Case in point: West’s intimate showcase at the 500-capacity Bowery Ballroom in New York City last night was to be his rite of passage, a notice that West is the most relevant hip-hop artist in the world (with the possible exception of friend/mentor Jay-Z). And, according to those in attendance, like Jonah Weiner of Rolling Stone, it was.
But for those who did not attend, they woke up today to an Internet that was primarily focused on West’s closing 10-minute rant on George Bush, Taylor Swift and Matt Lauer, with a nod to the models in the audience.
(Kanye’s rant is NSFW)
West just dropped My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and played it last night song by song. And although one can question the continuing relevancy of Pitchfork, it did give the album its first perfect 10/10 rating since Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in 2002. Twisted Fantasy also got a perfect score from Rolling Stone (but, then again – to paraphrase blogger Maura Johnston, when it comes to RS record reviews, everyone’s a Wenner.).
So last night had all the earmarks of a christening. According to Rolling Stone, the bouncers were not impressed that singer Taio Cruz of “Dynamite” fame wanted past the velvet rope – because they had already let through Aziz Ansari, Donald Glover, ?uestlove, Ivanka Trump, Spike Lee, P. Diddy, Selita Ebanks, Alexander Wang, Mos Def, Chanel Iman and Tory Burch.
The surprise $100-per-ticket gig was the place to be in NYC. But then there’s the other place to be – the Interwebs, which serves up the Kanye who tweets funny messages and cancels “Today” show appearances.
Last night, with his band vamping the chords to the song “Good Life,” West has an I-Gotta-Tell-You-Something moment. Which would be fine, but it took 10 minutes to get everything off his chest. He suggests Matt Lauer’s ‘Today’ show interview was abusive. He says that Taylor Swift “never came to my defense in any interview … and rode it and rode it.” In fact, he says of his famous VMAs interruption, “If I wasn’t drunk, I would have been on stage longer.”
So, Kanye, we’re really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but today is one of the greatest “Kanye does strange stuff” moments of all time.
“By all accounts, Kanye’s new album is actually great and most people seem to think he’s making some of the most interesting popular music right now but this … Jesus Christ,” wrote Best Week Ever’s Noah Garfinkel. “This is awful. So here’s the challenge: Try to watch this whole thing and take Kanye seriously the whole time. If you make fun of him in your head even once, you lose.”
The crowd doesn’t seem to mind so much. Then again, at about the halfway mark, one can hear an audience member shouting, “Who cares?”