VMA performance shows that Kanye has changed

Logan Mcdonald

“Yo, Taylor. I’m really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”

It was a full year ago when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best female performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards. The next day, media outlets had a heyday demonizing Kanye for ruining the 17-year-old’s speech. Even President Barack Obama took a shot at him by calling him a jackass. I want to say that I was surprised or appalled by his Hennessey-fueled rant, but West’s track record for saying stupid things and acting up go pretty far back.

First there was the “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” comment on a live Hurricane Katrina benefit. Then there were the Grammys rant and the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards and 2007 VMA incidents and then there was well, you get the picture. Each time you would think he was growing a bit with public apologies on his blog and Twitter, just to have him go and do the same damn thing again.

Last year, Kanye starred in Spike Jonze’s short film “We Were Once a Fairytale,” in which he portrayed himself as a belligerent drunk that continued to embarrass himself. Maybe he was showing a bit of self-awareness by doing this role? Jump several months later to the VMAs incident with Taylor Swift. Nope. Insert witty line about life imitating art.

By this point a lot of people were getting fed up with his childish behavior, myself included. Who else goes from rapping he’s the greatest artist in the world to acting like an angsty teen then goes back to singing about his designer furniture then goes back to throwing a tantrum? I can’t imagine anyone else other than Kanye West that is so headstrong one moment and completely doubt-stricken the next.

The 2010 VMAs aired Sept. 12 and it’s no surprise that there were live performances by both Kanye West and Taylor Swift as a nod to last year’s incident. Taylor performed her song “Innocent” first. With lines like, “32 and still growing up now,” and, “who you are is not what you did,” it’s pretty obvious that her song’s lyrics were aimed directly at Mr. West.

To close out the show, Kanye performed his brand new song “Runaway.” In the same vein, or should I say vane, as Swift’s lyrics, his were directed at himself. Throughout the song, he facetiously toasts assholes, douchebags, scum bags and jerk-offs, referencing the name-calling he has incurred over the last year. Finally and for once he seemed to understand the consequences of his actions while maintaining his larger than life persona.

Of course, a celebrity-entertainment-industry-invented rivalry between Kanye and Taylor that was built up over the past year got hyped up after the show aired. Several news outlets tried to pose a “Kanye vs. Taylor: who won?” scenario. They were and still are missing the point. Both of the performer’s songs showed that they were over it and were looking toward the future, which leaves us with the question: Where’s Kanye going to go from here?

He’s paid his penance, yet again. His new album, “Dark Twisted Fantasy,” comes out in a couple months. From what has been released on his website, Kanye’s most recent work sounds like he’s in prime form. From his VMAs performance, he looks like he’s making his way back to the top. I honestly think that Kanye West has changed and is done with that whole storming-the-stage phase of his life. Maybe I’m just another sucker falling for yet another empty gesture by a loud-mouthed public figure, but for now I’m cheering with Ye.