Kanye West: The Comeback of 2010
In 2009, Kanye West found himself on every most-hated celebrity list known to man thanks to the infamous Taylor-gate, earning him Spin’s Scrooge of the Year and causing the death of his mega tour with Lady Gaga. Never one to stay down (or quiet) too long, West made a heroic resurgence in 2010 as he returned to music, made his debut on Twitter and engaged in a feud that still has fans scratching their heads in confusion. Equal parts explosive, empathic and enterprising, Celebuzz celebrates 2010’s greatest and most talked about comeback story: Kanye West and his pop redemption.
Haunted by the ghosts of awards shows past and scathing criticism from critics and fans alike, West kept a low profile for New Year’s 2009 and spent most of early 2010 finishing his forthcoming album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in Hawaii.
Disoriented from his own reality, West decided to be someone else for a change. Always a character, West made his animated debut on FOX’s Cleveland Show in May. He voiced the character Kenny West, a teenager with an exceptional sense of style and an effortless rap flow.
West premiered his first single from MBDTF, “Power” featuring Dwele in June. On the track, West sounded off on his harshest critics and silenced rumors that he lost any of his brazen bravado over a souped-up King Crimson sample. The song peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, was ranked third in Time’s Top 10 Songs of 2010 countdown and garnered West a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance.
Check out the video for West’s “Power:”
West created an internet frenzy in July, when he joined Twitter after spending much of 2009 defending his choice to opt out of the social network. Fans rejoiced and critics cringed at the thought of the outspoken rapper being able to disseminate his unfiltered opinions to the world in milliseconds. West gained over 1 million followers in less than two months and quickly, although not surprisingly, became notorious for not following anyone back.
In September West returned to the scene of his most talked about crime, MTV’s Video Music Awards. A year after making the interruption heard around the world during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Video of the Year, West debuted his song “Runaway” featuring Pusha T in front of VMA audiences.
West premiered his 30-minute short film for “Runaway,” featuring model Selita Ebanks, soon after his show-stopping VMA performance. The film was met with mixed reviews, but the appeal of his music was undeniable. The song climbed to #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
West’s album promo continued into October and the rapper performed “Power” on Saturday Night Live, despite the song’s lyrics “F*** SNL and the whole cast,” which West changed for the show.
The outspoken lyricist made an unlikely foe in early November after an interview on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. Following comments on his harsh remarks about George Bush post-Hurricane Katrina, West attempted to address the much talked about incident at last year’s VMAs. Today Show producers played video footage of the infamous moment while West was speaking and prompted a tantrum on-set. The incident sent West into heated articulation via his Twitter page. “I feel very alone very used very tortured very forced very misunderstood very hollow very very misused,” tweeted West. “I don’t trust anyone!”
Amid the ashes of his Today Show blow up, West released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on November 22 to the best reviews of his career. The album, which sold 496,000 its first week in the US, garnered 5 stars from Rolling Stone, a perfect 10.0 Pitchfork score and a 9/10 rating from Spin among other sparkling reviews.
Few artists have had the power to command the attention of audiences with the mere mention of their names. Easily the most misunderstood and celebrated artist in music today, West continues to keep the industry on its toes and audiences on their feet. Although his brash bravado has eclipsed his musical brilliance at times, West is not only a pop-culture phenomenon, but a musical icon–for better or worse. With a 2011 tour in the works and a joint album with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne, scheduled for release next year, West is determined to stay on top of the music world well into next year.