It’s been a weird year for Kanye West; although really, with Kanye, what year isn’t weird? He’s become renowned for his crazy shenanigans, which most of us are now familiar with. From his “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” slip in 2005 to his infamous “I’ma let you finish” bluster at the 2009 MTV VMAs, Mr. West has built up quite a reputation for himself. His musical talent has remained impressive throughout his 6-album career (Yeezus easily made several of this year’s “best of” lists, from SPIN to AV Club) but Kanye’s persona has been the subject of parody and scandal for a long time now.
This year, though, held several moments of Kanye-crazy that stood out among the plethora of examples from his memorable past. Before we head into 2014—a year which is sure to see many more unsurprising surprises from Kanye—I’d like to take a walk through the most bizarre Kanye West moments of the year.
10. SNL teaser
Back in the spring, Kanye performed on SNL when Ben Affleck hosted. The performance itself was fine, but the promo teaser was incredibly awkward. Kanye, Affleck and Fred Armisen are standing around, trying to make jokes. Kanye merely stands there, delivering his lines with no real expression on his face. I don’t know what he was going for there. Unfortunately, NBC is pretty good at taking promos of SNL off the air shortly after they’re over, so there is no footage available for us to relive this awkward moment.
9. Naming his child North
Celebrities essentially run the crazy-baby-name game. It’s almost as if famous children are expected to be scared for life by the crazy “creative” ideas their parents come up with. Apple? Suri? Blue Ivy? It’s just a thing they do. Kanye joined the game by naming his child with now-fiance Kim Kardashian North. This might not be so bad if his last name weren’t West. I don’t know what the influence for this was, but there can’t be any explanation worthy of this horrible decision. I liked Kimye better.
8. Dressing Kim Kardashian
I remember watching an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians a while ago when Kim and Kanye first made their relationship public. There was a scene where Kim was struggling with emptying her entire closet. Kanye had made her a deal that if she got rid of her wardrobe, he would buy her a complete new one. Ever since then, there has been a clear Kanye influence on her style. She has become more, um, adventurous, and not always in the best way. At the Met Gala, she wore a floor-length, floral Ricardo Tisci gown. With attached floral gloves. And a high collar. It was incredibly unflattering to the pregnant, curvy Kardashian. Girl can afford to hire a stylist that isn’t her wanna-be designer boyfriend, and she should.
7. Comparing his tour stunts to being a police officer or soldier
“Kanye did another interview and said some things that got people angry” could be the lead of most stories about Kanye this year. Recently, he did an interview with Saturday Night Online where he compared the stunts he performs on his tour to the adversities that police officers and soldiers are faced with on duty. This was incredibly insulting. And Brimfield Ohio police chief David Oliver took to his Facebook page (which is a popular outlet for the chief to talk to the residents — I attended college in the town next to Brimfield and can vouch that the page is well-known in the community) to reprimand Kanye for his insensitive assertions. But it wasn’t the first time Kanye offended someone, and it probably won’t be the last.
6. Bringing Jesus on tour
When Kanye does a concert, he is meticulous in its planning and execution. So, in keeping with the Yeezus themes, he had an actor dress up as Jesus during the opening night of his Yeezus tour. He called him “white Jesus” and apparently squealed with glee, then performed “Jesus Walks.”
5. Being a genius all the time
This isn’t anything new, but this year, Kanye seemed to take time repeatedly to remind us that he considers himself a genius. This may be true, but why does he need to keep saying it about himself? He may feel empowered by it, but the rest of us just feel that it is celebrity self-worship at it’s most banal. A little humility goes a long way: something he has yet to figure out.
4. BBC Interview
I don’t have enough room here to describe all the crazy that went on during this interview. The highlight? Probably the “Fendi leather jogging pant.” If you haven’t seen the video, check it out.
3. “Visionary streams of consciousness”
Sometimes, when Kanye feels the need to say something, he just really goes for it. Lately, this has taken the form of ranting during interviews, or even live shows. During a tour stop at Madison Square Garden, Kanye took a break from performing to go on a confusing, nonsensical rant, which apparently he has referred to as one of his “visionary streams of consciousness.” Few topics were spared as he talked about being a genius, The Hunger Games, classism, how he feels boxed into his role as a musician, and how much he apparently wants to design clothes. He also dismisses people who want things just to be cool, yet in previous interviews says that making cool things is essentially what life is about. Maybe he blacks out during these streams of consciousness?
2. Jimmy Kimmel Face
After the BBC interview with Zane Lowe aired, Jimmy Kimmel’s team got ahold of the footage and decided to recreate several interesting moments of the interview, using children to play Lowe and Kanye. It was a childish (pun intended) move, as the bit delivered several of Kanye’s answers without context, and selected specifically to make Kanye appear foolish. However, once Kanye found out about Kimmel’s stunt, things got weird real quick. He took to Twitter to rant — in all caps, typical Kanye style — about Kimmel. One rant went so far as to talk about Kimmel’s face, accompanied by a Photoshopped photo of Spongebob Squarepants, hands framing his face, with the words “Jimmy Kimmel Face Motherfucker” surrounding the photo. It was straight up cray.
1. “Bound 2”
It was so awkward, Seth Rogen and James Franco had to do a mock video (Bound 3) to emphasize how awkward it was. As if that wasn’t obvious in the original. Essentially, the video is Kanye either riding on a motorcycle with Kim Kardashian bouncing naked in front of him, facing him, or him standing in front of the camera rapping. There were also intermittent scenes of horses running and some type of canyon/desert. The Franco/Rogen version has Franco in the role of Kanye and Rogen in the role of Kim. It’s a scene-by-scene recreation of the video, which is all it takes to point out the ridiculousness of it all.
**Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Kanye fan, and Yeezus was one of my favorite albums this year. I just think Kanye is ridiculous, and I constantly can’t decide if I love it or hate it.**