Kanye West did several things when he appeared as the musical guest on last night’s Saturday Night Live season premiere.
One of those things got considerably more press than the others: while the credits began to roll, a time in which SNL actors and guests generally embrace, high-five, and engage in genial small talk, West decided instead to break into a third song, “Ghost Town,” and give a speech in which he doubled down on his controversial support for President Donald Trump.
The speech went on for several minutes but was cut for time on the television broadcast.
That West expressed support for Trump after a week in which his administration did its very best to ram Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault by at least three women, through a confirmation process for a lifetime position on Supreme Court, was surely devastating to many people watching.
But it was hardly surprising. At this point, West’s relationship with controversy, once a novelty, has taken on a dull, routine quality. (In fact, a decent amount of side-eye might be given to SNL for attempting to lambast Kavanaugh in its cold open while simultaneously giving a platform to someone who has, in recent months, become known for wearing a Make America Great Again hat.) Such a speech seemed inevitable, and no one seemed more bored when it was happening than West himself.
But West did at least one thing that he seemed to enjoy. He sang his song “I Love It” with Lil Pump while dressed as giant bottle of sparkling water.
One thing that seemed abundantly clear is that West seemed to be having a lot of fun while wearing a water bottle suit — something that did not appear to be happening during his unhinged MAGA speech.
As for whether or not this performance was good, well, that probably depends more on one’s personal preference than anything else. (As one YouTube commenter said, “Didnt [sic] know if this was a skit or a performance.”)
West can do whatever he wants. But, judging by his embrace of the love he’s getting for “I Love It” (the song broke YouTube’s world record for streams in its first week), West is about as ready as we are to embrace the lighter side of life.
Later, on Sunday, West dropped a note for the haters on Instagram. Along with a photo of himself in his MAGA hat (while sitting on a private jet), West explained that he feels the logo "represents good and America becoming whole again." He followed that up with some very troll-like language about outsourcing jobs and factory work that was very similar to Trump's talking points, then segued right into suggesting we abolish the 13th Amendment. Don't sweat it, though: Ye says the message is "sent with love."
This story has been updated throughout with additional reporting.