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It's not as simple as just not wanting to be wack ...



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Rehearsal is not going to be pretty ...



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"The man has a lot of courage and speaks for millions of us" ...





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Another track that just screams to be performed loud and in front of large audiences, what with its drumline thump, horns and choir sound, is Late Registration's "Crack Music." Walking past the speakers during rehearsal you kind of feel what NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb must be going through as he nurses his injured sternum. The bass feels like a 350-pound linebacker just dropkicked you in the chest as the record plays with Ye's recorded vocals pounding through the arena. "That's the crack music n---a, that real black music n---a!"

To the untrained ear, at rehearsal it sounds like "Crack Music" is going to be a definite highlight during the show. To the ear of Kanye West, however, it sounds like all supporting performing parties need to work harder and tighten up. When things don't go how he wants them to, eventually he just pulls "Crack Music" from the opening-night lineup.

"We have to pitch it a little bit. It was a little off-key. We gonna try to get it right for the fans, though."

"We have to pitch it a little bit," West would explain the next night. "It was a little off-key. It has so many instruments, when it's clashing, it irks me. We gonna try to get it right for the fans, though."

Not even 15 minutes into rehearsal, Ye is irked again.

"Can you please stop the video and replay it with the audio?" he says, pacing back and forth onstage while viewing a short comical video that will kick off the show. "Stop! Soundman, are we attempting to do this? Is there something else I should know?"

Still agitated, Kanye then looks down from the stage to a small group of people sitting in the front row, including his publicist and his G.O.O.D. Music artist GLC.

"Y'all gonna have to leave," he says in the most polite voice he can muster.

The stage director then gets on the microphone and says that anyone who's not performing in the show will have to go. As everyone makes their way to the exits, Kanye resumes rehearsal, and will keep at it for another couple of hours.

And then the smoke clears. The time for rehearsing is done. No do-overs, no room for "my bads." Ye is going live in front of a few thousand people in four hours. But everything is calm now. There's no shouting, no screaming. The only thing Kanye is upset with is how terrible "The Transporter" DVD was, and how he wasted some precious downtime watching it.

After opening acts Fantasia and Keyshia Cole perform their sets, Kanye's mother, Donda West, pops up backstage wearing a sweatshirt that reads "Hey Mama" on the chest. But perhaps most surprisingly, Mr. Never Scared himself, filmmaker Michael Moore, shows up. He loved how Kanye gave it to President Bush on live TV during NBC's hurricane-relief telethon, and came all the way to Miami to meet Kanye for the first time and personally express his admiration.

"I just couldn't believe it, I was blown away. He was just speaking from the heart and everybody felt it." -- Michael Moore

"The man has a lot of courage and speaks for millions of us," Moore says of West's "George Bush does not care about black people" comment. "I just couldn't believe it, I was blown away. He was just speaking from the heart and everybody felt it. You can tell by tonight, that's why he's in this world. Especially when we see something going on that's not right. In the position he's in, he didn't have to say anything because he's made it. But that's not his attitude, his attitude is 'I've made it and I'm not going to forget where I come from. I'm gonna be there for the people.' "

And Kanye is there for the people on opening night. By the time he steps offstage after performing his closer, "Diamonds From Sierra Leone," his all-white suit is so drenched with sweat it looked like he took a dip in Biscayne Bay. He gave everything he could on the stage.

After the show, Kanye receives an A-plus from one of his former teachers.

"I was telling him I'm proud of him and he's doing some wonderful things," Common says. "He's doing some things that's inspiring. It was that brotherly love. It was one of those moments. I was telling him he's about to light up. That was the first show and that was incredible. I know [the tour] is just gonna get better."


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