Kanye West's big comeback performance on the BET Awards: How did he do?

Kanye-WestImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comKanye West just finished performing his new single “Power” to open the 2010 BET Awards. Even more than usual, all eyes were on Mr. West tonight: This was his first major televised appearance since that ill-fated open mic moment during the MTV Video Music Awards last September. So how did he do?

The man definitely still knows how to make an entrance. Dramatically backlit, West stood on top of a periodically erupting volcano set piece with images of majestic mountain peaks projected behind him. Shades and shadows hid most of his facial expressions, so all we could see was his stylish red suit and enormous chain. But that body language was all Kanye. Striking a defiant pose, he began bellowing out the thoroughly unapologetic lyrics to “Power.”

For some reason, the network kept bleeping those lyrics, but it sounded as if he was already self-censoring all the profanities from the song. (They inexplicably muted Dwele’s recorded backing vocals, too.) That’s because Kanye is a consummate professional. If he left viewers thinking he’s shouting mad, ready to take on the whole world at once, that’s exactly the impression he wanted to leave. “Power” is an angry, conflicted, brilliant song. As I’ve said before, it’s a very unconventional choice for a comeback single. And tonight, Kanye West gave it a masterful rendition that pulled no punches.

As he reached the song’s eerie “beautiful death” coda, he boldly gestured for applause from the crowd — and he got it. This audience, at least, seemed 100 percent ready to welcome West back with open arms. After watching that performance, so am I. How about you? Sound off in the comments below.

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Comments (537 total) Add your comment
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  • alicia

    he did pretty good for his come back i enjoyed it

    • arkm

      Are you serious? He didn’t even match up with his backing music for half the song. Is everyone really that easily distracted by pretty videos of clouds and mountains in the background?

      • Bernice

        @arkm that wasn’t Kanye’s fault whoever is doing the sound for the entire awards has been terrible.

      • Jon Hayford

        It’s not the sound guys fault West has little talent

      • Kanye West

        KANYE is A B**CH

      • Jack

        West is the most self absorbed NON talent in the music industry. If his music were as big as his ego, Michael Jackson would seem SMALL in comparison.
        West is a poor representation of what music should be…period!

      • Spratdat

        I’ll give him this..I listened and was amazed (getting past all the swearing crap he mixed in) at the quality of the flow – lyrically an amazing some.. I do detect that he’s a little miffed … “in this white mans world we’re the ones chosen”….wow Kanye thats classy..

    • LOL

      People still care what he does? He’s yesterday’s news.

      • D2

        Hahahha, what culture do you live in? Kanye isn’t yesterday

      • KDM

        That’s right. He’s last year’s news. He really needs to go away.

      • jazzie

        stop hating on him smh

      • Jeebs

        He could murder and still have a fanbase. His people are going to forgive him no matter what he does…they’ve forgiven worst for the obvious reason!

      • Sampson

        Well let’s see he’s sold millions of records and your talking trash on the internet……Kanye FTW

      • mjb

        sorry folks but hip-hop isn’t like pop music. you actually have to know how to write lyrics that are meaningful and not just sing a song someone wrote for you. And as far as Kanye, his lyrics are great and his skill as a procuder is top notch. Oh, and hip-hop fans don’t throw good artist out; we don’t do that yesterdays news crap- That’s for all the wannabes and hypebeast to do. Good music is good music, deal and stfu.

      • mjb

        producer

      • Get_Real

        @MJB. Hip Hop is superior music??? You poor uninformed idiot. All it takes to do hip hop is the ability to spout out curse words. There is absolutely NO (I repeat NO) talent involved here. Please go listen to an actual musician (a soloist) before you put out lies like this on the internet. Please go listen to Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson to name a few in the guitar world. Hip hop is superior??? Ha I am LMFAO at YOU !!

      • datdude

        @get_real i guess all it takes to be in hip hop is to cuss…if you listen to it a lot of GOOD music has stories behind it..your opinion isnt valuable because from what you wrote i can tell your are biased and you just dont like it at all. Guitarist has nothin to do with hip hop. You are the idiot for even saying no talent is involved. if thats the case make a hip hop cd become famous title the cd no talent and then ill believe no talent is involved..your a joke

      • wow

        @get_real Sounds like the only thing you listen to is the mainstream stuff. I have a respect for all music. Its funny how people who don’t follow hip hop make a statement as if they know something about it. Do some homework get_real, seriously.

      • 101

        Lol @Get_Real. Is Guitar World your only source of musical information? If so, you are sorely under-informed. Go read a real book. Without hip hop and its promotion of the DJ (in conjunction with the turntable) you would not have modern dance/techno/any of that non lyrical “music,” which I’m sure you love. MJB mentioned the lyrical content of hip hop and all you could mention was the lack of instruments in the hip hop genre, which I might add is changing in recent times (beginning in the early 2000′s with hip hop/rock mash albums). As a result you tacitly accepted his assumption that in pop and rock music knowing how to write is only a secondary skill. Learn how to argue properly or leave. Music is not about superiority. P.S. The guitar players you mentioned do not hold a candle to BB King, Eric Clapton and SRV.

      • jennrae

        datdude, Most people have no idea what good hip hop is. Just like most types of music, there’s the good and the bad, and to say it’s all bad is ignorant. I’m not an expert, but there’s Common, Mos Def, The Roots, and other artists who don’t rap about Benjamins or asses or whatever else. I wouldn’t put Lil Wayne, for example, or his contemporaries in the “good” column. They don’t all cuss, or at least not so much that when it’s censored you don’t hear half the song. Yeah, so anyway, just because you haven’t heard of something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There is intelligent hip hop out there.

      • couchgrouch

        rap is worthless trash. sure it sells but so does porn and Halloween pt 10. the “lyric” to Power is just degrading rubbish.

      • jennrae

        couchgrouch, What an ignorant, blanket statement about something you obviously have no knowledge of. I think there’s a Miley Cyrus article around here somewhere…why don’t you go find it?

    • anthony

      it was a great comeback… however, not as great as chris brown’s!

      • jazzie

        omg ikr. Breezy did his thing!! I wish he was there last year to do the MJ tribute too.

      • cocoman

        just keep givin you”re money to these worthless “bubbas”.

      • datdude

        @cocoman “bubba” is used to describe an uneducated white male, “bubba” and reguardless of what you or any other hater think he has a fanbase and makes good music so jump off his n u t’s and enjoy the show…

      • jennrae

        “Bubba” actually means “brother.” It’s become a racist term, like “poor white trash,” “redneck,” or the n-word.

      • the n-word

        bubba is not like the n-word. nothing like the n-word. It has none of the cultural historical significance and has never carried the threat of violence with it like the n-word. Ever seen a white dude on a tree lynched for being a bubba? Didn’t think so. Don’t compare it.

      • jennrae

        They are both used in a derogatory way as a criticism of a person’s race. Discrimination is discrimination. I’ve also never seen a black man lynched, it doesn’t mean it’s never happened. Do you think it’s unheard of for a group of black men/women to outnumber and attack a white man/woman? And yes, it pisses me off when I hear a black person call a white person racist and in the same breath they call that person “poor white trash,” “redneck,” “bubba,” etc as if it’s not hypocritical. I know you can’t possibly think that black people can’t be racist. When you insult someone because of their race it’s racism, whether it’s by calling them “poor white trash” or the n-word and it’s ignorant to think otherwise. I swear, I think some people are just trying to win a “my life is more effed than yours” contest.

    • JC

      He is definitely back. I was wondering how you perform such a “powerful” song, but he pulled it off cleverly. I would have loved to actually see his expressions as it was hard to see his face but I guess he wanted people to pay attention to the lyrics and not him. I won’t forget it that’s for sure, so maybe that was the point…lol.

    • Sally in Chicago

      What’s with the “comeback”? He never went anywhere, he was traveling the world and making headlines while he was recording music. I hate the word “comeback” for somebody who took a “vacation” for about a year.

      • jennrae

        Oh come on! It was obvious that he ducked out until people had time to forgive him for the Taylor Swift fiasco.

    • Mike

      It’s amazing what not being a ****-faced, stumbling drunk can do for your composure.

  • val

    it was ok

  • val

    keep up with the comments, CNN…YOU’RE too slow

  • Tee

    WOW!

  • Kit

    He smashed it! Mr. West is back and he is not playing around. Em and Jay need to hop on a collab with him. And 50 cent, aka wanna be dollar better stay away from the stage. Kanye fever is at an all time high, and he’s still got the ego to crush these so called rappers in the game.

    • arkm

      Either you didn’t watch the performance, or you were paid to write good things about Kanye. It was a complete train wreck.

      • Kit

        I watched it and I enjoyed. Your not the authority on art so I suggest your take your bias and self contained opinion and learn that you don’t define talent.

      • arkm

        @kit You are entitled to enjoy Kanye’s horrible performance. There is no accounting for bad taste.

      • iKEEPit100

        i love these coward hip hop haters, keep it coming, u are keeping the movement alive dumb a$$,LMAO AT U!

      • arkm

        I don’t hate hip hop. Kanye’s performance at the BET awards was simply terrible.

        His number fell apart at the beginning, but enough people were obviously distracted by the pretty pictures of mountains and clouds to pay attention.

      • sydneymusic

        he was great, and after the Taylor Swift thing, the audence enjoyed it, he had good presence. So be quiet!!!!!! And u am only a kid so i was not paid to write this.

    • Daniel

      Not only are you wondering about your Govt’s aid or lack of it…but no one from the Aussie Embassy even amtttpeed to locate or help the almost 100 Aussies known to be in the area. Two got out after helping lots of people only by way of an Aussie newscrew. Seems when it comes to helping out…politicans look after themselves first, last and foremost. And who’s bright idea was it to “rescue” people and place them on inaccessable overpasses, without food or water. Whoever has co ordinated that little effort needs a kick in the pants ( or more)

  • John

    Kanye’s performance was brilliant and a testament to the amazing performer he is. So creative. Can’t wait for September 14th.

    • arkm

      You didn’t watch the performance. It was terrible. Almost like he didn’t bother to show up to rehearsals.

      • nige

        why are you hating…just admit it was a good performance…i bet when kanye interupted taylor you were the first to take her side..your just a hater.

      • arkm

        @nige If you consider a train wreck to be a good performance, then that’s your bad taste.

      • datdude

        @morgan just cause someone is nice doesnt mean they make good music…i like taylor swift and all but she goofy and honestly she didnt deserve the award she got…i cant stand beyonce but it should have went to her for the simple fact that she has been a great artist since destiny child and she has produce more and much better music than taylor swift

  • morgan

    Something similar to Rihanna’s Russian Roulette? Not that it was her comeback, but it was dark, unconventional etc etc, something to think about?

    Meanwhile, i haven’t forgiven him for Taylor Swift, whatever you may say about her music and her, she is one nice cookie.

    • Chris

      He never should have left to begin with. The Taylor Swift thing was overblown. So much fake outrage over nothing.

      • sheikwil

        all the haters are just pissed because Kanye told the truth. Taylor Swift is horrible, she can’t sing, she is popular because they cover up her bad singing with computers, that’s why she always sound terrible when she is live and they make up excuses for her. 5 years from now, she won’t be around.

      • jazzie

        to be real Kanye actually made her popular and made people start checking for her. ‘Ye wasn’t lying. She’s whack and she can’t sing. She should be thanking him. smh

      • MK

        Taylor Swift is horrible live, I am white and I can admit that. The problem is how Kanye did it. Yeah he did what alot were thinking but he could have done it better. I am glad he is back. But IMO Chris Brown was the best! His tribute to MJ was spot on and fantastic!

      • thin

        It was graceless and crass. You don’t get up and put someone’s award down in the moment that is supposed to be for them to thank people, regardless of who it is or whether they really should have won.

      • thin

        I can’t stand Taylor Swift, for the record.

    • Jz

      You say she’s a nice cookie, but it seems to be a popular consensus that she is full of herself and mean. When her fans say that, it makes me wonder if she really is as sweet as the media portrays her.

  • CJ

    “That’s because Kanye is a consummate professional.”

    SURELY YOU JEST?!

    • Arnold Betadine

      He’s being unprofessional, drugged, and disrespectful to fellow artists made him a consummate professional. You are probably drugged just like him.

      • Jean

        Arnold,

        And I assume that you are a perfect human being…

  • Jane

    Eh it was just OK. Not lyrically or musically his best. Expected more from a lead single.

    • Jack

      It’s his second single that’s always the one for the radios.

  • Moe

    He stinks!

  • I Hate Kanye

    Kanye sucks – 8 months ago everyone agreed – and now all of a sudden he is “professional”? What a joke.

    • Moe

      Amen

      • Jose

        Supamum and Natasha:I agree with both of you. As I was surfing the bshgoloere, I left a harsh comment on someone’s blog because they were complaining about the looting. They couldn’t understand why people couldn’t wait for help…nicely. How conveninent of this person to forget that these people had been waiting for help for days without outside communication: no TV’s, cell phones or internet. Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention without WATER, FOOD, AND MEDICAL ATTENTION!! There was no leadership or law enforcement. This equals anarchy, the total deterioration of soceity. No one was telling them that help was coming…someday. I also explained that if I had been in the same situation, I would have looted to feed my 7 kids, without a second thought. (And I am a law abiding citizen.) There are people that will follow their political parties blindly and disregard the blatant evidence of their parties’ deliberate decisions that cause harm. I cannot and will not do so. We all have the same blood running through our veins. We all deserve respect, dignity and humane treatment, regardless of our: income, race, religion or political party. It seems that there are many people that cannot do this. They have become cultish in their political beliefs. I am: a human being, a woman, a Christian and a mother. These people describe themselves as their party first, forgetting that humans make the world go round not the donkeys and the elephants. I was unaware of the Aussie’s that were stranded. I hope that they are able to escape the disaster area and return home safely as soon as possible. Unfortuantely, it seems that they also have been caught in the middle of politics. Ticklebug:I am glad that I was able to help you see things in a different perspective…csc5502d:I visited your blog. I too was ostracized and alienated due to prejudice. But unlike you, it has given me empathy and compassion. You are being fueled by your anger and feelings of injustice and “victimhood”. You say that you are not racist, but you spewed alot of venom towards the black community. Before you throw some poison my way, suffice it to say, I am not black, but I have been treated with the same racism. I know how it feels to live and deal with White America. My children attend a school that consists of 94% caucasian. They have lived here since they were 4,3,2, and 8 mos. and the other two were born here. They are still called racial slurs on an everyday basis. They have learned that not everyone has the ability to see a human being, some see color or other ethnic traits. Still, they do not cause others the same pain. They do not continue to perpetuate the racial divide that is eminent in America. And for that I thank God.

      • Michael

        Supamum and Natasha:I agree with both of you. As I was surfing the blrohsoege, I left a harsh comment on someone’s blog because they were complaining about the looting. They couldn’t understand why people couldn’t wait for help…nicely. How conveninent of this person to forget that these people had been waiting for help for days without outside communication: no TV’s, cell phones or internet. Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention without WATER, FOOD, AND MEDICAL ATTENTION!! There was no leadership or law enforcement. This equals anarchy, the total deterioration of soceity. No one was telling them that help was coming…someday. I also explained that if I had been in the same situation, I would have looted to feed my 7 kids, without a second thought. (And I am a law abiding citizen.) There are people that will follow their political parties blindly and disregard the blatant evidence of their parties’ deliberate decisions that cause harm. I cannot and will not do so. We all have the same blood running through our veins. We all deserve respect, dignity and humane treatment, regardless of our: income, race, religion or political party. It seems that there are many people that cannot do this. They have become cultish in their political beliefs. I am: a human being, a woman, a Christian and a mother. These people describe themselves as their party first, forgetting that humans make the world go round not the donkeys and the elephants. I was unaware of the Aussie’s that were stranded. I hope that they are able to escape the disaster area and return home safely as soon as possible. Unfortuantely, it seems that they also have been caught in the middle of politics. Ticklebug:I am glad that I was able to help you see things in a different perspective…csc5502d:I visited your blog. I too was ostracized and alienated due to prejudice. But unlike you, it has given me empathy and compassion. You are being fueled by your anger and feelings of injustice and “victimhood”. You say that you are not racist, but you spewed alot of venom towards the black community. Before you throw some poison my way, suffice it to say, I am not black, but I have been treated with the same racism. I know how it feels to live and deal with White America. My children attend a school that consists of 94% caucasian. They have lived here since they were 4,3,2, and 8 mos. and the other two were born here. They are still called racial slurs on an everyday basis. They have learned that not everyone has the ability to see a human being, some see color or other ethnic traits. Still, they do not cause others the same pain. They do not continue to perpetuate the racial divide that is eminent in America. And for that I thank God.

    • Matt

      Amen 2

    • JayLi

      But does he suck because his performance was bad or because of what he did eight months ago? Yeah that whole thing was extremely wrong but his music didn’t tank just his reputation.

      • KateE

        Could not agree more, JayLi. It’s just like Tiger Woods, his actions were wrong but it does not mean he isn’t great at his profession! Kanye did great tonight and I am looking forward to his comeback, that was not needed to begin with because he has always been one of the rap greats.

      • jddpp

        What Kanye did wasn’t that bad that he deserves this type of criticism 8 months later. Some celebrities do worse and it is easily forgotten.

      • kenville

        It was horrible… I can’t believe they let him play that crap on t.v. he should do that in his bathroom shower not in public

      • lmfao:)

        couldn’t agree more.

    • juwan smith

      no u suck taylors okay but not there yet

    • YUCK

      amen 3

    • Jen

      Look he made a mistake. The only reason people made a big deal out of it was because it was Taylor Swift. Get over it already. He’s a great musician and has made some amazing music.

      • arkm

        Why is everybody bringing up the thing with Taylor Swift? This article was about Kanye’s “comeback” performance at the BET awards.

        Kanye may be a good musician, but tonite’s performance was terrible in every way– He didn’t match up with the music. He sounded terrible. He didn’t move at all on stage. The only thing his number had going for it was pictures of pretty clouds and mountains.

    • JC

      8 months ago everyone didn’t want eo hear the truth. After Taylor won Album Of The Year, people forgave Kanye West instantly….LMAO. That chick didn’t deserve that….seriously! :)

    • Spratdat

      Zactly..I see he has learned exactly zero..he’s still completely full of himself.

      • ernie cardenas

        chupe mi webos pinche vedga way

    • King

      Lame.

  • keef

    He is a complete *ss

  • CMD

    Kanye is not racist he just doesn’t take crap from people like most artist do, and he recognizes the inert racism that exist in entertainment today. Look at the way movies like “The Last Airbender” were cast. Just because he doesn’t like the way his people are treated doesn’t mean he hates all the other people.

    • He Sucks!

      your an idiot!

      • CMD

        That response was idiotic. Pathetic actually. Why don’t you try proving me wrong instead.

      • T.C.

        Yeah, and if you’re going to call someone an idiot, you should really use the correct spelling of you’re. I hate grammar nazis, but you asked for it with that comment.

      • anglmother

        Thank you, T.C. !!! I’ve been biting my tongue during all of these comments about seeing that ‘your’ instead of the correct ‘you’re’. I, too, hate people who are always commenting about grammar, but we are getting lazy out here.

    • Arnold Betadine

      You call an unprofessional, disrespectful artist a consummate professional. Your an oxymoron

      • Herceg

        Yup, I and my friends thghout the same thing, we figured it was all a set up by Kanye West in order to make someone’s career grow or prevent from going down…that’s Hollywood for you!!! Nothing is ever real expect maybe for some “real life” shows/reality shows, but even those, I’m sure, are edited to a certain extent.

    • BD

      What does The Last Airbender have to do with anything? And besides, it’s a piece of fiction about a mythical world with races that aren’t real–so what does it matter who is cast in the various roles?

    • jazzie

      yep you right

  • He Sucks!

    He still sucks!

  • Bill

    Wow, just wow. Kanye is brilliant. Amazing performance – Mr. West is in the building!

    • DEE

      idiot

      • DEE

        talented idiot

    • Trevor

      Mr. West is in the building? Great! He can clean the toilets!!

      • bigmommashouse

        i didn’t watch this. I just say this article on a blurb. To tell you the truth I don’t need to watch this. I respected Kanye when I saw him sampling on a keyboard and using that art form to make music. Because to tell the truth most people don’t have the patience or time to make hip-hop/rap that way anymore. Aside from that his ego, the thing that draws people to or against him is so out of hand that his artistic credibility is on the line and it always will be. He needs to sacrifice the lime light and what people say about him and turn all that mumbo-jumbo into a great work of art shut his ****ing mouth and start to manifest his talents into something we all can enjoy. Taylor Swift included. Until then I’m going to hate and still listen to Mozart.

      • mjb

        we’ll leave the toilet cleaning to taylor swift, she’s out of work now after all.

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