When my parents said I couldn’t go to the Madison Square Garden show of the Watch the Throne tour sophomore year of high school, I cried for about a week. I dropped way too much money on floor tickets for the Yeezus tour my senior year—thank you, Hanukah Harry. I got strep throat after waiting for nine hours—some of that in the rain—at Made in America my freshman year at Penn just to see his short set. We’ll blame the shortly thereafter contracted mono on that, too.
I think we can all agree that Kanye West is more than just your average billboard artist. Also a songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, writer, director, fashion designer and self–proclaimed “god” and “visionary", West always manages to be in the public eye.
On Thursday, February 11th, West managed to captivate the public yet again with the release of his seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo. Yeezus himself debuted the album at Madison Square Garden at about 4:30 p.m., but streamed the event on TIDAL (a music streaming service owned by Jay–Z) and to select movie theaters. I, of course, had to see this event and experience it with my fellow ardent Kanye fans. After debating going to New York to see the event live and being quickly shut down by my financial department (still bitter, mom and dad), I settled on watching the stream at the always lovely Cinemark on 40th and Walnut. Here’s everything you need to know:
What People Are Talking About:
Some background: The album was originally meant to be called So Help Me God. He shortly switched it to SWISH, then to Waves, before ultimately changing it to T.L.O.P. shortly before the release.
West entered into view at MSG accompanied by Lamar Odom, making it the basketball player’s first public appearance since he was hospitalized in October 2015. West escorted Odom to sit with the rest of the Kardashian clan before beginning the show.
After the end of the first song called “Ultra Light Beam” (featuring The-Dream, Kelly Price, Chance the Rapper and Kirk Franklin), the tarps covering the floor of the arena were removed, revealing the Yeezy Season 3 fashion line. Over 1,000 models were featured, including Naomi Campbell and Veronica Webb. His interest in fashion was furthered when he made a remark saying that it would be a dream of his to be the creative director for Hermes.
Not once, but twice did West show the preview of his soon–to–come video game “Only One: the game.” The preview shows his mother, Donda, as she travels to the gates of heaven. West seemed pretty choked up after receiving laughs from the audience after the preview.
West announced that he will be lowering the prices on his shoes; for those of you disconnected from the world, they're called Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 and Yeezy 1050. These shoes are more or less impossible to buy first–hand and can sell for thousands of dollars on third-party websites. We’ll see if he can come through on this claim.
Some Notable Lyrics:
Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1 (feat. Kid Cudi & Future): "Now if I fuck this model, And she just bleached her asshole, And I get bleach on my T-shirt, I'mma feel like an asshole” (Ed. note: hate it when that happens.)
Freestyle 4: "Hold on, hold on, hold on, Wait a second, everybody here, I'm the ghetto Oprah, You know what that mean? You get a fur! You get a fur!, You get a jet! You get a jet! Big booty bitch for you! Woo!”
I Miss the Old Kanye: “What if Kanye made a song about Kanye, Called "I miss the old Kanye”, Man that would be so Kanye, that's all it was Kanye, We still love Kanye and I love you like Kanye loves Kanye”
Not saying any of these are good or bad, but they definitely stood out.
West did not announce the live stream on TIDAL, of which he is a partial owner, until about 4 p.m. on February 10th, one day before the event. Basically, all of the fans who bought tickets for, at minimum, $25 to the see the stream in theaters could have watched it for free online if they had known earlier. Not cool.
In his song Famous (feat. Rihanna & Swizz Beatz), West sang, "For all my Southside n*ggas that know me best, I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, Why? I made that bitch famous, God damn, I made that bitch famous.” Backlash was soon after found all over the web over these T–Swift directed lyrics; West later tweeted:
First thing is I’m an artist and as an artist I will express how I feel with no censorship— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
3rd thing I called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
4th Bitch is an endearing term in hip hop like the word Nigga— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
In another song “Highlights" (feat. Young Thug & The-Dream), West sang, "I need every bad bitch up in equinox, I need to know right know if you a freak or not." I think it's fair to say that the rapper’s lyrics are not usually very elevating for women, but this very arguably crosses the line. There are already enough issues in modern American culture in regards to the ideal female body image, so I’d say telling women to go to the gym is just feeding the fire.
- Finally, in West’s song "Freestyle 4", he sang, "Hands up, we just doing what the cops taught us, Hands up, hands up and the cops shot us.” This one’s less controversial than it is social commentary. Make of it as you will, but I say great job, Mr. West.