Entertain me: the Yeezy experience
by Natasa Kvesic |
A couple of days ago, I started writing a thoroughly positive and insightful reaction to Kanye West’s premiere of his latest collaboration with Adidas (Yeezy Season 3) and his seventh studio album: “The Life of Pablo.”
But, since Kanye is Kanye (and he can’t shut his mouth for literally one second), I am here to share my anger-fueled views on his recent behavior, but also the history he has made in the past week.
Last Thursday, Kanye sold out Madison Square Garden to showcase his new fashion collection and to play TLOP for the first time.
Let’s start by setting the scene.
I was sitting in the library on Feb. 11, just working on my finite math homework, anticipating the premiere of Yeezy Season 3.
For me, doing homework an hour before history was to be made was simply excruciating. I began to make holes in my paper out of pure anger as I calculated linear regression after linear regression.
Impatient and fed up with everything in the world (because the world was obviously against me) I whipped my computer open and got on Pitchfork to see if the show was magically going to start because I was completely tuned in.
Ten minutes into my whining, the show began. The Kardashians walked in first and the crowd went into a frenzy. Then the main man of the night walked in, completely casual, backed by some of the GOOD Music crew: Pusha T, Travi$ Scott and 2 Chainz.
Just like a DJ at a club, Kanye got up to his Mac and started playing what would be known as the first song of “The Life of Pablo,” a gospel infused trip to heaven called “Ultralight Beam.”
I swear watching it was an out-of-body experience. I felt like I was being lifted somewhere else. Kanye had said that this album was going to be a gospel album: He was right.
The first song was packed with a gospel choir, a sample of a four-year-old child reciting a prayer, features from Chance the Rapper, The Dream, Kelly Price and acclaimed gospel artist Kirk Franklin, ending the song with a prayer.
I had no expectations for the show, I had no clue what the new Yeezy Season was going to look like and sure as hell wasn’t expecting that great of an opener. I proceeded to break down in tears.
The entire show was pure art, my friends. If you did not watch this live stream then I am so sorry. Kanye is a master of his craft, and his craft has been growing — no — spreading into multiple areas. He is fulfilling his dreams.
Yeezy Season 3 wasn’t its usual monotone, yawn-worthy colors. It was bright, in your face and loud. Just like his new album. The models were casually standing on this enormous stage, with Kanye’s new music just blaring over the speakers, creating an experience that can only be described as magical.
Even though the show was breathtaking, there were some questionable moments. I mean, what is a Yeezy show without some kind of controversy?
First, Kanye led the whole crowd into a “f**k Nike” chant. Nice one!
Second, that one lyric about Taylor Swift? And later lying about having her permission to say that? Oh yeah, oops.
Third, the lyric about Kim and Ray J in “Famous?” Dude, come on.
Fourth, Frank Ocean is alive! (This wasn’t bad or anything like that, but I mean he hasn’t released an album yet, but he decides to hop on Ye’s record and show up to the premiere. Why you got to play us like that Frank?)
Now, I’m going to fast forward a little bit.
Kanye was set to perform on Saturday Night Live. Even though he did premiere his new album that Thursday, he announced Saturday morning through Twitter that it wasn’t ready to be released yet because fellow Chicago artist, Chance the Rapper, held him in the studio Friday night to finish recording a song called “Waves.”
That same night, when the song was officially done, Chance posted a photo of the final tracklist for the album.
What followed was mass hysteria. We NEEDED to hear “The Life of Pablo” in its entirety before Kanye did any kind of live performance. This was crazy. He decided to change the order of the songs, he added “No More Parties In L.A.” and then his Twitter was an absolute hell hole.
Soon the album cover artwork was changed from saying “The Life Of Pablo” to “Blame Chance,” until that night, when Kanye performed at SNL.
Joined by Young Thug, A$AP Bari, The-Dream and R&B singers El DeBarge and Kelly Price for the first song he performed: “Highlights,” all the fans who were complaining about not having the album yet were silenced by the gospel powered song.
But the real showstopper of the night was the second song that Kanye performed, his collaboration with Chance the Rapper: “Ultralight Beam.” From being backed by a gospel choir, leaving the front of the stage open to showcase the amazing vocals of The-Dream and Chance, and ending with a sermon from gospel musician Kirk Franklin … it was beyond any of my imaginations.
Then it got better.
Fueled up by his performances of the night — where he was smiling and dancing like a wild man — Kanye quickly screamed that the album was officially available to stream on Tidal. Since this was on East Coast time, I had no clue that the album had come out, until multiple friends and the holy grail of music news, Pitchfork, informed me.
I will not disclose what happened after that. Let’s just say there was a lot of crying, uncontrollable laughing and sitting on my bed staring at the wall because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for “The Life Of Pablo.”
Now I won’t go into an album review, that can be saved for later and will most likely be on my secret Kanye blog (oops, not secret anymore), but I will say that despite Kanye’s scumbag behavior lately, I have massive respect for him as an artist and a game-changing creator.
So, as an ode to a song from his masterpiece “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” I say we raise a glass to the scumbags and recognize them for their absolute brilliance.
Natasa Kvesic is a staff writer for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.