In these days of the popularity of tabloid journalism it's quite easy for a celebrity like Kanye West to have his art overshadowed by the antics of his personal life. Since the release of his 2004 debut, The College Dropout, the Chicago-bred rapper has been fortunate to have enough good music in the marketplace to remain relevant based on his talent.
But to some, he is best known for his incidences, like Thursday's widely covered run-in with the paparazzi while at the Los Angeles International Airport en route to Hawaii or one of his numerous outbursts at award shows.
Below are 10 of Kanye's Most Extreme Moments. The list includes moments of his extreme brilliance, uncontrollable utterances (good and bad) and even a horrible tragedy that is clearly the wackest thing that could happen to anyone. The latter is proof that he isn't always the perpetrator but sometimes a victim himself.
10) Jesus Literally Walks With Kanye
Kanye made three videos for his heralded track "Jesus Walks." Version 3 is the most shocking. The video offers a literal interpretation of the song. It's hilarious watching Kanye walking down the street accompanied by Jesus, who is wearing a toga, sandals and the crown of thorns. I don't think anyone was expecting this or any other rapper would produce something this compelling.
9) Kanye Finally Wins
8) Bonnaroo Boos Kanye
The thousands of fans who turned out for Kanye's early morning performance on June 15 at the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee were livid that the show started 2 hours late. The crowd booed and threw bottles, and even dissed Kanye the following days during sets for Zach Rogue and Robert Randolph. Kanye posted a blog on his website, saying that the delay wasn't his fault. He blamed the festival for not being able to accommodate his set up requirements and a Pearl Jam show that exceeded its time by an hour.
7) Kanye Gets Justice
Obviously determined to upstage any of his previous award show tantrums, Kanye West bum rushed the stage at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards in Copenhagen when he did not receive the Best Video award for his video "Touch The Sky." Kanye rudely interrupted Justice vs. Simian's acceptance speech for their video "We Are Your Friends." In Kanye's clip, he took on an Evil Knievel like persona, kissed Pamela Anderson and had a verbal showdown with Nia Long. Even though Kanye admitted that he had never seen the Justice vs. Simian video, he didn't need to. Actually, it is pretty bad.
Poor Gretchen Wilson's big American Music Award win for Best New Artist is overshadowed by Kanye's protest for losing. Not only did Kanye storm out of the event, he lashed out backstage. "I feel I was definitely robbed," Kanye told the Associated Press. "I was the best new artist this year." He later apologized to Gretchen.
5) Kanye Curses The VMAs
Britney Spear's sloppy opening performance for MTV's 2007 VMA awards may be the most memorable event from the night, but Kanye's backstage tirade is just as unforgettable. Not only did Kanye not win any of the five VMA awards for which he was nominated, he was also relegated to performing in a hotel suite, as opposed to the main stage. When he saw Justin Timberlake take the main stage, Kanye went ballistic, cursing the cable network and vowing to never return. Fortunately the ordeal was caught on tape.
4) Kanye's 9/11 Airport Fiasco
It seems a bit unreal that Kanye--of all people--would now have on record his own airport troubles on 9/11. On Thursday, Kanye got into a scuffle with a paparazzi that resulted in an arrest. After Kanye's road manager told the photographer to stop photographing him to no avail, Kanye and his road manager commandeered the photographer's equipment and smashed it dead. Kanye and his accomplice were arrested and faced charges of felony vandalism.
3) Kanye Looks Out For Hurricane Katrina Victims
Watching the news coverage of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina made a huge impact on Kanye. While taping a live Concert For Hurricane Relief telethon, Kanye ignored the teleprompter and offered impromptu and controversial words. He complained that the victims were not receiving adequate help and were portrayed on the news as looters. He concluded his remarks with an accusation that shocked viewers: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
2) Kanye Escapes Death
Before Kanye launched his solo career, he experienced a near fatal car accident. He had fallen asleep while driving after leaving an extended recording session. The accident left him badly injured, but with his mouth stilled wired shut, he documented the tragedy in song. The positive reaction to "Through The Wire" finally earned him a record deal with Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records.
Kanye Loses The Girl Who Knew Him Best
Few hip-hop artists show their mothers the type of affection Kanye bestowed upon Dr. Donda West. Though Kanye's off-the-cuff attitude has gotten him dismissed as selfish by many, fans and naysayers alike extended their sincere condolences when they learned that his mother had died suddenly on November 10, 2007. Because Dr. West passed away after undergoing plastic surgery there was speculation regarding the cause of death which was later determined to be heart disease. In addition to co-managing her son, Dr. West had also worked as a professor and former chairwoman of the Chicago State University English department.
- Kanye West