Kanye West | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Now that he's called President Bush a racist on live national television and dropped a Top 40 single that references the decimating impact of first-world greed on the third world ("Diamonds From Sierra Leone"), it's easy to see why people are pegging Kanye West as hip-hop's new conscience. But on his newest, Late Registration, there's not a hint of abject certainty, grandstanding, or proselytizing. West speaks from an awkward place, like he's going through puberty as he grows from awareness to actualization, and addresses it head-on: "I thought my Jesus Piece was so harmless / 'til I seen a picture of a shorty armless," he raps, later adding, "On a polar rugby it look so nice / How could somethin' so wrong make me feel so right, right?" As many critics have pointed out, Late Registration fits like a puzzle piece alongside Common's Be (which West produced), as both albums seek a sense of resolve: Common squaring off with what it means to be a man, Kanye with what it means to be an American consumer. And since West is now a brand name himself, his questions are all the more interesting. Fantasia and Keyshia Cole open. Mon 11/14, 7:30 PM, UIC Pavilion, 1150 W. Harrison, 312-413-5740 or 312-559-1212, $49.50. All ages.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →