Kanye West

VH1 Storytellers

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Originally aired in February 2009, Kanye West's VH1 Storytellers sees release as a DVD/CD set, with the CD containing the first three-fourths of the 808s & Heartbreak-heavy performance, concluding with “Stronger” -- so there’s no “Homecoming,” “Streetlights,” or “Paranoid.” Segments of the audience question-and-answer session, provided in full on the DVD, are woven into the CD, and not in a seamless manner. It’s also bizarre that there wasn’t an attempt to pack as much of the music as possible into the audio-only portion. Regardless, the disc provides a pristine recording of an intimate gig, one in which West repeatedly switches between laying his soul bare and acting like an egomaniac, like when he touches upon the very real and understandable rage he feels toward his late mother’s cosmetic surgeon, then later proclaims, “My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.” It’s slightly amusing to hear the audience get less enthusiastic with each name checked during the six-minute monologue that transpires during the eight-minute “Amazing”: “Michael Jackson: amazing. Michael Phelps: amazing. O.J. Simpson: amazing…is he not? What he did…was he not amazing, though?” (A couple audience members cheer tentatively, possibly because they are not sure if West is referring to Simpson’s football career, Towering Inferno, or a murder acquittal.) Like all the other installments in the series, this one makes a nice addition to a hardcore supporter’s collection.

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