Kanye West has never been shy about voicing his opinions, especially when it comes to awards shows.
In 2004, he walked out of the American Music Awards, claiming he was “robbed” in the Best New Artist category (see “Usher, Outkast Clean Up; Kanye Strikes Out At American Music Awards” ). The following year, he promised hellfire and brimstone if his Late Registration album didn’t take home the Grammy for Album of the Year (see “Kanye’s At It Again: ‘If I Don’t Win Album Of The Year I’m Gonna Have A Problem’ “ ). And, perhaps most famously of all, he stormed the stage at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards after losing the award for Video of the Year (see “Kanye Admits To Having Had A ‘Sippy Sippy’ [Or Two] Before EMA Rant” ).
And now, well, there’s another outburst to add to his highlight reel.
According to several sources backstage at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards — and a report published late Sunday night by The Associated Press — West lost it again, this time because his performance of “Stronger” took place in the Palms’ Hugh Hefner Sky Villa and not on the main stage (see “Britney Spears Kicks Off Show, But VMA Night Belongs To Rihanna And Justin Timberlake” ).
“Kanye was watching the closing performance [a medley featuring Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Nelly Furtado] on a closed-circuit monitor, and he started getting upset,” a source who was backstage told MTV News. “He started asking anyone who’d listen why he wasn’t allowed to perform on the main stage. ‘Why did I perform in just a suite?’ he was saying. ‘Justin’s my boy, but even he gets to perform in both a suite and on the main stage? Something’s wrong here.’ ”
According to the AP, West was also upset about being shut out of all five categories in which he was nominated (see “MTV VMA Race Is On: Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Lead Nominations” ). He reportedly yelled, “That’s two years in a row, man … I’m trying hard, man, I have the … #1 record, man.”
AP also reported that West claimed he would “never return to MTV.”
West’s frustration apparently carried over into Monday (September 10), when he continued to vent his frustration on New York’s Z100, according to People.com. He said he felt “betrayed” by MTV and reiterated his intent not to work with the network again. “I wasn’t mad that I just didn’t win any awards,” he reportedly said. “For me, [MTV] made it seem like performing on the main stage was a bad thing, and the suites were just so great. It was my dream when I made ‘Stronger’ to open up the VMAs with a real power performance.”
But West didn’t stop there — according to People.com, he said MTV is to blame for Britney Spears’ less-than-well-received performance at the awards show Sunday night. “They exploited Britney in helping to end her career,” he said. “Near the end, I felt so bad for her. I said, ‘Man, it’s a dirty game. This game will chew you up and spit you out.’ ”
At a pre-VMA concert on Friday, West also expressed his frustration that Spears would be opening the show instead of him, freestyling, “I can’t believe she would perform. She hasn’t had a hit record in years” (see “Kanye West Tells Crowd At Pre-VMA Concert That He Should Open Big Show, Not Brit” ). And according to MTV News’ source, he was claiming the same thing during his tirade.
“He said, ‘Brit hasn’t had a hit in like 5 million years and she opens the show?!?’ ” the source said.
A spokesperson for West’s label, Def Jam, had no comment as of press time.
[This story was originally published at 3:48 am E.T. on 09.10.2007]
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