Kanye West put on a “melodious and moody” performance at the MoMA in NYC. Apparently, there were times he was so subdued that it looked like he was dour, even irritated at points, but instead of that being a negative thing — it turned into one of his most passionate performances to date.
The crowd was filled with well-dressed and important people, he took the stage in a hoodie, white t-shirt, and jeans. He played darker songs from his catalogue, and seemed to stretch and chew on every one of them, making them all fit his mood.
He’s sometimes known for ranting at certain points in his shows, making impromptu speeches, and this one was no different in that fact, and yet what he had to say landed a more powerful note:
“Thank you for loving me when they told you not to love me,” he half-sang, through an Auto-Tune-like effect, rendering him an emotional cyborg. “I’m sorry about anybody out there that had to fight for me,” he sang. “Do you know what it feels like to be hated, do you know what it feels like to be degraded?” There was more, about his alleged racism, about branding and marketing, about his late mother: “I know she’s smiling down.”
And then this:
But then something surprising happened: he didn’t dwell. Instead, he brought out a surprise guest, Jay-Z, one of the few people who it seems can lift Mr. West’s mood. Together they performed the riotous “H·A·M,” a song that feels disjointed on record, but had just the right amount of mayhem for this moment. Then Jay-Z performed “Empire State of Mind,” typically a limp anthem, but here a palliative. Mr. West, unburdened, rapped along and smiled.
That. Sounds. Incredible.
We wish we could have seen that performance, for sure. It sounds like it truly was a sincere departure from having to constantly put on mega-shows where the energy is required to be high the whole time.
We also can’t help but wonder if there will ever be another performance from him like it, if this is going to be a shift into how he plays his next shows for a while. If we were to guess, though, we’d say this was a very rare occasion, and those who got to see it are super lucky.