Worst: Kanye West Strips Down to Near Invisibility
It was once the most daring, adventurous thing in music. Kanye West — one of music's few monocultural icons under the age of 40; rap's master of prog-centric, Hawaii-recorded, 9-minute epics — was stripping his performances bare. Doing "Blood on the Leaves" as a silhouette at the Video Music Awards or wearing a mask to Bonnaroo, West took the very idea of celebrity and reduced it to a stark shadow. Thing is — we've seen it. His performance of "Only One" was all heartbreak with no 808s, performing on a steamy porthole in the type of fuzzy suit that Rev. Run wears around the house. Later, he teamed with Rihanna and Paul McCartney, assuredly three of the richest people in the room, for a performance in front of a white square and some cloth. They rehearsed for that? What was once a unique way for West to subvert these giant award shows is no longer noteworthy. Blank space just seems more and more like an empty gesture.