Kanye West is a musical genius. Let’s just acknowledge that right up front. Whatever your thoughts on his increasingly erratic behavior or bi-polar Twitter fingers, the man is arguably the most influential figure in modern hip-hop. Those beats you love? They’re Kanye’s, via inspiration or his own hands. In the early 2000s, Yeezus almost single-handedly shifted rap from a genre dominated by violent street references to one of introspection and self-deprecation. Drake doesn’t exist without The College Dropout and Late Registration. Kanye introduced the world to Nicki Minaj in the most spectacular way possible — for real, her “Monster” verse will still sterilize anyone within a 60-foot listening radius — and gave Pusha T a second act most rappers can’t sniff the first time around. He produced the most recognizable track on Jay-Z’s best album (The Blueprint) and every track on Common’s best album (Be). The dude is a titan.
He is also a goddamn lunatic who appears to be reaching a crisis point.
Kanye’s latest relapse into douchebaggery — and with him, “latest” is measured in nanoseconds — took place last Saturday at 30 Rock. Audio obtained by PageSix reveals a hysterical West directing a borderline incomprehensible rant at Saturday Night Live staff, allegedly calling them “white motherfuckers” and threatening not to perform. Lorne Michaels had to personally step in to prevent Kanye from rolling out minutes before he was scheduled to take the stage. According to a PageSix source, no one in the room having access to the freight elevator is the only thing that kept Kanye in Studio 8H. Had Kanye vanished, Kyle Mooney, whose rap skills far eclipse his comedic abilities, would have stepped in on short notice.
Some, uh, highlights from the rant:
“Let’s get to it, bro. Let’s get to it, bro! Are they fucking crazy? Bro! By 50 per cent [I am more influential]. Stanley Kubrick, Apostle Paul, Picasso… fucking Picasso and Escobar. By 50 per cent more influential than any other human being. Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me. By 50 per cent, dead or alive, by 50 per cent for the next thousand years. Stanley Kubrick. Ye.”
“Look at that shit, they took my fucking stage off of SNL without asking me. Now I’m bummed. That and Taylor Swift, fake ass.”
“Now if we’re gonna do this we’re breaking the motherfuckin Internet. I went through six years of this fucking shit.”
“I cannot believe I’m being equated to this piece of shit,” drug kingpin/mass murderer Pablo Escobar said when reached for comment on the set of Narcos.
Detractors will scoff, but it’s surprising Kanye would act this way on Saturday Night Live of all places, a show with which he enjoys a long relationship. He’s appeared on SNL seven times, and was one of only four acts to perform during the show’s prestigious 40th anniversary special last February. In the past he’s shown a willingness to let SNL poke fun at his combative image, both during Weekend Update and in sketches where he’s on set or in the audience.
Prodigious talent doesn’t excuse abhorrent behavior. However, while the DeVry Institute has yet to fax over my psychology doctorate, it’s clear Kanye is battling demons. His erratic, often nonsensical (but occasionally profound) tweets, strange public behavior, bizarre-even-for-fashion-show-standards Yeezy Season 3 launch, and scattered new album all point to a man trapped in a troubled headspace. Hopefully he gets the help he needs soon before he’s remembered more for his antics than his artistry.
Here’s what he did minutes after threatening to leave, BTW. LOOK HOW HAPPY HE IS WATCHING CHANCE! HOW DO YOU GO FROM A FROTHING TOURETTE’S RANT TO THIS IN MINUTES?