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Kanye West joins The-Dream at Area

March 14, 2009|Jeff Weiss

Fresh off his appearance on Wednesday night's "American Idol," Kanye West popped up at The-Dream's MySpace Release Show at West Hollywood's Area to help the R&B singer (and Def Jam label-mate) perform their collaboration, "Walking on the Moon."

When the crowd first caught sight of the self-proclaimed "Louis Vuitton Don" emerging from the recesses of the dangerously crowded nightclub, it detonated into a hysterical thunder, worthy of the spot West is trying to occupy in the pop culture firmament: Michael Jackson, circa "Thriller."

West threatened to steal the show from The-Dream (born Terius Nash), delivering a walloping 16 bars. The pair followed that up with a cappella duets of West's "Heartless" and "The Good Life."

West was clad in an uncharacteristically simple leather jacket, red T-shirt and jeans, and his mood matched his modest garb. Displaying an unusual self-effacing streak, the pop icon seemed aware that this was The-Dream's time to shine, declaring Nash "the most talented artist out right now . . . [one who's] released two classics back-to-back."

Indeed, "Love Vs. Money," the sophomore effort from The-Dream, who co-wrote Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," has drawn effusive critical praise since its release Tuesday, levitated by hit singles including the Mariah Carey-aided "My Love," and "Rockin' That Thang" and "Walking on the Moon."

The-Dream's performance did bolster the argument that he is the brightest star to emerge from contemporary R&B in recent years -- or at least since T-Pain.

Accordingly, Def Jam has embarked on a promotional blitzkrieg usually reserved for A-listers like West and Jay-Z, with Queen Latifah, Christina Milian and label-mate Fabolous all in attendance at the showcase. Fabolous helped The-Dream perform the remix of "Rockin' That Thang."

The set list featured the "Love Vs. Money" singles and material from The-Dream's debut, "Love/Hate," including "Shawty Is a 10," "I Luv Your Girl" and "Falsetto," plus faithful versions of "Purple Kisses" and Prince homage "Fast Cars."

The chaotic crowd and faulty nightclub sightlines made the brief show something less than a dream to experience, but The-Dream flashed enough potential to suggest he too might one day make a guest appearance on "American Idol." And he won't even need Auto-Tune.


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