Release Date: Jan 5, 2010
Record label: Def Jam/Roc A Fella
Genre(s): Rap, Live
Don’t look now, but Kanye West stands at a crossroads. He may be waiting for a certain lord of the underworld in order to sell his soul to this überdämon, if indeed that transaction has not already been completed. But there he stands, and he really doesn’t have anybody but himself to blame. Platinum certification and critical raves aside, 2008’s 808s and Heartbreak represented at least a slight stumble from the dizzying commercial and aesthetic heights of his collegiately-titled album trilogy, and even slight stumbles can prove debilitating to pop figures as outsized as Kanye West.
Originally aired in February 2009, Kanye West's VH1 Storytellers sees release as a DVD/CD set, with the CD containing the first three-fourths of the 808s & Heartbreak-heavy performance, concluding with “Stronger” -- so there’s no “Homecoming,” “Streetlights,” or “Paranoid. ” Segments of the audience question-and-answer session, provided in full on the DVD, are woven into the CD, and not in a seamless manner. It’s also bizarre that there wasn’t an attempt to pack as much of the music as possible into the audio-only portion.
The producers of "VH1 Storytellers" must have thought they'd struck gold when Kanye West agreed to appear on the program. He was already responsible for four (and soon to be five) of the most WTF/OMG live TV moments of the decade: crashing Justice at an awards show (Taylor Swift would come later), his "SNL" freestyle, his Grammys performance, and of course, the famed Hurricane Katrina benefit. But VH1 wound up with too much of a good thing, or too much of a jaw-dropping thing: West's three-hour set had to be chopped to 90 minutes, including commercials.
Hotheaded, thin-skinned, prodigiously talented, disarmingly filterless — Kanye West is a man of many facets, and boring is rarely one of them. In this live-performance special, originally aired on VH1 last year and now available as a CD/DVD set, he doesn’t so much tell stories as pour his id onto the stage in rambling, free-form fragments. West’s musings on O.J.