Almost daily, I catch myself defending Kanye West. No matter how hard it becomes, I always argue FOR him. I’m more than just a fan, I pull for Yeezus. I see too many dynamic facets to him, and his oeuvre, to deny.
I see an artist, that comes from a genre that celebrates excess, caught in the paradox of commerce. I see a creative that never rests and continues to evolve to push his art sonically and socially. I see a personality that is a living breathing impulse, responding and reacting in real-time. I see a person with inner demons that toes the line between genius and unhinged. And most relatedly to me, I see a dude that created his own opportunity to realize his own impossible vision in a way WE never imagined. He is the American dream!
When it's all said and done, Kanye will go down as one of the greatest entertainers of all-time. I have compiled a list of five live clips, spanning his career, that highlight what Kanye does best - a timely fusion of visual and sound to create an event. Each performance individually blew me away at the time they aired and helped solidify Kanye's lore within my consciousness. When given the chance, Mr. West never ceased to seize an opportunity in front of a massive audience.
These clips don’t even consider each of his seven solo albums, which stand on their own as an example of his creative genius. And I’m not counting his videos, which display his mastery of another medium. I consciously omit the times he has been handed a mic and been prompted to "go". He shines at every chance. Each of the below live performances stand out for their and sheer visual power. The best thing about re-living each performance in 2016 is seeing how unique his art, sound and visuals have progressed as he has evolved throughout his career with more resources, support, and ego.
What Kanye moments did I forget or miss? Let me know in the comments section.
1. Kanye West - “Jesus Walks” at Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2005)
2. Kanye West - “Stronger” Live at The Grammy’s (2008)
3. Kanye West - “Runaway” Live at MTV VMA’s (2010)
4. Kanye West - “Black Skinhead” Live on SNL (2013)
5. Kanye West - “All Day” Live at the Brit Awards (2015)