Kanye West deconstructed some of the music world’s most toxic complications on stage in London last night. During a 10-minute soliloquy that was entirely eerie, Kanye asked the big questions about corporate-sponsored concerts and business-driven art. “I came here for the creativity more than anything … I hate business people,” said Kanye. “The people like, what kind of business is he doing? What’s the numbers? How much can you sell? What’s the radio spins? How much shampoo can you sell with your face on it and shit?”
Pacing an enormous stage, backed by bare keys, between each series of these big questions, Kanye came back to same haunting refrain: “Remind me again why we in this shit? Remind me again why we in this shit? Remind me again why we in this shit?”
Kanye continued: “Since when was making music about getting rich? Since when was making art about getting rich?” This didn’t come without his privilege-check (“I know its easy for me to say”) but it still resonated hard when he screamed: “Every motherfucking sponsorship! They trying to put their logos on every concert and shit!”
The most haunting moment was when Kanye held his head up, like he was praying or something, enacting a scene where he’d be begging a corporation for money, shining some light on how fucking crazy insane and scary it is that artists are so dependent on corporate checks:
So, you gonna help me put on a better show, corporations? Can you please support me? Please? Me, Kanye West. I swear I’m a nice leader now. I swear I’ll put the pink polo back on. I swear to you. Please. Just for $3 million. I need it so bad. I need a pool in my backyard! So I’ll tell all my fans your shit is cool. And if they believe in me, then they’ll also believe in you. ‘Did we get the check yet? I gotta call the business manager. Did the corporations send the check? What is my public rating? Are people liking me again? Enough to get some money from the corporations? They forgot about the whole Beyoncé thing, right? Cool. Is it OK now?’
Watch the whole clip below.