North West – The Only Direction

This past weekend I attended the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. It was astounding, dirty, and exhausting, in all of the best possible ways. I did my best to write a bunch in my notebook with the hopes of working it into a semi-coherent article upon my return, knowing how awful I tend to be with getting things out while they are still relevant. That article is still hiding somewhere in my notebook.

This one wrote itself, starting with this post on my Facebook wall:

North WestNow, I knew that this was coming. Twitter had informed me that “North” was a rumored name for the baby, and seeing as that is one of the most Kanye things in the history of Kanye-dom, I took it as fact. Yet this epic name that seemed so obvious to me was destined to be criticized by others.

When the news became official, this post made it clear that my friends, nay, the world needed me. Kanye West had just made what the mainstream media would immediately deem a “questionable” decision at best. He tends to do this a lot, and needs people that really know him (me) to help the rest of the world understand what is actually going on.

I by no means speak Swaghili, but I understand it in basic conversation and convey the Swaghilian culture to larger society better than most. So Sean Clark, and the rest of the world…

Is North West A Good Name For the Child of Kanye West?

Yes. Duh. It is the only name that fully conveys the place on the throne that North will one day inherit. She will be brilliant, and her naming is only the first step in a long, glorious career as a human being.

This is not a joke name. Kanye did not name his daughter for a quick laugh like the parents of kids named Chris Cross or Justin Tyme. This was a well thought out, thoroughly processed choice for the betterment of the Kanye brand, legacy, and dynasty.

“North West” is not a cliche colloquialism. It is a direction. It is a possible path to follow in order to get to your destination. It is hope. But I may be getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with a name-by-name breakdown to get into the depth of this perfectly selected title.

First Name: North

Clear your head of every thought about the name. Just think about the word “North”. It is a word loaded with both metaphorical and literal meaning.

According to Wikipedia, The North Star has been used for navigation since Late Antiquity. Why was this one particular “North” star so important to sailors finding their way? Because it was always in the same spot in the sky.

While all of the other stars in the sky wander in circles, the North Star knows exactly where it belongs.

While all of the other stars in the sky wander in circles, the North Star knows exactly where it belongs.

I can see you thinking, “Okay Tyler, so the North Star helped people figure out where they should be going in life, sort of like how Kanye’s daughter is destined to help people find themselves through her artistic career the same way her father does, but I don’t find this argument totally compelling.”

Fair point, hypothetical conversationalist. But we are just getting started.

Did you know that The North Star was also an anti-slavery newspaper started by Fredrick Douglass in 1851?

Kanye’s daughter now has the power to lead men across oceans without a map and spread the word of the cruelty of slavery, all in her first name.

“Interesting Tyler,” you think to yourself. “But you seem reliant on this whole ‘Star’ aspect, and Kanye did not name his daughter ‘North Star West’. Can you back up your argument without relying on a word that isn’t even a part of her name?”

Glad you asked hypothetical person that thinks about the personal life of Kanye West as academically as I do. Here’s a list.

  • The North – the side that was against slavery in the Civil War
  • The North – the side that won the Civil War
  • The North – ruled by the Starks in Game of Thrones, the only family to truly value honor in the messed up world of Westeros
  • Peter North – arguably the greatest male porn star of all time
  • The North Pole – where Santa Claus lives, who not only brings joy to the world, but also is the ultimate judge of human character with his dichotomous view of “Naughty or Nice”
  • Nolan North – one of the most illustrious voice-actors in video game history, playing the likes of Nathan Drake (Uncharted series), and the Prince (Prince of Persia series). He has also voiced a few minor roles in Regular Show
  • North America – my favorite America besides America
  • The Northern Lights – SOOOOO PRETTY
You show the lights that stop me turn to stone / You shine it when I'm alone // And so I tell myself that I'll be strong / And dreaming when they're gone

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone / You shine it when I’m alone // And so I tell myself that I’ll be strong / And dreaming when they’re gone

“Damn Tyler, you’re totally right, North is a pretty powerful name. But her last name is West. Isn’t th-”


Last Name: West

Let’s start with the obvious: West is the last name of Kanye West, which automatically sets it safely within the top one-percentile of quality last names to have as a human being. It’s not like Kanye was about to let his daughter take the name of his baby-mama. She was always going to be a West.

But if you remove “Kanye” from the context of West as a last name, does it still hold up?


The West was the American frontier. Back in the day, people who aspired for more out of life decided to leave everything they knew and pack their families into a Conestoga wagon to head West with dreams of a new start filled with gold and glory.

The West represented a chance to become more than what you were through dedication, hard work, talent, and an unfaltering belief in yourself.

It was in a sense a metaphor for following your dreams, because to those who made the trek across the Oregon Trail, the West was only a dream concocted of letters from those who had made it and folklore fed to them by others.

To go West was to follow your dreams. To have it as a last name means you were born to.

“I’m really impressed you got through that without making an Oregon Trail joke, Tyler. Maybe you are a more professional writer than I first thought.”

Thanks disembodied voice in my head; I had a bunch written, but I couldn’t carry them all back to the wagon. This typhoid fever has been killing me. And Sally was just bitten by a rattlesnake.

“You ass, I should have seen that coming. Regardless, my biggest criticism of the name ‘North West’ does not stem from either individual name, it is the fact that they are used together in what appears to be a poor attempt at a pun. ‘North Kardashian’ wouldn’t make much sense, but would not as directly force people to acknowledge the directional aspect of the name. You feel me?”

Sort of, but you’re crazy wrong.

FULL NAME: North West

Both names are cardinal directions. Alone, they are simple ideas.

You go North; you go up, you ascend to higher things, you walk from 14th street to 59th.

You go West; you explore new things that have yet to be explored, you move laterally, you walk from 6th avenue to 8th.

But what of North West? North West aspires to ascend to new heights while SIMULTANEOUSLY discovering the new things around her. She has a destination in mind, but doesn’t have time to move one direction at a time. She wants to travel through life as the crow flies.

North and West are the only directions to go. One who will one day be great must rise. One who will one day be great must explore their realm.

North West was born to take us to the promised land.

“Wait, are you going to end the article this way? Seriously? Upwards of 1,300 words on the name of some rapper’s kid and you are going to try to sell me on some ridiculous overdramatic line that you think ties everything together? Don’t you always do that to varying results? Isn’t that a Simmons move?”

Fine imaginary friend that I have constructed to make me feel some sort of companionship in this life, what about this:

North West will eventually develop a “line” of something- fashion, perfume, chocolates. It is Bound 2 happen. And when it does, North will name that line of somethings after herself, as she comes from a family of proven narcissists.

And her line will be called “North by North West”.

“Holy shit. That is cool.”

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5 Responses to North West – The Only Direction

  1. Heather Powers says:

    Tyler you’re my hero. Best explanation of this name OF ALL TIME. This deserves to be read by Kanye and … pretty much the rest of the world.

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