Attention: Leonard Cohen Wrote A From-The-Grave Take Down Of Kanye West by the Forward

Attention: Leonard Cohen Wrote A From-The-Grave Take Down Of Kanye West

Image by Getty Images

Hold on to your fedoras, my friends: Leonard Cohen has spoken from beyond the grave, and the message is: To hell with Kanye West.

Yes, just when you think 2018 can’t get any wilder, the lately deceased unofficial poet laureate of the Jewish people pipes up to deliver a warning about false prophets that is chilling, profane, and really, really funny.

Cohen, who you know either as a brilliant and prolific renaissance thinker and rocker or as that guy who wrote “Hallelujah” died in November 2016, at age 82. But a book of his poetry, “The Flame,” completed just before his death, was released earlier this month, shepherded to publication by the artist’s son Adam Cohen. “This is what he was staying alive for,” Cohen told the Guardian of his father’s final work.

And to Cohen’s memory we shout “hallelujah!” because, well, look at this:

How is it possible that in 2015 a nearly octogenarian man was able to capture a zeitgeist that would only flame out further after his death? West is a rapper whose body of work typically gazes inward — in spite of his genius, he can’t see farther than the end of his own Adidas Yeezys. Riffing off the narcissistic rapper, who today is scheduled to meet with President Trump and Jared Kushner, Cohen mocks men who proclaim not just their greatness, but their supremacy. He ridicules their belief that they are not just leaders but deities, men who have no respect for anything in history. “I am the real Kanye West” writes Cohen, with a true prophet’s foresight. “I only come alive after a war/And we have not had it yet.”

The bad news: Cohen anticipates a war, and Cohen is rarely wrong.

The good: We’ll go into battle humming Leonard Cohen’s songs of peace, war, and wisdom.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny


Leonard Cohen Wrote Poetic Take Down Of Kanye West

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Attention: Leonard Cohen Wrote A From-The-Grave Take Down Of Kanye West

Thank you!

This article has been sent!