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Kanye West: The World's Number One Rockstar?
:: June 17, 2014 :: by Kirk Windus

Kanye West and Bonnaroo will probably never be friends. In 2008 Kanye showed up hours late for his set, making “Fuck Kanye” the two must popular words in the temporary Tennessee city.

            Fast forward to 2014. Kanye comes back. This time for revenge.

            Kanye’s set kicked off with the anthemic  Yeezus hit, “Black Skinhead.” Full of energy and aggression, Kanye covered the entire stage, shouting his lyrics of cultural criticism and self-praise, his face covered in some odd sort of mask.

            In classic Kanye fashion, he neglected the huge screens attached to the stage, which make viewing a little easier for those way in the back of the massive main stage, in exchange for a minimalistic, radiating red backdrop.

            Musically, Kanye’s set bordered on flawless. He played everything from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s “Runaway” to “Mercy” to the 2004 College Dropout’s “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks.”

            In a very not-Kanye fashion, he ignored the initial boos and cries of “Fuck Kanye” and “Get Off the Stage.” It seemed as if maybe ‘Ye might just ignore it all and be the good guy Kanye we once knew.

            But then things turned bizzare, and the George-Bush-hates-black-people Kanye and the steal-the-mic-from-T-Swift Kanye that everyone expected made an appearance. After cutting out of “Stronger” he decided to address the 2008 Elephant in the venue and reminded the crowd that in 2008 they barraged him and wrote “Fuck Kanye” in the porta potties before he even got there. He then attacked the press for reporting it. He then asked the press if they were going to report about that exact moment with the crowd responding so positively, before again turning ridiculous and proclaiming himself “The number one rock star in the motherfucking world,” prompting a haze of boos from the crowd.

            Later, he decided to mix it up and set his next rant to a freestyle auto-tune session, during which he announced that he was coming after Shakespeare, Walt  Disney and Howard Hughes. The move was especially ironic after he had just discussed being humbled by a chance meeting with a ten-year-old boy on a plane who was coming just to see him at Bonnaroo.

            Still, Kanye wasn’t done, and he later killed the beat on “Heartless” and broke out into a rant that included screaming “Where the press at?” asking all members of the press to raise their hand (awkward). He then exclaimed, “This is real rock & roll!” referring to his set.

            But that’s not to say that Kanye didn’t have his great moments. At times he was uplifting and spoke of empowerment. He told his fans, “I talk that shit so that you can talk that shit. If you’re a fan of me you’re a fan of your motherfucking self,” reminding the crowd to be themselves and chase their dreams.

            During “Touch the Sky” he begged the crowd to join him in a great moment, calling out, “I heard that if 10,000 people jump at the same time you can feel the earth move.”

            Regardless of what happened, one thing became clear during Kanye’s set. Maybe he’s not the “number one rock star in the world,” but he’s damn close. In his  exhausting two-hour set, the crowd’s energy never subsided and most people in the crowd knew at least half the words to every single song he performed. Hell, the same can’t even be said for Elton John’s performance.

            No matter how you spin it, there’s no denying that Kanye has been one of the most impactful musicians of the last decade. Hate him or love him, this really is Yeezus season, and I for one am glad I’m witnessing it.

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