that!