I know you all have probably been wondering where I’ve been (or that might just be my ego hoping that you’ve been wondering…). Imagine my surprise when I looked up and it was late August! Where did the Summer go? I feel like it was just yesterday I was talking about the weather finally warming up and the buzz beginning that is NYC in the Summertime. As quickly as it’s gone by, some great stuff has come out of this season, and I’ll give you a little recap of my highlights next week.
One of the biggest things,though, has been what appears to be a resurgence of good music in the game. I think I’ve said more than once that my faith in the industry (even as I toil in said industry) is being restored of late, and that has only continued over the last few months. With incredible releases hitting the streets and even more anticipated for the fall, I’m excited, I gotta say. But by far, one of the most highly anticipated upcoming releases is the return of Kanye, and today I just have to take a minute to acknowledge him (bear with me).
We were all a little annoyed with Kanye and his Martin Louis the King Jr-ness, yes, but let’s admit, we missed him even for the short time he was laying low. It seemed really quiet on the scene. And now, he’s baaack. He’s online with Facebook livestream performances from their offices; he’s on twitter (and really, wasn’t twitter designed for him? I’ve never seen someone catch on to it so damn fast!); he’s now back on our tv, vevo, radio, etc with “Power”; and the other week, in NYC, he confirmed why he’s one of the greatest and dopest.
Apparently, Kanye and the powers that be at Def Jam decided on a Wednesday that he should do a show the following night. Not a tickets sold, full production, bells and whistles show. An invite only, venue the size of my office, no publicity, no announcements, secret show…That started at 1:30am. It was just Kanye with a beat machine, an autotune mic and a regular mic, a dude on keyboard, and John Legend backing Yeezy up on piano and singing hooks. It was amazing. A-MA-ZING. It was like Kanye-aoke!
It wasn’t polished, over produced, or frankly even that well rehearsed, and that was the beauty of it. He did a lot of his material and a lot of other people’s material (a snippet of Rihanna’s “So Hard” was prefaced by a short speech about how moved he felt seeing her headlining at Madison Square Garden earlier that night). He randomly pulled people from the crowd: Estelle came up to do “American Boy” and still had her blackberry in her hand.
Mos Def was beckoned for “Just To Get By” but didn’t make it to the front. He would start songs over if he messed up, freestyle lyrics if he forgot where he was, and get totally caught up in the songs. There was a bottle of red wine sitting on the piano that he and John sipped from throughout the show. There was no promotion of the new album, no call out of release date, none of that.
It was over an hour and a half of uncut energy and genius. And while standing there in this crowded-ass room full of people in formal wear (yes, dress code was formal. It was great), watching the entire G.O.O.D. music fam and other bold faced names on their feet in support of their boy, I thought to myself, “I really missed Kanye.” Needless to say, he received a s