Outspoken rapper performs new songs, goes on rant about celebrity culture, kissing babies, "SNL" expectations and more at small NYC show
"I ain't no muthafuckin celebrity," Kanye West said halfway through his nearly 90-minute set at the Adult Swim Upfront at New York's Roseland Ballroom Wednesday night. "There's one thing about me, I'm a terrible, terrible terrible celebrity. I don't know if you really know there's one thing about me but I'm the worst kind of celebrity. All I do is make real music. All I do is sit in the studio and make real shit. And that's it. And that's muthafuckin it. That's muthafuckin it!"
West had been largely silent up to this point, instead performing a string of back-to-back hits like "Good Life," "Jesus Walks," "All Of The Lights" and "Heartless" as well as at least two new tracks, one of which may very well be titled "Awesome" based on these lyrics: "Cause baby you're awesome / you don't need to listen to your manager. I know you just be tired from running through my mind / can I come inside? / Cuz baby you're awesome / And I'm also awesome." He teased this song, seeming to be titled "So Awesome," at last week's Met Gala event.
The first new track, which he performed two songs into his set (after "Mercy" and "Cold"), flirted with EDM. The song sounds similiar to one that Hudson Mohawke previewed at the Free Form Festival in Poland this past weekend.
The Roseland stage was framed by a giant pyramid backdrop, which projected lightning, smoke and red and purple lights for an Illuminati-like effect. West himself performed behind a screen for majority of the time, Wizard of Oz-style, with black-and-white projections of his face in close-up often looking like a sonogram (no sign of Kim, by the way.)
West was onstage by 10:40, just 10 minutes shy of his contracted set time. That was a major improvement from the last time he played an Adult Swim upfront in 2008, when he was booked to be onstage by 10 and wasn't even in the building until midnight, having played another show for Casio G Shock surrounded by topless models.
His girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, was in attendance and rooting for 'Ye. She posted an Instagram photo of him performing with a caption that read: "my baby killin it tonight!!!!!"
Anyway, back to the rant. Here's more from Kanye:
"So I don't want no people runnin' up on me with cameras, trying to like sell pictures and shit to magazines, asking me dumb ass questions, throwin' me off my focus and shit. Harrasin' you all muthafuckin day. I ain't no muthafuckain celebrity.
It's so funny. Somebody asked me, 'when you do SNL, are you going to do a skit about the paparazzi and shit. And like humanize yourself?' I ain't hear to apologize to no muthafuckas, man. It ain't about me humanizing myself. At what point did I become un-human where I have to turn myself back? Or maybe I was demonized, or maybe I was treated inhumane and not human in that type of situation. I ain't no muthafuckin celebrity. I ain't runnin' for office. I ain't kissin' nobody's muthafuckin babies. I drop your baby and you muthafuckin sue me and shit. I'm trying to make some music that inspires people to be the best that they can be. And I don't want nobody else to ask anything of me! Don't ask nothing else of me.
Muthafuckas chasin you down, about to make you crash and shit. And all they want is for a nigga to laugh and shit. Hell nah, I ain't doin no muthafuckin 'SNL' skits. This is my Goddamn life. This ain't no muthafuckin joke."