Blessings mother f*ckers! The homie Hagan Lee hit us with this gem of a writing contribution just a couple days ago. I say gem, because I must be honest with how excited this piece really got me.

About a couple months ago, I had my mind made up. F*ck Kanye West. F*ck his overpriced shoes that he promised to the masses, but are still relatively only for the elite. F*ck his absolutely garbage clothing line via Adidas which is nothing short of over distressed and oversized military surplus gear.  F*ck his rants, and f*ck all the press he gets for literally being a new form of click bait. Pablo was a decent body of work (the first leaked version), but In my head, I had committed to never giving Kanye West any more press via CLPNation.com. Then something interesting happened…

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via College Dropout

Hagan Lee, a fellow creative talent here in The Bay area, and honest supporter  of our efforts here at CLPNation.com said he went to the Kanye West show in Tampa, and wrote a piece about it. I read it literally getting out of my car right before a quick hooping session on the courts. It was absolutely stellar because I was instantly reminded that despite the current state of affairs that is Kanye West, it was The College Dropout that reassured me I wasn’t committing life suicide when I decided to drop college to journey down this proverbial road towards independent creation. Moreover, I was reminded that every time Kanye West get’s under my skin, it’s because he’s earned the right to do whatever he, as a creative mind feels like doing, and ultimately profit from it. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was the end goal for all creatives.

Here’s Hagan Lee’s take on the 9/14/16 Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour show from the Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida. Share and enjoy!

Follow on Twitter: @IamHaganLee

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via tampabay.com

Few artists in history are as polarizing as Kanye West. Millions of people love him, millions of people feel the exact opposite, but everyone feels some way about him… Exactly the way he wants it.

Anybody who knows me knows I fall into the love category. I’ve been with him since he burst onto the scene as Roc-A-Fella’s in-house producer extraordinaire who wanted nothing more than to be in front of the mic. I’ve purchased all of his albums, downloaded the early mixtapes, defended him (even when he left very little to defend), and have now seen him live in concert 6 times. You could say I’m a fan.

The thing about Kanye fans is, we get it. It’s not that we agree with everything he says or does, it’s not that we understand his ranting and raving at some higher level than the rest of the world, it’s that we understand – at the end of the day – it’s always about the music. As long as he keeps providing us with our life’s soundtrack, he can do no wrong.

The first time I saw Ye was at the House Of Blues in Orlando, FL. This was right after College Dropout was released and the world was being introduced to the man who would become the biggest celebrity in Hip-Hop. Incredible show, intimate but still felt big at the time. Next was at the USF Sundome, then Tropicana Field for 94.1’s Last Damn Show, then the Glow In The Dark Tour, Yeezus, and finally Saint Pablo… All different, never once have I been disappointed. That trend continued Wednesday night.

I didn’t know what to expect leading up to this show. I avoided most posts on social media talking about the show in other cities. I didn’t read one single article or review. I did, however, hear about his floating stage.

My homeboy Redemption invited me to this show (major shout out to his wife Conda on the purchase) and I was happy to accompany him on his first trip to a Yeezy concert. I advised him to go in with no expectations because, if history had taught me anything, it’s that Kanye West will do some unexpected shit throughout the night.

This was my experience, my observations, and my night visiting Saint Pablo…

6:30PM

  • Traveling to a concert is always interesting. The anticipation, the discussions about the artist, the music… It’s all good!

7:00PM

  • Got here early enough to grab a great parking spot with a great exit strategy… POW!
  • One simply doesn’t go to a Kanye concert and NOT have a little bit of Hennessy…
  • People seemed to show up pretty early to get into the show…
  • This may be the most diverse group of people I’ve ever seen at a concert…
  • There is way more Adidas being worn than I imagined, even though I didn’t think about it once until I noticed…

8:00PM

  • Doors are opening, people rushing… We’ll wait back and eat these tacos…
  • Snapchat is still winning…
  • And I thought concessions at sporting events were bad… $8 for a water, $16 for a Heineken? I’ll take the Heineken please…
  • Kanye West puts more thought and effort into the pre-show soundtrack than 99.9% of rappers put into their entire show…
  • Kids mistaking howling wolves for spooky Halloween music. I guess they miss the reference. Bet they’ll get it when he plays Wolves…
  • Love it or hate it, Kylie Jenner is a legitimate role model. So many girls here that look identical to her…
  • Maybe it was Halloween music… Or wolves… But it’s been going on for a while…

10:00PM

  • Clock, people are getting restless, and they’re trying to will him onto his floating platform with cheering and clapping… They must forget who they’re dealing with.
  • I shouldn’t have gotten here at 7…
  • This time waiting and drinking beers, has given the homie and I plenty of time to ponder short form Vs long form writing and musical impact…
  • This dude is making a killing on merchandise alone…
  • Kanye still isn’t here, and the wolves are back… Where is Vic Mensa?

10:20PM

  • Lights off, show starting… I’ll be back…
  • Ye is taking this Yeezus shit serious…
  • This floating stage is definitely crazy. Kanye is strapped on, still wilding, and everyone on the floor starts moshing the minute the lights from the bottom hit them…
  • It’s dark everywhere else, so much for all of the lights…
  • Ok, I’m starting to buy in, this dude is wild…

You don’t realize how many great guest spots a rapper has had until he starts doing them back to back, live in concert. There isn’t another rapper who can pull this shit off… Mercy!

“That’s That Shit I Don’t Like” turns into a diatribe towards Kid Cudi…

“Respect The God!” “I Birthed You!”

Demp just informed me Cudi dissed Ye on Twitter today. The drama continues in Tampa…

“I feel disrespected.”

Kanye is definitely affected by Cudi’s comments, but more importantly, Demp just got to witness his first Kanye West rant in person!

There’s no denying this man’s catalog… from features to recent, he hasn’t missed and we haven’t even touched the classics.

  • Can’t Tell Me Nothing” will continue to be his greatest song performed live, in my opinion. I’m going to assume he agrees while we watch him perform the song to completion…
  • The stage/setup is moving and changing… This is not your normal Hip-Hop show, but to be fair, what Kanye show is?
  • Kanye West and Eminem have two different definitions of what a rap god is. Eminem says it and means the greatest lyrically and most technical to do it… Kanye says it and puts his parishioners into frenzy… *Plays Jesus Walks*

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via rollingstone.com

11:15PM

  • Is it ironic that no lights are flashing while he performs “Flashing Lights” half-heartedly?
  • “Name one genius that ain’t crazy!” He may be one, he may be both, but one thing is for certain… He knows what he’s doing.
  • After hours of wolves howling, we have “Wolves,” and it’s his most grandiose performance piece of the night…
  • People love “Heartless” a whole lot! Not sure if it’s because it’s his first classic record in a while or if they just really dig it…
  • Kanye’s hardest shit ever? When the beat drops on “Runaway.”

11:30PM

  • You’ve been putting up with my shit for just way too long. I’ll recap the rest in the finale!

This had to be the most minimalistic, grandiose show I’ve ever witnessed. The show felt completely ironic. While that may not make much sense in a normal world, Kanye’s world is far from normal. I was wrong about his best song live. That distinction goes to “Touch The Sky,” even without Lupe Fiasco. Also, “All Of The Lights” performed without much light is an odd choice… I digress.

“Sometimes I say something inspirational, sometimes I’m up here just talking shit!”

Kanye understands what his fans want, he believes bigger is better, and he knows exactly what buttons to push at all times. As someone who has seen him grow from the pink Polo and LV backpack into Yeezus, I can honestly say it wasn’t my favorite show of his, but I’ll never forget it. It was fast, it was slow, it was weird, it was loud, but above all… It was most definitely Kanye.

Ending the show with “Ultra Light Beam” was a great choice. That’s especially true when you add in the fact he opened with models with bleached assholes. His set list jumped around his entire catalog, but he performed the most off  The Life Of Pablo.

It was one man, on a floating stage, doing whatever he wanted to do… It was a spectacle, to say the least.

They say he’s crazy, I say he’s an artist… Is there really a difference?

Follow on Twitter: @IamHaganLee

Purchase on iTunes: The Life of Pablo – Kanye West

header image via highsnobiety.com