Kanye West's "Runaway" is bait and tackle for fans and haters

"You've been putting up with my shit just way too long."

Coasting up the charts after his announcement yesterday and sidling out of the gate with a beat that Beth Gibbons could eat alive, Kanye West's new single "Runaway" featuring Pusha-T is polarizing, arguably meh, and more ordnance targeted at fans and detractors alike.

Disregarding for a minute West's lack or abundance of talent, people loathe or laud his hubris; the thing that makes him so insufferable makes him fascinating, and that makes him very valuable to many people - none more so than himself. In a cultural landscape that barely registers a wiggle of excitement most days (weeks, months), having someone as flawed and obviously conflicted as West around is a blessing and a curse and at least a stuck-on-repeat car crash we can't drag our eyes away from. And he continues to bait us.

With an opening verse about not understanding chicks and pining for hood rats, we find West in a mood of faux self-effacement. "Let's have a toast for the douchebags / Let's have a toast for the assholes / Let's have a toast for the scumbags, every one of them that I know / Let's have a toast for the jerk-offs, who never take work off." The chorus for "Runaway" is a frog on a fishhook, a salty wink and self-pitying championship targeted at possible boos (and everyone else) to get outta Dodge; something's bound to get fucked up. You've been warned.

Pusha-T, one-half of the nearly two decades extant Clipse, contributes a verse twice as good as West's, which isn't saying much (Kanye: "I sent this girl a picture of my dick"). Pusha-T stays more on message (fuck off girl) or at least gets less shizophrenic than West and quickly scoots off.

So while the song may be lacking or at least not at College Dropout level, their performance of the song on Saturday Night Live last week was stunning. Just don't think about it too hard.

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