I have kind of a tradition that goes all the way back to when I was a child: I watch Saturday Night Live semi-religiously. Even when it’s bad, I love it. Now that we’re in the age of Twitter, I like to watch SNL whilst reading what people are saying about it. It’s kind of a shared-experience thing.
This week, the musical guest was Kanye West. I have some mostly unrelated thoughts on this performance.
1) It was pretty frickin’ rad.
I’ve never been a huge Kanye fan. He kind of seems like a dick, and I tend to hold that against people. However, his 2 performances, especially “Black Skinhead,” was, from a performance standpoint, amazing. Here it is:
Frickin’ rad. Based on that song, I want to hear the new album. And that shit going on in the background? Also rad. Those dogs are freaking me out.
2) People I know didn’t like it. At all.
“I am seriously rethinking watching SNL after seeing Kanye West’s performance last night…painful.”
That was one of my friends on the facepage, but it’s also just one example of what some of the people I know were saying. Now, it seems like a lot of the random people on Twitter were saying good things about the performance, so I would say that, in general, it was well-received. However, the subset of white people from Northeast Ohio in their mid-thirties didn’t seem to like it. I understand that musical taste is subjective and all, but I think that that performance was objectively powerful, even if you don’t like hip-hop. Is it just that my generation is getting old and doesn’t like this in-your-face stuff? Is there some sort of latent racism that’s starting to show up in my high-school class? I dunno.
3) While powerful, I’m not sure Kanye is the right guy to tell us about how evil Capitalism is.
Here’s his second performance, “New Slaves”:
Pretty rad, if minimalist, performance. And I can totally get behind the message, but I don’t think Kanye is the proper spokesman for the dangers of the way corporations manipulate people into wanting…stuff. Dead Prez? Sure. Mos Def? Despite his film career, I’d buy it. I just can’t take Kanye’s anti-capitalism seriously, even if I do agree.
And I’m not sure making references to The Waterboy is the strongest way to get your message across.
Still, there is something about that performance that feels like Kanye just got away with something.
So, what do you all think? Click comment and…well, comment, I guess.