Again, this confusion of messages isn't necessarily a bad thing. For West, it adds to the psychological tension that inspires the best of his music and surrounds his public persona. Complex, volatile, intriguing. It taps into the complexity of our own lives, the contradictions, the frustrations.
That sense of urgency, of danger, is highlighted by the risk-taking in his rap and in the stripped-down arrangements. The music feels taut, like a glass held in a fist, about to shatter. In "Black Skinhead," Kanye unleashes a screaming inner rocker, reminiscent of
The Doors' Jim Morrison
, that is totally (and somehow unsurprisingly) convincing. In "New Slaves," he weaves his social commentary in with a thread of raw, egotistical rage in lyrics largely unprintable here.
Some of his points are on the mark, some of them miss. If all of them were specious, it would be hard to like to him. West is the loud, smart friend who mouths off too much; when he leaves, you find yourself saying, yeah, he acted like a jerk but, man, he was right about a few things.
West has dabbled as a clothing designer. Back in 2009, West launched a line of sneakers, Air Yeezys. They became extremely popular. Priced at a little over $200 and only available in select stores for a limited time, resale prices on
right now are frequently 10 times that.
A new line, called Air Yeezy 2, launched last year with three colors promised and only two released. The third, the all-red Air Yeezy 2, is scheduled to come out about a week ahead of the album, on June 9. That was the shoe West was wearing on "SNL."
One of the simplest promotions for "Yeezus" (the album) came ahead of the "SNL" spot from girlfriend Kim Kardashian -- she once so gloriously famous for being famous and now pregnant with West's baby. Kardashian tweeted an Instagram photo last week that you can see here in a retweet by a fan:
As the writer of the above notes, West was wearing those shoes on his "SNL" appearance last week.