West reveals honest side on Storytellers album

Ambrosio Rodriguez

Ambrosio Rodriguez

After a drunken rant during MTV’s Video Music Awards (which are a joke – everyone knows MTV doesn’t show music videos anymore), Kanye West has been crucified by the media and the public ever since. His acting out and outrageous behavior at award shows have defined him more than his music.

VH1’s release on Jan. 5 of his live performance at VH1 studios adds Kanye to a list of amazing artists like Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie, both of whom performed for VH1 in the earlier years. Storytellers, similar to MTV’s “Unplugged,” gives artists the chance to describe the history or inspiration of the songs that made them great.

Kanye’s set list consists of five tracks from his latest album, 808s & Heartbreak, along with his Grammy-winning Good Life and a few other crowd favorites. 808s & Heartbreak was largely influenced by the death of his mother after plastic surgery, and the split between him and then-fiancee, designer Alexis Phifer. It features more intimate songs that have been far and few between on his albums.

Armed with a live orchestra, a scratch- happy DJ, a full band and an energetic crowd, Kanye puts on quite a show, something that can also be visually experienced with the accompanying DVD that comes in the two-disc pack. He acts as a maestro at times during the songs – composing, changing the tempo, sound and arranging instruments.

The album’s more surprising moments involve his song “RoboCop” and his love for comedian Jack Black’s band Tenacious D. At one time, West said, “I know I’m supposed to talk about what these songs mean, but some of these songs are so personal. The things I’ve been through are so real … Certain things are just hard for me to talk about, certain things are too serious.”

That really gives the listener a vibe of how honest and painful some of the newer Kanye songs are.

His most touching and personal “rant” on the entire album is during “Amazing” when he said, “I apologize for acting like a d**k at award shows, but it’s an award show, I mean I didn’t kill anyone. I still apologize for my ungraciousness.”

This album is a touching addition to Kanye West’s already stellar list of albums. Three of his four albums have appeared on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the top albums of the decade, along with his beats accompanying Jay-Z’s Blueprint album. West has two songs on RS’s list of top songs of the decade, so the future is looking bright for Kanye West in the new decade.

This is a great, honest, revealing and truthful album kicking off the 2010 music year.