Kanye West was the musical guest for the Season 44 premiere of Saturday Night Live. He brought his MAGA hat along.
It was originally supposed to be Ariana Grande, but she cancelled. So instead we got West, performing three songs (not SNL‘s usual two): A debut of “We Got Love,” featuring Teyana Taylor, along with “Ghost Town” (from West’s June 2018 album, Ye) and “I Love It,” featuring Lil Pump.
Those who attended the show’s live taping were also treated — maybe not the right word to use here, but just go with it — to another Kanye West trademark: An impassioned rant.
“They bullied me backstage. They said ‘Don’t go out there with that hat on.’ They bullied me.”
It happened after “Ghost Town,” which closed the show. Normally, SNL episodes end with that week’s guests appearing on the main stage with the main cast for an informal goodbye, but that’s not how things went down on the Season 44 premiere.
Instead, West invited the cast up to the stage as he ran down his final performance of the night. For viewers at home, that’s where the show ended. But West didn’t relinquish the stage. Instead he sounded off on the same talking points he’s been spouting since he entered the “I support Donald Trump and fuck you for telling me not to” phase of his career.
He called for his haters to “try love” if they want to “move the world forward.” He cited a data point, seemingly fabricated on the spot, that “90 percent of news are liberal,” and that makes it seem “like it’s so, so, so one-sided.”
He also reiterated his previously stated plan to run for president in 2020. After that, West — a man whose fame is based in large part on his penchant for ranting publicly with no filter — said “we need to have a dialogue, not a diatribe.”
Footage from the unaired portion of West’s performance made its way to social media. The above clip, from producer Mike Dean, shows some of it. There’s some more below, plucked from an Instagram Story that Chris Rock shared.
Midway through Rock’s assortment of clips, you can hear the comic audibly chuckle and whisper “Oh my god.”
Oh my god indeed. For all his “try love” talk, the reality is that West consistently uses his platform to incite and divide. He frames his critics as bullies and dismisses rational arguments against his naively rosy view that it’s possible for everyone to just drop the baggage and come together.
Kanye West doesn’t have a damn clue what he’s talking about. That’s never been more true than it is right here.