kanye west ronn torossian

For many recording artists, controversy is a razor’s edge. Provocative lyrics and stage shows can capture headlines and dominate news cycles, which is almost always great for album sales. Then there’s the other side of the edge… the kind of controversy that creates headlines that can doom album sales. Kanye West is no stranger to either kind of controversy. From interrupting Taylor Swift during an award show to wowing critics and music fans with his production skills and wit, West lives on razor’s edge publicity.

Recently, though, West made some comments that upset pretty much everyone, and the furor was so severe, the outspoken rapper went back to the drawing board before releasing his much-anticipated album, Ye.Speaking to music media personality, Big Boy, West admitted having to “completely redo” the album after the firestorm his recent comments about slavery created.

Back in May, West was being interviewed by TMZ, when he launched into an impromptu, and many said misguided, “history lesson,” which included the following comments: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years… For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” These comments enraged fans, music media, and other celebrities. West began a week of almost constant negative responses across multiple media forums. Very soon, the hashtag #IfSlaveryWasAChoice was trending, and West was taking an absolute pounding on social media.

As a result, West made some substantial changes to his album, hoping a renewed focus on the music would help him get through the controversy stirred up by his comments. But that’s not the only controversy dogging the rapper. He’s taking heat from fans for his vocal support of President Trump and from critics and others about the content of some of his music on Ye. This level of controversy is part and parcel of West’s public persona. He tends to buck convention and dive headlong into sensitive issues, and not care who doesn’t like it… at least that’s his image. And, in keeping with that image, much of the new album centers on both his mental health and frequent headlines. Right out of the gate, West grabs attention with the track “I Thought About Killing You” and he doesn’t let up from there.

All in all, West is hoping there’s plenty on the album to get people talking about that… and to get them to stop talking about his ill-advised social history lesson.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public Relations.


Discover more from Ronn Torossian

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Ronn Torossian’s Articles on Entrepreneur
Ronn Torossian’s Blog Posts on Times of Israel
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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.