After a string of attention stemming from his inclusion of a Jesus character as a part of his “Yeezus” show as well as the more recent news of his marriage proposal to girlfriend Kim Kardashian, Kanye West is again making news this week from a nearly 10-minute-long diatribe against the media during the Oakland stop of his “Yeezus” tour.
The tour, which began in Seattle, Washington on October 19 and includes Kendrick Lamar and artistic direction from producer Flying Lotus, has also raised eyebrows with West’s performing apparently previously unheard material.
Last Wednesday (October 23), West embarked on a nine-minute monologue that included his vocally manipulated singing as a part of his performance of his song “Runaway.” West begins by addressing the audience at the Oracle Arena with an assumption of shared resentment for the media. “But obviously don’t none of ya’ll give a fuck about what the media say,” he said. “We are more powerful than the media today. I control the media. I get on TV shows and do what the fuck I want, when I want, how I want, my way. And I don’t change, no way. No way. And I don’t give a fuck about no TV show, and I don’t give a fuck about no actor, and I don’t give a fuck about no blog trying to talk shit. All I care about is God. And all I care about is you.”
West continued by sharing his feelings of being unfairly pigeonholed by media outlets like websites and television shows. “You know they try and [put] me into this box right?” he said. “Even if I sit down, I had this one dentist I went to, he would say something, he would tell me like, ‘Yo, so when I was going to dentist school, and we went to class,’ and he’d always have to put it into music terms for me and say, ‘It would be like if you were in the studio.’ And I said, ‘I understand English, you don’t have to put it in music terms for me to understand motherfucking English.’ People try to box you into this thing of, in your lifetime, all you mean is this one thing. But if you were two years old and you wanted to sing, then you could motherfucking sing. If you wanted to ride a bike you would ride that shit. If you wanted to color, you would color. But when you get older everybody wants to put you into this box.”
With a continued reference to the audience, West went on to ask for their participation after the acknowledgement that “Some people can do anything.” “Put your hands in the sky right now if you believe you could do anything,” he said. “Everybody’s so goddamn scared. But I ain’t scared, I’m prepared.”
The rapper-producer finished his speech with a more explicit criticism of “branding” and “marketing.” He also addressed his faith, rejecting the idea that he holds a “God complex.” “They always say I word things the wrong way, but people seem not to get my intent,” he said. “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth. ‘Cause they tryin’ to control ya’ll motherfuckers with branding, with marketing, with media, they trying to make ya’ll feel like you’re less than ya’ll selves. When I say I am a God, it’s because God is inside of all of us. And while ya’ll on the way to work in the morning, I want ya’ll to say ‘I am a God.’ That’s why I worded that shit first person. I ain’t go not God complex. I know he the most high. But I know that I can talk to my God, and I know that everything is possible through prayer. ‘Cause I prayed for my fiance. I prayed, I said ‘God, I wish I was a little bit taller, wish I was a baller…” he said, referencing Los Angeles rapper Skee-Lo’s hit single “I Wish.”
Besides the controversial appearance of a Jesus character and his habit of monologuing during the tour, the “Yeezus” show has also drawn curiosity stemming from the inclusion of previously unheard material. In a recently released video from the San Jose leg of the tour, Kanye West can be seen performing an unreleased song seemingly titled “I’m Not Here” before launching into the Yeezus number “On Sight.” It’s unclear whether the song represents a leftover track from Yeezus or a peek at new material.
Video of the performance can be seen below.