Noted irrational blowhard Kanye West decided to go on a bit of a tirade in front of his audience at London’s Hammersmith Apollo Saturday night (2/23). The topic of his little rant? Just how hard it is out there for a wildly successful, internationally known performer.
“Creativity fuels everything. I hate business people,” opined West.
“People get an the phone with me and talk to me and, you know, what kind of business can I do them? What type of business are you doing? What’s the numbers? How many did you sell? What’s the radio spins? How much shampoo can you sell with your face on it and shit? Remind me again why we in this shit.”
Maybe Kanye West needs to enroll in Pete Townshend’s holiday camp for comfortably jaded celebrities. Townshend (writer and guitarist for The Who, as well as patron saint of navel-gazing musicians) spent a lifetime documenting his love-hate relationship with the numbers game that propels and then deflates celebrity careers. He said the words “create” and “artist” a lot, too.
Or Perhaps West needs to do what techno-reggae-dub-progressive-political band Thievery Corporation did and partner with CHNL, a “direct-to-fan” service that cuts out the “retail middleman.”
But listen, Kanye – do something, man. Something other than disparaging the music business, and then throwing tantrums when you don’t win music business awards.
At Saturday’s concert, West also referenced Jay-Z‘s partnership with Justin Timberlake, and not in a flattering way:
“And I got love for Hov but I ain’t fucking with that ‘Suit & Tie’.”
OUCH. Burn bridges much, Kanye?
Rolling Stone wondered out-loud whether the rest of the rant was a slug at Beyonce and her $50 million Pepsi deal:
“Can I sell a drink for you please? So you can help me put on a better show. Please corporations. Can you please support me, Kanye West? I swear I’m a nice n***a now. I swear I’ll put the pink polo back on. I swear to you. Please? Just for three million dollars. I need it so bad. I need a new pool in my back yard. So I’ll tell all my fans your shit is cool. And if they believe in me they should also believe in you. . . . What’s my public rating now? Are people liking me again? Enough to get some money for some corporations? They forgot about the whole Beyonce thing right? Okay cool.”
You don’t want to play the game? Then don’t play the game. But calling out Timberlake or Beyonce isn’t going to cause many people to have an epiphanic “AH-HA” moment wherein they burn their Sasha Fierce MP3s and storm the lobby of RCA records. What it WILL do is make you look like a whiner who’s using rap’s power of social commentary to bitch about a problem that affects the very privileged and powerful 1% of highest-paid artists.
You want to create without anyone telling you what to do or bothering you with annoying business phone calls, Kanye? Take up sonnet writing or start an Etsy shop. In the meantime, please pipe down. Yeesh.