Kanye West performed at the launch party for Samsung's Galaxy Note II on Thursday night in Manhattan, ripping through his catalogue in an inspired set that lasted for well over an hour.
Some artists who perform at corporate or publicity events phone in their sets, relying on the strength of a popular single or two to carry their fans without trying all that hard. After all, why not show up, receive what must have been a massive check, sing a hit or two and go back to the fabulous life?
Not Mr. West, whose creative output consistently reminds us that he is a fully formed artist. Though he also dances his way through the tabloids as of late (despite, it's worth noting, doing no press himself), last night's concert was a stark reminder of how much West cares not just about his music, but about its delivery.
"I just wanted to create things," West sung to the crowd during one of two extended outros from the evening. Though the rapper's on-stage speeches are often referred to as "rants," they're actually better described as stylized freestyles. Fans who have seen West before know that he keeps certain set-pieces, like his discussion of the Taylor Swift incident and the self-imposed exile and fashion internships that followed. Later in the show, he turned "Runaway" into an effective intro for a many-minutes long sermon on not letting go of loved ones: "And if you love someone tonight, hold on to them tight."
A wall of light backed West and his band on a stark, all-white stage. The setup recalled the aesthetic he used for both his 2010 VMAs performance of "Runaway" and his stop by "SNL."
Perhaps most surprising was West's ability to seamlessly incorporate his newer, brasher songs. A good number of these tracks, from "Cold" to "Mercy," incorporate trap elements that may seem too disconnected from West's more soulful work, like "All Falls Down." But suffice it to say that anyone that laments West's foray into blatant brag-rap has never seen him perform these songs live. There was a visceral fire within West as he stunted his way over the hammering beat of "Don't Like" and the Hit-Boy produced "Clique," turning the highly produced event into a singalong with some friends.
The album least represented at the show was probably "Watch the Throne," West's album of duets with Jay-Z. Not that anyone minded: By the time 2 Chainz came out to surprise fans with an infectiously fun performance of "Birthday Song," the intimate crowd was buzzing with excitement. West had pulled off a heavy feat at a corporate event in New York: silencing cynicism.
Kanye West - Mercy
Kanye West - Lost in the World
Kanye West - Way Too Cold ft. DJ Khaled (Explicit) NEW * TheraFlu *
Music Video Kanye West. Way Too Cold. (C) 2012 Directed by @Ash_Innovator
Kanye West - Stronger
Music video by Kanye West performing Stronger. (C) 2007 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Love Lockdown
Music video by Kanye West performing Love Lockdown. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 18944047. (C) 2008 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Flashing Lights ft. Dwele
Music video by Kanye West performing Flashing Lights. (C) 2007 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West, Jay-Z - Otis
WATCH THE THRONE: Kanye West & Jay-Z - Otis © 2011 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Can't Tell Me Nothing with Zach Galifianakis - High Quality Video
This is the highest-quality version of 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' on YouTube. Song: Can't Tell Me Nothing by Kanye West Video: Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham Exec. Producer: Kanye West Producers: Zach Galifianakis and Inman Young Director: Michael Blieden Editor: Michael Blieden For more on Zach Galifianakis, visit: www.zachgalifianakis.com For more on Kanye West, visit: www.kanyeuniversecity.com --- For more on DJ Matt Werner, visit mattswriting.com
Jay-Z & Kanye West - Ni**as In Paris (Explicit)
Music video by Jay-Z & Kanye West performing Ni**as In Paris (Explicit). Watch The Throne: bit.ly © 2012: Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC/Shawn Carter
Kanye West - Amazing ft. Young Jeezy
Music video by Kanye West performing Amazing. (C) 2009 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Good Morning
Music video by Kanye West performing Good Morning. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 6240225. (C) 2008 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - POWER
Music video by Kanye West performing POWER. (C) 2010 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - All Of The Lights ft. Rihanna, Kid Cudi
WARNING: This video has been identified by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised. Directed by Hype Williams. "All Of The Lights" by Kanye West feat. Rihanna and Kid Cudi with vocals by Fergie, Charlie Wilson, John Legend, Tony Williams, Alicia Keys, La Roux, The Dream, Ryan Leslie, Alvin Fields and Ken Lewis.
Kanye West - All Falls Down ft. Syleena Johnson
Music video by Kanye West performing All Falls Down. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 2735099. (C) 2003 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Runaway (Full-length Film)
Music video by Kanye West performing Runaway (Full-length Film). © 2010 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Welcome To Heartbreak ft. Kid Cudi
Music video by Kanye West performing Welcome To Heartbreak. (C) 2009 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Runaway (Extended Video Version) ft. Pusha T
Music video by Kanye West performing Runaway. (C) 2010 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
The Cypher - Kanye West (GOOD Music)
Pusha T - Big Sean - Cyhi Da Prynce - Common - Kanye West (Dj Premier) Download Uncensored: hulkshare.com
Kanye West - Gold Digger ft. Jamie Foxx
Music video by Kanye West performing Gold Digger. (C) 2005 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Homecoming
Music video by Kanye West performing Homecoming. (C) 2008 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
kanye west - jesus walks
we can be better people if we're ignorants just try.im not asking you to go to church im saying be smart.remember theres 2 types of people in the world
Kanye West - Heartless
Music video by Kanye West performing Heartless. (C) 2008 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothing
Music video by Kanye West performing Can't Tell Me Nothing. (C) 2007 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC
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