In December 2008, Kanye West was the musical act for Saturday Night Live. I remember watching the performance and asking myself if that was Kanye? He really did a terrible job. Apparently he is trying to sing these days and not stick just with rapping, which is where he is golden. He was off key, off tempo; simply off the entire time. I remember him pulling away from the mic and letting his back up singers take over quite a few times. I wondered what in the world was going on.
So, I decided to look into what happened. Online I found many reactions. The BrooklynVegan wondered why anyone cares about him in the first place. Well, because he is pretty talented and doesn’t mind telling all of us! However, marathonpacks ripped him apart. He gave no excuses for the performance and referred to it as”grotesque.” Show Hype also wrote that Kanyne “sucked” as the musical guest. There were accusations of lip-synching since he was so off and this is where I think Kanye’s publicist did a good job. Had he been lip-synching, the song would have been perfect. But he was not lip-synching and had a weak voice that day, therefore the show suffered. Also, Kayne’s auto-tuner had not been set up correctly. The auto-tuner helps a singer to stay on key if his pitch is off or to distort the voice if that is the desired effect. Since his was not properly installed, he was not able to perform perfect as he usually does.
Kanye (I am guessing by advise of his publicist) embraced the situation and was able to laugh at himself, saying that particular performance should be placed on the worst performance list for SNL (along side the Ashlee Simpson fiasco.) By addressing the claims of lip-synching, pointing out the faulty equipment, and accepting, as well as admitting, it was a sub-par performance; Kanye was able to keep his fans defending him rather than attacking him.
Had I been Kanye’s publicist, I would have taken on the situation the same way. I would have him light-heartedly acknowledge that he performed poorly. It is always easier to forgive someone if they can admit fault. And Kanye’s fans did stand behind him. I would have addressed the lip-synch issue the exact same way. Had he been lip-synching the song would have been spot on perfect, but it was absolutely not. In all I think this situation was handled very well. Kanye West will suffer no permanent damage from this. I think it will fade away for the most part and many people will completely forget it. It will not go down in infamy the way Ashlee Simpson’s performance on SNL or Britney Spears terrible VMA “come back” performance did.
Here is the performance if you would like to check it out. I was not able to find just the SNL performance anymore (it seems to have magically disappeared), but this should give you an idea of how it went.