by Ama Debrah
|Are you there Jesus? It’s me, Yeezus.|
As you may already know, I’m a huge fan of Kanye. Don’t even try to tell me that he’s not the one of the best rappers currently in the game, because I may have to pour my drink on you. Yes, after the masterpiece that was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, listening to Kanye’s most recent release, Yeezus, is about as stimulating as being hit with a damp Chipotle napkin repeatedly, (just being real), but it does not change the fact that Kanye is a genius and deserves to be his egomaniacal self.
So when I saw that he was performing his first solo tour in FIVE YEARS at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, I did not hesitate to shell out probably as much money as my soul is worth to buy tickets, albeit in the second to last row. However, I did not have high expectations for the show. Why you may ask?
- I knew that Kanye would be wearing a bejeweled full-face mask for the majority, if not the entirety, of the show.
- I knew there was a high chance that he would only play songs from Yeezus.
- I also knew that there was a very good chance that the entire concert would turn into a large rant about Fox News, SNL, or something of that nature.
- I accepted the fact that he might not come out from back stage at all.
With these acknowledgments in mind, I made my way to MSG on a Sunday night. Regardless of what happened in the next three hours, I told myself I would always be Kanye’s fan. And in the meantime, I could blame whatever shit show I was about to see on Kim Kardashian.
Although Kendrick Lamar was the original opener, the opening number turned out to be the iconic A Tribute Called Quest, whose performance was so good that it basically destroyed everyone in the audience. After they finished their set, I settled back in my seat, fully expecting Kanye to come out at least an hour late.
To my extreme surprise, at nine o’clock on the dot the lights in MSG went out, and a huge mountain appeared on stage. A mass of white robed women back-up dancers with nylons stocking covering their faces then walked down this mountain to the tune of Gregorian chants. And then, before everyone starting running out of the theater in pure terror, Kanye descended down the mountain wearing – surprise – a full face-mask and began rapping to the opener of Yeezus, “On Sight.” As the crowd began to shout, “YEEZY SEASON APPROACHIN,” I realized that this concert was full of people like myself: die-hard fans that shelled out an entire paycheck for these tickets and who would sing every verse of every rap until they destroyed their vocal chords. Therefore, instead of a concert, the whole situation turned into more of a sing-a-long.
|Oh my Yeezus.|
After “On Sight,” Kanye launched into “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead.” But before my fears that he would only be performing the ten songs on Yeezus were confirmed, the front part of the triangular stage rose up into something looking like Pride Rock, and Kanye began to sing his lesser-known single from 808s & Heartbreak, “Coldest Winter,” which Kanye revealed was about the death of his mom.
An hour and a half into the concert, I was thoroughly enjoying myself (though I had yet to see Kanye’s face), and the most bizarre thing that had happened was that some creature resembling a gray lion with red eyes stalked around stage for about ten minutes with no explanation. And then, after performing “Runaway,” Kanye asked the crowd if he could say a few words.
YES, I thought, BESTOW YOUR MORSELS OF WISDOM AND GENIUS UPON THE MASSES. So Kanye began to talk, and talk, and talk for about twenty minutes. About what, you may ask? Here’re a few choice quotes from the master himself:
“I don’t give a f* about looking cool!”
“They got this shit called Kool Aid…”
“Y’all heard anything in the press where they tryna call me stupid?”
“You know who’s f*ing it up for everyone? Marc Jacobs!”
“I ain’t Tupac!”
“MUTHAF*ING $10,000 PAIR OF JEANS F* FASHION.”
And so forth. The crowd was confused, but I can’t say that anyone was very surprised. Then Jesus appeared on stage.
Yes, a man dressed up clearly as Jesus walked on stage, and Kanye bowed in front of him and finally, after two hours, took his mask off. (Side note: How exactly do you advertise for a Jesus look-alike? “Need man that resembles Jesus for rap concert,” possibly?) Kanye then launched into a show-stopping performance of his old-school classics, “Jesus Walks,” “Stronger,” and “Good Life.” Once Kanye took the mask off, he also got rid of his affectations. He thanked the crowd for coming out, told everyone to believe in themselves, and even gave the mike to a dude in the audience during the last song, his latest single “Bound 2.”
Although Kanye did not play some pretty big hits, like the quintessential “Gold Digger,” frankly Kanye has too many hits to play them all in a two-and-a-half hour concert. While I wished that Kanye had taken off his mask earlier in the show and maybe played some more from College Dropout, I left MSG satisfied and reaffirmed in my belief that Kanye is a genius.
Ama Debrah is a senior at Barnard and Contributing Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.