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Kanye West bashes Justin Timberlake, Grammys, corporate sponsorships

February 25, 2013|By August Brown
  • Kanye West these days is directing his ire toward Justin Timberlake, the Grammys and more.
Kanye West these days is directing his ire toward Justin Timberlake, the… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)

Kanye West may be a fashion maven, but he doesn't have much love for a "Suit & Tie."

At his Friday London gig at the Hammersmith Apollo, West took about 10 minutes out of his set to tear into Justin Timberlake's new single, the Grammys and corporate sponsorship of pop music.

It's classic Ye: making enemies of powerful figures, lambasting institutions that fail to recognize his genius, and a continued wrinkle in his complicated relationship with music and commerce. 

The "Suit & Tie" jab might be most surprising, as the song prominently features his longtime collaborator and "Watch the Throne"-mate Jay Z. "I got love for Hov, but I ain’t ... with that ‘Suit & Tie’," West said. Perhaps if the song were titled "Suit & Kilt," he'd be on board?

He quickly veered into another excoriation of his great awards-show nemesis, the Grammys, inviting the telecast to perform a lewd act toward him. This continues a longstanding gripe with the Recording Academy, after it failed to reward any of his recent albums with a major-category statuette.

But the centerpiece of the monologue was a delightfully sarcastic evocation of the contemporary artists' relationship with corporate sponsorship. 

"Can I sell a drink for you please? So you can help me put on a better show. Please, corporations. Can you please support me? I swear I'm a nice ... now. I swear I'll put the pink polo back on. I swear to you. Please. Just for $3 million. I need it so bad. I need a new pool in my backyard. "

West later alluded to his own tendency toward pop-music villainy (especially Taylor-gate) and how his ego and his taste for the high life can blow up in his face: "‘Did we get the check yet? I gotta call the business manager. Did the corporations send the check? What is my public rating? Are people liking me again? Enough to get some money from the corporations? They forgot about the whole Beyoncé thing, right? Cool. Is it OK now?'"

For all of West's self-absorbtion, you have to admit he's self-aware.  

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