Kanye West’s message of creative freedom comes from deep within his core and often inspires. That is, if you’re willing to listen — but even if you aren’t, ‘Ye’s impact is relentless. The first of four “Yeezus” New York shows, which took place on Tuesday night (Nov. 19) at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, pulled every soul in attendance into the mind of the impassioned, polarizing figure that is Kanye West, and kept everyone entranced for the entire two-hour set.
Standing before a glazed mountaintop and surrounded by long-tressed, masked women in nude bodysuits, an overtly energetic West put on a theater piece, performing his latest album, “Yeezus,” in its entirety.
‘Ye didn’t abandon his pre-“Yeezus” solo discography; if anything, he performed each older track as if he was stumbling upon them for the first time. During “Graduation’s” “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’,” he ran from end to end of the rising middle stage built as a cliff. He then laid at the tip of the cliff, with his head hanging, fervidly singing “Coldest Winter,” as snowflakes fell upon him.
Before performing the “808’s & Heartbreak” song about his late mother, Donda West, ‘Ye recalled once thinking that no one could “tell me nothing,” until he got a call while in London on which he was informed that his mother had passed. “It was like I was losing my faith, like I had lost everything,” he told the crowd.
During breaks, definitions of powerful words reflected from the screen: fighting, rising, falling, searching. After performing “Runaway,” he took the time to speak on the portrayal the media paints of him and how plans to do nothing but continue to follow his gut despite other’s say.
“One dude, guess he used to run a multi-billion dollar company, or something, he had some advice for me,” said West. “He said ‘I don’t approve of your methods in your interviews lately. He said he only saw one person before who ever really pulled this off and that was Muhammad Al,” he began.
‘Ye continued to speak on the “creative genius” label he’s placed on himself, passionately yet jokingly referencing 2 Chainz when repeating the word “true.” “But there’s so many amazing creative inventors who weren’t recognized in their time. And if I’ve got the voice and I’ve got the opportunity to turn up in these interviews, I just have to look and say, ‘What do I have to lose?’ What do I have to lose? We only have everything to gain. So don’t ever let them make you think for one moment that I’m going insane. Because I sit back and see shit and think, ‘Am I the only one that’s not crazy?’ Y’all see that shit too. But every celebrity is so goddamn scared of losing everything, that they won’t ever say nothing to you. And I see that shit too. And y’all see that shit too. I gotta keep it so true for you… Because when I say ‘creative genius,’ I’m not saying that as a compliment to myself. I’m saying that because it’s a burden to myself when these ideas keep me up at night… They’d rather see the headline and be on some bullshit than to give me one little chance.”
As on previous stops on “Yeezus,” he brought out “white Jesus,” for whom he took his jeweled mask off for the first time during the show. As West kneeled down to him, the stomping of “Jesus Walks” consumed him.
Kanye West closed his set with his disciples, robed in white; all kneeling down to Jesus which stood powerfully on the mountain top. But not before Kanye West, backed by the soulful, Tony Williams, inspired fans to FaceTime their girlfriends with his lively, and subtly charming, performance of “Bound 2,” directly facing the VIP section where his fiancé Kim Kardasian watched.