Kanye West’s ambitious Yeezus show hit Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last night, hours after we watched him disregard basic motorcycle safety in “Bound 2.” West’s set naturally focused on his visceral and abrasive Yeezus; save for “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” he didn’t perform any cuts from his first three albums until 90+ minutes into the show. And that meant the biggest cheers came during the last half hour. But first, during “Runaway,” the rapper slowed things down to deliver one of his trademark rants. West hates when the media calls these rants — and he’s right that a clearly-not-impromptu and partially Auto-Tuned monologue is not necessarily a rant — but this one was a screamy, 10-minute indictment of “dreamkillers” and a former executive of a “multi-billion dollar company” (??) who tried to give him advice. A transcript:
I got off the phone with this one dude. I guess he used to run a multi-billion dollar company or something like that and he had some advice for me, right. He said, “I don’t approve of your methods in your interviews lately.” He said he only saw one person before who ever really pulled this off and that was Muhammad Ali. But he said if he could just give me some advice, he doesn’t approve of the way I’m going about things as of late. And when anybody that’s supposed to have a lot of money talks to me and they give me advice, I call that free advice, because they’re trying to tell me what to do and they ain’t cut no check yet. If I look to the side of me, or the other side of me, or if I look to the Internet or if I’m reading, and I don’t see somebody that 36-years-old that made it this far with nobody that told they couldn’t do it this much. Because the people that give me advice… I don’t see them rocking for 15,000 motherfuckers in Brooklyn tonight.
And I don’t know if y’all have heard of [Nikola] Tesla, and I’m not talking about the car, I’m talking about the inventor. Or if y’all ever heard about [Alejandro] Jodorowsky, the director who made Holy Mountain. But there’s so many amazing creative inventors who weren’t recognized in their time. And if I’ve got the voice and I’ve got the opportunity to turn up in these interviews, I just have to look and say, “What do I have to lose?” What do I have to lose? We only have everything to gain. So don’t ever let them make you think for one moment that I’m going insane. Because I sit back and see shit and think “Am I the only one that’s not crazy?” But every celebrity is so goddamn scared of losing everything, that they won’t ever say nothing to you. And y’all see that shit too. I gotta keep it so true for you…
Because when I say “creative genius,” I’m not saying that as a compliment to myself. I’m saying that because it’s a burden to myself when these ideas keep me up at night. When you wanna give the world more and your ideas keep you up at night. When you wanna give the world so much more, so much more. And then nobody runs Disney comes and sees this tour. And nobody that runs Disney comes and sees this tour. They’d rather see the headline and be on some bullshit than to give me one little chance. Than to give me one little, little, little chance. Than to give me one little chance despite the advance out of Tesla’s basement, despite the advance out of me saying Jodorowsky’s name and ya’ll don’t know who the fuck he is when everybody copied off of him… And there’s gonna be motherfuckers in this arena in a few months dancing all sloppy off of him…
I love y’all so much you don’t even understand. Because y’all help me to talk all this shit. Because when I be on the phone with these people that used to run companies and they’re trying to tell me how to be me, y’all give me the power to talk my shit. And I swear to you, this is only the motherfucking beginning. And anybody who [says], “Oh, he’s the best of rap.” That’s racist. And that’s pigeonholing. That’s pigeonholing. That’s pigeonholing and putting motherfuckers in a box. And putting creative niggas in a box.
He delivered this all while wearing that jeweled mask that makes his head look like a disco ball.
In an otherwise deliberately choreographed performance, this real talk was nothing if not fun to witness. Yeezus returns to Barclays tonight, with A Tribe Called Quest in place of last night’s opener Kendrick Lamar. See the newly rescheduled itinerary here.
“I Am A God” in Brooklyn:
And bonus WTF (via Complex):
This dude is face timing with his girl during performance of bound-2 lollllllll pic.twitter.com/9OhNLIWDbh
— Wil Fry (@WF) November 20, 2013