Being a fan of Kanye West must be what it’s like rooting for the New York Yankees: You love him because he’s so good, but you also know why so many people see him as a bad guy.
In June, when his thrilling new album “Yeezus” hit the public in a flash of mega-hype and ultra-ego, it demonstrated once again that while West always delivers musically, his cocky demeanor is part of the package.
Twin Cities fans’ conflicted feelings on the Chicago rapper worsened over the past few days when he postponed and later outright cancelled a Target Center show last Tuesday (one of six “flyover” dates lost to production issues). It seems we can paraphrase one of his own controversial disses: Kanye West hates Minnesota people! Here are reasons to love and hate him back.
He has twice delivered for us.
His previous Twin Cities concerts were electrifying, especially the ’09 Glow in the Dark Tour. That one featured an elaborate moonscape stage, hi-fi lightning and orchestra, but the best part was Kanye standing up there alone, working the mic like a maestro. His ’04 gig (opening for Usher) also featured a certain keyboard player by the name of John Legend.
He has thrice canceled on us.
The third time certainly wasn’t the charm. Granted, his mother’s sudden death a month earlier was a good excuse for backing out of the 2007 KDWB Jingle Ball, but he played other shows in the interim and only gave a couple days’ notice to fans here, who got stuck paying $47-$125 to see Jordin Sparks and Timbaland. At least the cancellation of his 2011 tour date with Jay Z came before tickets went on sale.
He freely speaks his mind.
Some of his most attention-grabbing stunts have simply been Kanye raising his voice against what he perceives to be injustice, whether crashing Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards or his comment “George Bush hates black people” on the 2006 Hurricane Katrina TV telethon.
He doesn’t think before speaking.
A more cunning way to dis Ms. Swift would have been to speak about it afterward with the media (who would’ve lined up to hear it). And even if you applaud his presidential barb, you must admit he could have worded it better.
‘Black Skinhead,’ the lead single off ‘Yeezus.’
The hard-panting rhythms and racially charged lyrics make for one of his most riotous tracks.
Its oversaturated commercial use.
The song works sharply in trailers for the Martin Scorsese movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” but the edge was worn off by TV and internet ads for Motorola’s new Moto phone.