On Kanye West, hate and his brief Sacramento appearance

Karlos Rene Ayala

By Karlos Rene Ayala

Kid Cudi and Kanye West hugged, and Kanye appeared to have begun crying. This was toward the end of the first of two songs of the night he abandoned his floating stage and a sold-out crowd at Golden 1 Center. After Cudi’s exit, Kanye delivered a 15-minute rant and brought the show to an abrupt end.

Naturally, the usual deluge of articles thirsty to gather clicks was immediately present, and if Kanye and Cudi’s moment is mentioned at all, it’s relegated to rap-game, beef-squashing theatrics. Cudi and Kanye both have had battles with depression. But it remains uncertain why Kanye appeared so distraught while he claimed to be on his “Trump shit.”

After a premature conclusion, the palpable grief and disappointment moved through the arena like the wave at a baseball game. As I was getting ready to escape the oncoming shit show, a fan directly in front of me attempted to rip his “I Feel Like Pablo” shirt in half. After seeing that he couldn’t, he took it off and threw it at the ground as if there were some stain that needed immediate concealment. The chant “Fuck Kanye” consumed the atmosphere as it ricocheted off the arena architecture. Many of us have had similar nightmares, but we fortunately get to wake up from them. As I left, it was difficult to ignore that the crowd appeared to relish the ugliness of this spectacle.

This was the first show since San Jose, where Kanye, one of the most visible black artists on the entire planet, professed admiration for Donald Trump’s rhetorical approach, and inexcusably asked black Americans to stop “being distracted” by racism: a dangerously ignorant statement directed at black America and to those dedicated allies of black American causes and politics.

But to closely follow Kanye’s career as an artist is to come to understand the catalyst of his evolution into becoming this unhinged. The unsettling evolution began after the death of his mother, preceding the recording of 808s & Heartbreak. His bright, baroque backpack rap was mostly exchanged for cold synths and equally cold statements.

Hate Kanye? Kanye is an emotionally shattered man with an at-times confused and toxic hubris. After Sacramento, he canceled the rest of his tour. A refocus of our energies and a recalibration of our celebrity-culture addled minds is increasingly necessary. If you’re going to spend energy on hating a celebrity, might I suggest the president-elect of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

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