Gaaah yes I know Kanye did the VH1 Storytellers nearly a month ago, but I never had the time to comment on it. And, with one of my papers handed in today at 3:58 before the 4:00 deadline, I decided to take a break. Amongst movies, music, and dance parties, I re-watched Kanye’s performance on VH1 and it is sooo much better than the first time, which was already pretty rad.

I relish the fact that an artist of this generation has finally re-appropriated the terms entertainer, performer, and artist. All we see and have seen in the past is just the stage, artist, and equipment. Music was just music for these bands. But, then you see people like Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy, Rufus Wainwright, Simian Mobile Disco, and Daft Punk–amongst many others–project their music with more than just the simple violin, guitar, mic, and decks and mixers.

Kanye West, I think, is one of those artists that have taken music and live performances to the next level. I remember seeing his Glow in the Dark a year or so ago, and it was JUST Kanye on stage. No supporting rappers. No MC on the decks. Nothing. Just him and this ridiculous stage illuminating the journey through space that we were going to share with Kanye. He was super stylin’ as usual, wearing one of his millions of sunglasses, rad kicks, and a khaki colored outfit which he refused to take off despite how much it was making him sweat. It was amazing. Never have I seen a hip-hop show break the conventional boundaries of what a live show should look like. But then again, Kanye is a contemporary hip-hop which allows him to do what he does with his shows.


Kanye projects his music as art, not just sound. He is the epithet of the adage “a picture can mean 1000 words”, reversed. At award shows and shows like VH1 Storytellers, everything is calculated. Not only does Kanye look immaculate but so do his supporting orchestra. The aesthetics are so fresh so clean down to the thread of their shoes to the polished faces of the supporting band. The visuals too, my god, just amazing. The set up for VH1 is incredible.

The standards this man sets for himself are astronomically high. The aesthetics and the product that he creates have to be the best of the best of the best. He wants no less for himself nor anyone else he works with. And when these standards are met, when expectations so high are so far exceeded, pompous labels of the sort need to be rethought of in context. This is a man that immerses himself in culture, not just hip-hip culture, for inspiration. This is an artist that reads music blogs and comments on them personally, he twitters, he facebooks, he blogs and keeps up with his fans, genuinely. It ain’t no hired dude pretending to be Kanye. I wonder if he even sleeps.

He grows every day, albeit with some things like recognizing that gay people are people too, come a bit late, it’s better late than never. He’s one of the most dynamic artists out there and if this VH1 storytellers does not persuade you, well, to each their own but you’re missing out on being a part of history. Cheesy I know. But it’s the truth.

Below are a few of my favorite performances of the night. The stage set up is just RIDIC. Wow.

Video: Kanye West – Flashing Lights (Live at VH1 Storytellers)

Video: Kanye West – Heartless (Live at VH1 Storytellers)

The ending of this is just incredible.  I won’t ever forget some of the stuff he says:

“Does this hurtful comment have a receipt?”

“50 look at me now, singing on the ground. With my pink shirt on. Does this look gay to you? Well I don’t know what else to say to you…look at me now. I’m on the ground. And my heart cannot still be found…’cause I’ve looked all around. And my heart will never be found…”

For the entire VH1 storytellers, click here.
For the VH1 storytellers music, click here.
Buy Kanye’s music here.

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