Kanye West’s Hip-Hop Sci-Fi Space Odyssey

Kanye190 Jon Pareles in the NYT:

There is a new yardstick for the size of the universe. It is approximately equal to the size of Kanye West’s ego.

That’s not necessarily bad. Hip-hop runs on self-glorification, the transformation of underdogs into self-invented legends. Sooner or later someone was bound to claim what Mr. West’s show did on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden: that he’s “the biggest star in the universe.” That was not only part of the script but also a crucial plot twist for Mr. West’s headlining set on his Glow in the Dark Tour, a quadruple bill with Rihanna, N.E.R.D. and Lupe Fiasco.

Mr. West’s set was the most daring arena spectacle hip-hop has yet produced, and in some ways the best, even as it jettisoned standard hip-hop expectations. The rhymes, the beats and the narcissism were there; the block-party spirit and sense of community were not. Until the encore Mr. West had no human company on the arena stage.