For two nights, starting Sunday, Kanye West does Air Canada Centre, where the North American leg of the ambitious but logistically nightmarish Yeezus tour comes to an end. The hip-hopping provocateur closes his concerts with Bound 2, a crazy-great track that is ironically titled. “Bound to,” as if there were anything at all that could be considered inevitable when it comes to him. Here’s a look at his year of living outrageously, evidence of the man’s unpredictability.
Feb. 23: “Please corporations. Can you please support me?” At a concert at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, after dissing the Justin Timberlake-Jay Z collaboration Suit & Tie, the grumpy Mr. West sarcastically rails against corporate sponsorship. Perhaps agitated by a R&B singer’s deal with Pepsi, the rapper specifically refers to the “whole Beyonce thing.” Now, it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature and you do not tug on Superman’s cape, but messing with Queen Bey? You crazy for that one, Kanye.
May 17: New Slaves, the first single from the then-forthcoming Yeezus LP, premieres via a video projection on public buildings the world over, including the Royal Ontario Museum. Lyrics angrily indict institutional racism and there’s a superb pop-cultural reference to the Bobby Boucher character of Waterboy fame.
June 14: Yeezus leaks four days before the album’s official release date. No big deal.
June 15: North West, the baby daughter of Kim Kardashian and the enigmatic rapper, drops well before the child’s expected release date.
July 19: Mr. West scuffles with a paparazzo at Los Angeles International Airport. Apparently the same photographer was attacked with an umbrella by Britney Spears in 2007. (Oops it happened again.)
Sept. 25: Reacting to Jimmy Kimmel’s spoof of a BBC interview with Mr. West two days earlier, the humourless hip-hop hero goes on an upper-cased Twitter-based rampage against Mr. Kimmel. The most excellent hashtag “no disrespect to Ben Affleck” enjoys a brief surge in popularity.
Oct. 20: A Yeezus concert scheduled for Vancouver’s Rogers Arena is postponed until Oct. 31. Then the Halloween show is scuttled hours before it was scheduled to begin, after a truck carrying tour equipment is involved in an accident. Later the concert (and others, including one in Montreal) is cancelled altogether. Yeezuz walks, for reals.
Nov. 19: The hilariously dreadful video for Bound 2 hits YouTube. Motorcycle sex is set back years, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Dec. 7: The vainglorious rapper compares the risks he takes on stage to the danger facing soldiers and policemen. “I'm just giving of my body on the stage and putting my life at risk, literally,” he tells a New York radio host. How will he top that doozy? Stay tuned – the year’s not over yet.
Kanye West, with Kendrick Lamar, Dec. 22 and 23, 7:30 p.m. $51.75 to $211.75. Air Canada Centre, 50 Bay St., 1-855-985-5000 or ticketmaster.ca.