Kanye West plays Barclays Center Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It's crazy to think that, as recently as a decade ago, there was a time when he wasn't absolutely everywhere. And yet, even in those days, he was still lurking, just a bit beneath the surface. So here are five early Kanye clips you probably haven't seen.
YouTube screengrab Kanye in 2003
See also: Six Rare Early Jay-Z AppearancesMore »
It's OK to be a white person who is frustrated by Kanye West. That might seem obvious, but the aftermath of West's epic Twitter rant against Jimmy Kimmel necessitates it be reiterated. The feud is nothing more than the clash of two pop personalities, but it became something much bigger than that. On Twitter and elsewhere, Kimmel was labeled as being emblematic of racism in America. Ergo, white America criticizing West correlates to racism. This is not only wrong, it gives defenders of West an easy way out of a complex issue.
Producer/engineer extraordinaire Mike Dean has worked with Tupac and Rap-A_Lot's best. But he's perhaps best known for having worked on every Kanye West album (save 808 & Heartbreaks--the only Kanye album not to win a Grammy). Currently in New York to work on "a few projects," we talked to Dean about Ye's creative process and Yeezus (on which Dean produced my personal faves "Guilt Trip" and "Hold My Liquor").
Tupac to Kanye; they're all on the Dean's List.
Thank God for the remix. Without it Dead Prez and Kanye West may never have established a working relationship and thus shared a certain kinship. Although his contribution to the seminal Dead Prez debut Let's Get Free was just a remix to their most popular song, the bass heavy "Hip Hop," (a beat so infectious Dave Chappelle kicked every episode of his short-lived comedy show with) the seemingly small contribution led to things bigger than Hip Hop.
Fuck the police, that's how I treat 'em...
See also: Kanye West Gets Dark and Political on SNL
With headliners at music festivals you have to be of supreme dedication to get to the front row. Being dedicated means waiting by the barrier all day just to stay close and be in the middle of it all.
With Kanye West, who played Sunday night's headlining spot at Governors Ball, his unpredictability and mythology can have an effect on how you go about responding to your environment and general spectrum of emotions you feel throughout the day. Waiting six hours to see him live can take a toll on your psyche and involves six very important stages. Through academic research (sort of) and a lack of shame, we decided to investigate exactly what it means to wait that long to get kind of close to Kanye West.More »
Kanye West surprised and disappointed many fans (and non-fans) last week after releasing the very stark CD cover art for his controversially-named newest album, YEEZUS. After a string of album covers featuring broken hearts, flying cartoon bears, and film-noir doorway stances, we celebrate Kanye's new appreciation for minimalism. And we celebrate the rejects too, which Kanye was nice enough to sketch out and send to us via gold-plated, diamond-encrusted carrier pigeon. But that pigeon was a dove. And that dove was in the Illuminati. Praise YEEZUS
Def Jam Records
In true finale fashion, Saturday Night Live didn't mess around with the season's closing episode--and the musical guest successfully (and rightfully) upstaged not only the host and the cast and every single performer that hit the stage before him in recent memory, but the departure of STEFON, and that's saying something.
Friday, Kanye used the fronts of 66 buildings as the collective canvas for debuting "New Slaves," the first single off his forthcoming Yeezus. Saturday night, imagery played a huge part not only with "New Slaves" but "Black Skinhead" on SNL, the first time this season that visuals were incorporated into the musical guest's performance. Though the snapping jaws of a pack of wolves and "NOT FOR SALE" graphics served as brazen and impossible to ignore backdrops for Kanye, the rapper d e c i m a t e d SNL and any expectations viewers could've possibly had for his new material and how that'd play out in such a controlled setting. That stage transformed into the floor of an arena last night, one that broadcast the beats and drops that'll serve as the blueprint for countless playlists and copycats in the coming months.More »