By Paul Cantor
So Kanye West and SNL finally kissed and made up. On Saturday (October 2), Kanye West returned to the stage at New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza for an episode of “Saturday Night Live,” touting a less offensive second verse.
The embattled rap star performed “Runaway,” with recent G.O.O.D. Music addition Pusha T, and “Power,” with a new second verse that did away with his dis (“F— SNL and the whole cast/ tell them Yeezy said they can kiss my whole a–”) of the storied NBC sketch comedy show.
The episode was hosted by “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, and also featured Morgan Freeman and Ernest Borgnine in one sketch. However, much of the show appeared as filler for Kanye’s highly anticipated performance. West last appeared on SNL in 2007, an episode hosted by another celebrity turned public enemy, Lebron James. Ye’s mood toward SNL soured when the show began taking shots at him following his Taylor Swift VMA rant in 2009. He aired his distaste for SNL by dissing it in “Power,” but that didn’t stop cast members from enjoying the infectious tune.
West appeared roughly forty five minutes into last night’s episode, the performance set cloaked in white. Although unconfirmed, it’s been said that in the 35 years the show has been on television, the set has never been altered for an artist.
Dressed in red, draped in a handful of gaudy gold chains and donning a golden Roman wreath headband, he performed “Power.” He was flanked by ballet dancers clad in white leotards. In his newly constructed second verse, he offered a brief explanation of his anti-establishment actions, spitting, “Cause they trying to control every single decision/ you ain’t F’in the system then why the F is you living?” At the end of his performance, he stood on a small staircase, with dancers to his sides atop pillars, and looked straight down at the ground. Victorious on the SNL stage, Kanye came, he saw, he conquered.
Kanye’s second performance found him toying with an Akai MPC drum machine, playfully tapping out the piano melody to “Runaway” on the device’s pads and dutifully adding the accompanying the song’s vocal samples. He wore the same outfit as he did for “Power.” Pusha T came on midway through the song for his verse, dressed in a white blazer, crisp jeans and pair of sunglasses. On the set’s white background, Kanye in red and Pusha in white, it appeared as if the pair were performing in heaven. Upon finishing the song, Kanye flashed a brief smile and bowed.
At the end of the episode, ‘Ye smile was replaced by something of a poker face—it appeared as if he might have been a bit peeved about something—but put up a reluctant peace sign with his fingers and turned to the SNL cast for requisite congratulatory hugs.