A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire TV Club
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

Kanye West: Storytellers  


Kanye West

Album: Storytellers
Label: Roc-A-Fella

Community Grade (2 Users)

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F

Your Grade


Early in Kanye West’s Storytellers, the eccentric musical mastermind explains that many of the stories behind the songs on 808 & Heartbreak are simply too personal to share—and he apologizes to VH1 for not being more candid. So instead of providing insight into his best-loved songs, West uses the forum to discuss his favorite subject: himself. In an apparent homage to Lauryn Hill’s batshit-crazy installment of Unplugged, West subjects listeners to interminable stream-of-consciousness rants about fame, art, and his career. Ever the iconoclast, an unusually dour West undermines the back-porch, intimate, telling-stories-to-pals vibe of Storytellers ever so slightly by performing in a suit and shades on a bare stage, surrounded by an extravagant light show and a small army of musicians.

West’s performance, which focuses heavily on Heartbreak, seems to violate the entire spirit of Storytellers. He’s one of music’s great shit-talkers, but the rambling semi-stories here are disappointingly dull.  Performances of tracks like “Robocop” and “Amazing” sound tight, accomplished, and polished to a blinding sheen, at least before West goes off on a tangent or painful freestyle. Storytellers should be the perfect showcase for a colorful character and brilliant storyteller like West, so why does this feel like such a mismatch? Even diehard fans will likely have a prohibitively hard time listening to this footnote of a CD/DVD more than once.