Entries tagged with: Kanye West
"Kanye West was among those who paid respect to spoken word artist and "bluesologist" Gil Scott-Heron, who passed away at age 62 last week, at a memorial service in Harlem's Riverside Church Thursday (June 2).The viewing is Friday.
The service, which was open to the public, closed with West performing an Auto-Tuned yet emotional rendition of of "Lost In The World" -- the song from his latest album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," and one that samples the refrain, "Who will survive in America?" from Scott-Heron's well-known poem, "Comment #1."
In addition to West, a trio of Scott-Heron's longtime backing musicians gave a spirited performance of the artist's songs "Better Days Ahead" and "The Bottle," while the audience clapped along." [Billboard]
Kanye West at MoMa (more by Bao Nguyen)
"Heineken is giving fans in 8 select markets the chance to see a local G.O.O.D. Music performance as well as the grand prize of catching Kanye West in NYC on June 9th... If your city isn't listed, stay tuned for more chances, you aren't forgotten!"So far the listed cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, and you can enter the sweepstakes at the Heineken site. No word on who from the G.O.O.D. family will play the dates/join Mr. West on stage in NYC.
In related news, Cannes is happening and Kanye is there, as people couldn't help but notice: "Kanye West made a grand entrance in a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss sports coupe at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS Gala held during the Cannes Film Festival in Cap d'Antibes, France. Only 75 of the limited edition cars are in production with an estimated price tag of $1.7 million. Yeezy pulled up in the bad boy looking like James Bond in a tuxedo and shades as passersby gawked. Inside the black-tie event, he rubbed shoulders with Naomi Campbell and Boy George. He is headed to Morocco next, where he will headline the Festival Mawazine."
The 10th Anniversary ACL Festival line-up is on the books. Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Nas & Damian "Jr Gong" Marley and Cee Lo top the bill of the over 130 bands. Bright Eyes, Social Distortion, Empire of the Sun, Santigold, Pretty Lights, TV On The Radio, Skrillex, Big Boi and Randy Newman are also on tap to rock September 16-18.3-Day passes are sold out. 1-Day passes go on sale at 10am. Full lineup below...
photos by Bao Nguyen
Jay-Z & Kanye West on display @ the Museum of Modern Art
At the tail end of his set at MoMA's Party In The Garden benefit afterparty last night (5/10), Kanye West was joined by none-other than Jay-Z to work out "H.A.M." before West stepped away from center stage (shocking, I know) to make way for HOV and his rendition of "Empire State of Mind". It was a riotous closing to a set that allowed plenty of time for Mr. West to shine too. Kanye played 45 minutes of hits from across his output. The setlist included "Power," "Run This Town", "Hell of a Life", "Can't Tell Me Nothin'", "Runaway", "Flashing Lights" and "The Good Life". Pictures and video from the museum show are in this post.
Kanye West at Coachella (more by David Andrako)
Kanye West will play the annual Party in the Garden benefit after-party at MoMA on May 10th. Tickets are on sale with all proceeds going toward "the Museum's general operating fund, supporting our award-winning educational programs and the care, study, and exhibition of the collection." The cheapest ticket is $150. That gets you into the after-party with Kanye, but not entrance to the VIP lounge or to the dinner or cocktail party earlier in the night. Those tickets will cost you anywhere from $500 to $100,000 (for a table).
photos by David Andrako
"While it was kind of a running joke that the gnarled dance-punk band was one of the biggest reunions at this year's Coachella (Death From Above 2005 jokes abounded), the band reasserted what made them such a strange and compelling commodity in the first place.Death From Above 1979's performance on Sunday was the second time the reunited band graced a public stage since announcing their return. The first was a semi-surprise appearance at this year's SXSW at March that got much more attention than anyone even anticipated due to a bit of violence that made the late night news. In May the band does it again at Sasquach.
Lacerating bass, Grainger's falsetto wails and a relentless rhythmic urgency both hearkened back to the mid-'00 dance punk craze, yet reminded the audience that their palpable violence set them apart from their more trend-minded peers.
"Romantic Rights" and "Blood on Our Hands" rode slithery, distortion-tangled bass lines over the kind of four-on-the-floor that bassist Jesse F. Keeler would explore more thoroughly in his disco aegis MSTRKRFT.The audience seemed simultaneously enthralled and a bit confused."
Coachella 2011 concluded on Sunday with a big headlining set by Kanye West. I already posted some pictures from that one, but a more proper set is also in this post which also includes our full set of pictures from the California festival's final day (day one pics HERE, day two HERE).
Bon Iver's Justin Vernon who played Friday night with Gayngs, made two guest appearances on Sunday, first with the National earlier in the day and then with Kanye West during one of the most high profile sets of the weekend.
The other big set of Sunday was by the Strokes who weren't afraid to play the hits. Their full setlist is below.
PJ Harvey (who arrives in NYC this week) played her headlining set on the "Outdoor Theatre." It overlapped with both The Strokes and Kanye...
"Backed by a nimble three piece band, Harvey, with the Strokes audible from the nearby main stage during the silences between songs, delivered the most emotionally intense performance I witnessed at this year's Coachella, singing songs of violence, war, love and lust (mostly from her harrowing new Let England Shake), before a crowd of rabid supporters...." [SPIN]a rabid supporter... (this pic not by David Andrako)...
More pictures from Sunday, below...
Kanye makes his grand entrance (this photo by David Andrako)
There were dancers, costume changes, Bon Iver...
Kanye West closed out Coachella 2011 in the only way he knows how, in a grand fashion and dedicated to his mama. We'll have more pictures and recaps from Sunday later, but in the meantime, check out more of what Kanye brought to the Indio stage, and the 27 song setlist, below...
Beach House @ ACL 2010 (more by Tim Griffin)
today in NYC
* The Ventures @ BB King's
* Meat Loaf @ Irving Plaza
* Mandingo Ambassadors @ Barbes
* White Rabbits, Caveman @ Maxwell's
* James Hunter, Jesse Dee @ City Winery
* Anne Carson, Robert Currie @ The Stone
* Chess Smith and These Arches @ Barbes
* Beach House, Papercuts @ Webster Hall
* Fred Frith, Laurie Anderson @ The Stone
* David Gray, Lisa O'Neill @ Beacon Theatre
* Apollo Run, David Rogue @ Mercury Lounge
* Broken Records, U.S. Royalty @ The Rock Shop
* Daniel Higgs, Hubble, Random Cutting @ Zebulon
* Favourite Sons, Serena Jean @ Pete's Candy Store
* Tristen, Teletextile, Springs @ Knitting Factory
* Kaki King, Pedro da Silva @ Museum of Modern Art
* Ninjasonik, Allen Ritter, Phony PPL @ Public Assembly
* Jeffrey Lewis, Peter Stampfel (WFMU 7 second delay) @ UCB
* Arms, Dinowalrus, El Topo, Bear In Heaven (DJ set) @ Pianos
* Chicago Afrobeat Project, Zongo Junction @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Gutbucket, Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Max Tundra, Junk Culture, Nite Club, George & Jonathan @ Glasslands
* Gianni Lenoci/Gianni Mimmo Duo, Ramin Arjomand @ Issue Project Room
* Religious To Damn, Greg Petersen, Man's Gin, Oscar Rodriguez @ Union Pool
* Gunfight!, Raccoon Fighter, Dead Stars, Nat Brower & The Power @ Cake Shop
* Rocky Business, Trouble Andrew, The So So Glos, Hussle Club @ Mercury Lounge
* Paul Baribeau, The Boy Who Could Fly, Emilyn Brodsky, Spoonboy @ Death By Audio
* The Big Terrific Comedy Show w/ Max Silvestri, Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate @ Cameo
* Fergus & Geronimo, Air Waves, Human Resources, Idiot Glee, Web Dating @ Monster Island Basement
Beach House and Papercuts play their first of two shows at Webster Hall tonight.
Daniel Higgs continues his Zebulon residency.
PJ Harvey, who has two shows coming up at Terminal 5, has a new video for "Let England Shake". Check that out below...
Kanye West recently the video for "All Of The Lights" ft. Rihanna, Kid Cudi. Watch that below...
"who is this arcade fire band?" - Erik
"Who the hell is Arcade Fire lol" - Hannah
"Well now I will never be able to fall asleep! Thanks Arcade Fire! By the way, who is Arcade Fire?" - Mindy B Littleton
"Who is Arcade Fire? And more importantly, where can I mail the bill when I have a seizure from their performance/ light show? #grammys" - Connelly-Anne Bartle
" Ummm arcade fire, okay?
Yeah we all totally know who those people are." - Chelsey Broussard
"Congrats to Arcade Fire for beating Eminem and Gaga, although I never heard of them before #grammys" - Tebatso Menziwa
"what the?! hell is this ? who is arcade fire?" - creole baby
"OK WTF, WHO THE HELL IS ARCADE FIRE? THE GRAMMY SHOULD HAVE GONE TO LADY GAGA OR EMINEM OR EVEN KATY PERRY" - Carlos olivares
"So Freakin mad....who the heck is Arcade Fire?!?! My god!" - abbie
"Am I the only one who doesn't know who "Arcade Fire" is?????" - Reisa
Arcade Fire just won "Album of the Year" at the Grammys. WEIRD.
P.S. The Black Keys won best alt-album.
by Ryan Barkan
Super Bowl XLV (45): Dallas Cowboys vs...oh wait....The Green Bay Packers vs the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas' brand new, state of the art, big ass stadium. The Packers won, bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to small town America and less sales back to Wiz Khalifa. I wonder if Jerry Jones was faking all of those smiles? Enough of the sports talk. This feature is the return of the long lost "Week In Music Licensing" post.
The real winner tonight - Detroit. A town that has been down on its luck, due for something inspiring to happen. Well here you go. Laura R. Charron tweeted that "#Detroit area agrees that #Chrysler200 had THE BEST commercial." Decide for yourself:
"Yes, he sleeps on fur pillows, searches for marble conference tables on eBay, and has opinions about credenzas (whatever those are), but let no one say that in 2010, Kanye West's proletarian dreams weren't equally peculiar and rich. In a year of economic suffering and disastrous unemployment rates, West interrupted his own wealthy anomie to pen "All of the Lights," an incongruously star-stuffed song about a disoriented parolee trying to beat a restraining order and see his daughter, working out a brief reunion with her estranged mother: "Public visitation, we met at Borders." Shortly thereafter, the bookstore declared a real-life liquidity crisis and delayed payments to vendors, who in turn stopped sending the store books; bankruptcy proceedings may even now be pending." [Village Voice]Cee Lo Green won best single. Full results of this year's critics poll at the Village Voice.
Gucci Mane at the last (?) Pool Party (more by Chris Doss)
Rapper Gucci Mane has been ordered to undergo psychiatric tests, following an Atlanta court appearance on a charge he violated terms of his probation. Radric Davis, the rapper's real name, appeared before Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger on Monday. Davis' attorney, Michael Holmes, filed a special plea of mental incompetency on behalf of Davis, who has battled drug problems in the past. The rapper was sent to Anchor Hospital, a 111-bed psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment facility in Atlanta. Records show Davis has been in the Fulton County Jail at least five times since 2005 on drug, aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges. His court appearance stemmed from a November altercation. [AP]It also hasn't been the greatest of days for Gucci Mane's protege Wacka Flocka Flame, who surrendered to the police in connection with drugs and weapons charges. Wacka Flocka Flame's "No Hands" currently sits at #4 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Chart.
Also coming up at BB King's: Ice Cube.
SOB's hosts Joe Budden on on January 23rd.
Those on the West Coast can catch Joe, along with Crooked I, Joell Ortiz and Royce Da 5'9" on Saturday, April 2, 2011, as Slaughterhouse have been added to the the sixth annual Paid Dues Festival along with Black Star, Immortal Technique and Murs. Slaughterhouse will drop a six song EP on E1 next month.
And last but not least, two humourous Kanye West-related videos are making the rounds, and you can watch both of them, below...
MIA at Brooklyn Bowl (more by Chris Gersbeck)
M.I.A. released ("leaked") a new mixtape at 7pm EST on New Year's Eve. It features b-sides and rarities and is called Vicki Leekx. The nineteen song mix (which is actually a single track) features production from M.I.A., Danja, Munchi, Diplo, Blaqstarr, Switch, Rusko, Sugu Arulpragasam and So Japan.. Download it for the price of an email address.
Vicki Leekx (rhymes with Wiki Leaks) is the follow-up to 2010's / \ / \ / \ Y / \, which was recently awarded 5th "Most Underrated Album" of 2010 in the Pitchfork Readers Poll. MGMT were #1 on that list. MGMT were also #14 on the list of "Most Overrated" artists, and they have a new release this week too. Daytrotter released a live session by them today.
You can probably guess who got #1 on the "Most Overrated" list. Both Pitchfork lists in full and the VICKYLEEKX track list, below...
And the winner is... (obviously) Kanye West. Pitchfork posted their annual much-talked-about list of the best albums of 2010. Much like Rolling Stone, SPIN and others, Kanye's new album topped the list. Pitchfork's recipient for best song of the year, Ariel Pink, landed the 9th best album. Wavves, who they dissed pretty hard in 2009, was given the #50 spot this year (Best Coast got #39). Metal was represented by Kylesa at #44 (BBG's #21). You can scan the whole list below...
Both Rolling Stone and Spin Magazines have released their top LPs of the year. Guess who tops them both? Full lists below....
Cam, Jimmy, and Julez of Dipset at Hammerstein (via)
[For] ...the Diplomats -- Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Freekey Zekey -- ...this was the reunion show [for a crew]... torn asunder a few years ago by petty animus and financial accusations back and forth, survivors of arrests and family struggles, but now brought back together for another chance at harmony, if not quite world domination.Yes, the New York Times was in attendance when The Diplomats staged their triumphant reunion at Hammerstein Ballroom on Friday, 11/26, the day after Thanksgiving. In addition to the core quartet of Jones, Santana, Zekey, and Killa Cam, Hammerstein's stage was blessed by the requisite surprise appearances from Dipset crew members Hell Rell, 40 Cal, and JR Writer in addition to an appearance from Black Rob (he of "Whoa" fame, who also appeared at the Duck Down Anniversary). The Dipset crew reportedly covered upwards of 50 songs over the evening (snippet or otherwise).
For the last decade, the Diplomats have been synonymous with Harlem -- even if some of its members have moved elsewhere. In an era in which New York is decreasingly central to hip-hop's landscape, as a group and as solo acts they have been regionalist holdouts, sticking close to the stylistically flamboyant street rap pioneered by Cam'ron and tweaked by the rest.
At almost three hours this rapturously received concert, sponsored by the hip-hop radio station Hot 97 (WQHT-FM), was a tribute to the persistent power of geographic mythology. Every summer Hot 97 hosts the giant Summer Jam concert, in which the Diplomats, local heroes infiltrating what is effectively a national stage, tend to get short shrift. This raucous night was the group's own Summer Jam, full of hits and obscurities and split into five parts: first, an opening group set; then three solo sets, by Jim Jones, then Juelz Santana, then Cam'ron; then everyone reunited to close the show. -[New York Times]
If you missed Juelz at Hammerstein on 11/26, maybe you caught him at Hammerstein.... on 11/25. Santana made a surprise appearance at the Fabolous/Nicki Minaj show alongside another not-so-surprise performer, Kanye West who "played" the Thanksgiving Parade earlier that day and a show with the help pf Nicki at Bowery Ballroom a few days earlier. Santana appeared with Fab for "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley" while West again appeared with Minaj for "Monster" from his new album.
Videos from both Hammerstein shows below...
today in NYC
* Keiku Matsui @ Blue Note
* Nicki Minaj @ Hammerstein Ballroom
* Arlo Guthrie, Gladys Knight, India Arie, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Kylie Minogue, Macy Gray, Kool Aid Man, Kanye West & more @ The Thanksgiving Day Parade
SuperVegan lists where to eat today.
Kanye West is supposedly playing a Justin Vernon song in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but unfortunately, though Justin did come to town to play his parts at the Bowery show, he didn't stick around long enough to make an encore appearance.
UPDATE: A video of Kanye's "performance" in the parade, waving people dressed as the Statue of Liberty included, below...
AM NY: Because of your solo career, Junip has had to take many breaks over the years. Was there any time you thought that a hiatus might be permanent?today in NYC
Jose Gonzalez: I think we weren't dramatic enough to call it quits. Once in a while we talked about getting together and giv[ing] the band a proper try, so I guess we felt that it would happen someday.
AM NY: You create your songs through group improvisation. Do you have a great "aha! Moment" when you you've hit on something?
Jose Gonzalez: When we improvise we do get aha! moments all the time and that's when we start recording. But it's only afterwards that we realize if it's crap or gold. We have a lot of gigabytes of crap. We continue working on the sketches and at the last minute I write the lyrics at home.
AM NY: What made you decide to write lyrics in English as opposed to Swedish?
Jose Gonzalez: When I started to write when I was 14, I just what everyone else did. It's very common for Swedish bands to sing in English. Swedish felt too direct while English was more enigmatic, but now that aspect is gone since we're touring mainly in English-speaking countries. So now it's only because of habit -- we'll see what I'll write in the future.
AM NY: On the website, you guys discuss each track from the album in detail, but some musicians are reluctant to share that process. What made you open to it?
Jose Gonzalez: I think it depends on what you're saying about each track. With lyrics I like some sense of mystery, that's why I usually don't explain in detail what I mean. But if you're talking about anecdotes of the recording sessions or some nerdy facts about our sound then it doesn't matter at all.
* Bruxos @ Barbes
* Jen Shyu @ Barbes
* Bob Dylan @ Terminal 5
* Ken Filiano @ The Stone
* Gino Sitson @ The Stone
* Chrisette Michele @ BB Kings
* Ryan Francesconi @ Sycamore
* Paul Oakenfold @ Roseland Ballroom
* Junip, Lost in the Trees @ Irving Plaza
* Mucky Pup & Murphy's Law @ Mexicali Live (NJ)
* Mussels, The Zoobombs, Hard Nips @ The Rock Shop
* Kidding on the Square, Bocat, Daniel Wayne @ Southpaw
* Free Energy, Foxy Shazam, Hollerado @ Bowery Ballroom
* Delorean, Lemonade, Light Pollution @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Viva L'american Death Ray Machine, DJ Inspektor Strawberry Soda Pop @ Zebulon
* Grimace Federation, Jason Fraticelli & The Wet Dreams, Caveman, Becca Schack @ Mercury Lounge
* Twin Shadow (DJ set), Computer Magic, Hooray For Earth, The Vandelles, Paul and the Patients @ Pianos
Ray Davies is no longer playing the Beacon tonight.
SuperVegan lists where to eat on Thanksgiving.
"Great show. Though, totally unnecessary 3+ hour wait to get in." - Anonymous
Nicki Minaj & Kanye West @ Bowery Ballroom (photo by Questlove)
Kanye West played his entire new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy from start to finish, followed by a four song encore Tuesday night at the intimate Bowery Ballroom in NYC where Kanye literally brought in "all of the lights" (there were lots of lights). The show started with people who weren't Diddy (he walked right in) waiting on a long line. The show ended with Kanye going on a rant about racism, George Bush, Taylor Swift, the Today Show, etc. Audio of that final portion can be streamed below.
Album guest stars Kid Cudi, Raekwon, Jay-Z and RZA were nowhere to be found, but Terena Taylor, Bon Iver aka Justin Vernon (who might appear again with Kanye in the Thanksgiving Day Parade), Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj (who plays Hammerstein Ballroom on Thanksgiving), Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beatz, and John Legend (whose friend Questlove was in the balcony taking pictures) all performed at the show that started around 12:40am and was was over by around 2:15. Full setlist, videos and that audio below...
"Dear New York and Me, we won't forget this will we? Oh shit." - J Vern, 5pm EST
Justin Vernon @ MHOW in January (more by Paul Birman)
This Thursday, while the rest of us are pounding down turkey, Mr. West will be performing on a float during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Parade reps tell MTV News that the rapper, whose new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was released on Monday, is set to perform "Lost in the World"--a somber track that features Bon Iver--during the parade. There's been no announcement as to whether falsetto-voiced Justin Vernon of Bon Iver will be joining West, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.Kanye West (and Justin Vernon?) play Bowery Ballroom tonight.
Kanye will travel along the parade route on the New York Daily News Big Apple float. "The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and of course Macy's Herald Square, share the landscape with New York's signature taxi cabs and subway stations on the New York Daily News Big Apple float," the reps said. "With a giant, 30-foot inflatable apple at its core, the float perfectly represents the frenzied and bustling city." [MySpace]
Joanna Newsom @ Bowery Ballroom in 2004 (more)
today in NYC
* Bob Dylan @ Terminal 5
* Marc Ribot @ The Stone
* Nat Baldwin @ Sycamore
* Jenny Scheinman @ Barbes
* Steve Martin @ Barnes & Noble
* Kanye West @ Bowery Ballroom
* Joanna Newsom @ Carnegie Hall
* Delta Spirit, Darker My Love, The Fling @ Webster Hall
* MC Chris, MC Lars, Schaffer The Darklord @ Knitting Factory
* Matthew Dear, GAMES, Noveller @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Lloyd Banks, Theo Martins, Homeboy Sandman @ Best Buy Theater
* Diamond Doves, Vandaveer, The Nico Blues, Open Road Love Affair @ Glasslands
* Hey Battlefield, My Cousin The Emperor, Robbers On High Street @ Bowery Electric
* Manawi Thorn, Ice Machine & Swift, Bridge Farmers, Fake Hooker @ Death By Audio
* Walter Schriefels, Todd Barry, Dave Hill, Palomar, Melody Lane All-Stars @ Rock Shop
Luckily for Kanye West, Idlewild and The Happy Hollows cancelled their show at Bowery Ballroom tonight.
New Sufjan Stevens video below...
"Kanye reacts to getting a 10.0" (pic by Hipster Runoff)
As I retweeted earlier Monday night, TEYANA M.J. TAYLOR (who is "all over his new album") spilled the beans. "Just got to rehersals for my performance with mr Ye West tomorrow at the Bowery Ballroom 2morr. Dark Fantasy Baby!!!," she wrote. She since followed it up with a retweet of her own too. "At rehearsals with @TEYANATAYLOR & @KANYEWEST for their show tomorrow. They both just sat here and made another hit too..smh GENIUS," said Mo-Barz. And if rumors are true, it will be a full album performance of his (perfect?) new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. How does one get in?
That I have no idea (at the moment anyway). UPDATE: There are tickets.
To be clear, Kanye West is not Michael Jackson. As he told MTV last month, "I do have a goal in this lifetime to be the greatest artist of all time, [but] that's very difficult being that I can't dance or sing." He ended the thought with a laugh, but you get the impression he's not kidding. Unlike Michael, he's not interested in scrubbing away bits of himself-- his blackness, his candidness-- to appease the masses. And while Jackson's own twisted fantasies of paranoia and betrayal eventually consumed him whole, West is still aware of his illusions, though that mindfulness becomes increasingly unmoored with each newspaper-splashing controversy. The balance is tenuous, but right now it's working to his advantage. On Twisted Fantasy, Kanye is crazy enough to truly believe he's the greatest out there. And, about a decade into his career, the hardworking perfectionist has gained the talent on the mic and in the control room to make a startlingly strong case for just that.PREVIOUSLY: NY Times says Kanye West 'seems virtually incapable of making a bad album'
[Ryan Dombal, Pitchfork, Best New Music]
"...On Monday West, who is 33, will release his fifth album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), and it's terrific -- of course it's terrific -- a startlingly maximalist take on East Coast rap traditionalism. And yet that doesn't matter nearly as much as it should, at least partly because of West's insistence on his own greatness. By not allowing for responses to his work other than awe, the value of the work itself is diminished; it becomes an object of admiration, not of study. Instead the focus is on the whole of West's persona and character, which is more fractured and subject to a far wider range of responses. The result is that West becomes a polarizing public figure who happens to be the most artful pop musician of the day, not the other way around."Runaway" video below...
Nevertheless, West seems virtually incapable of making a bad record. He's committed to pop, and he's savvy and talented enough to make it great, every time. What's more, for him to make something other than a universally accepted smash would be a thing that his ego couldn't bear. Every Kanye West album, until the cancer of the world around him begins to encroach on the parts of his cerebral cortex that control his musical ear, will be excellent and huge. He'll never have an idiosyncratic period.
Even at his most extreme, West isn't an experimenter. His music is ornate, ostentatious, curious and vivacious. But risky? No. All of his fiddling is within recognized formulas. A producer as well as a rapper, West controls all of the major elements of his songs, unlike other artists who have to rely on their taste (or their record label's taste) in outside producers or songwriters.
To work on this album he retreated to Hawaii, as he did during the making of his previous album. And West's gravitational pull is such that he can import talent. Rick Ross, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Nicki Minaj -- they all made the trip to make music that will appear on the album. The spooky indie folky Justin Vernon from Bon Iver spoke of smoking marijuana with Rick Ross on one of his three sojourns to Hawaii to work with West, about as surreal a tableau as has been created in the making of any pop album this year." [JON CARAMANICA, Sunday New York Times]