updated 09/12/2010 AT 11:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/12/2010 AT 11:40 PM ET
Talk about a provocation.
Kanye West got the last word – well, song – at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards – and it was a whopper.
Clad in a bright red suit with layered chains and a plunging black T-shirt, the rapper debuted an unreleased song, “Runaway,” which began with him, solo, plunking notes from a synthesizer before chanting the a self-deprecating opening salvo.
“You’ve been putting up with my s–– for way too long,” he rapped, as the stage filed with ballet dancers.
“Let’s have a toast for the douchebags. Let’s have a toast for the a——s,” he sang. “Let’s have a toast for the scumbags. Let’s have a toast for the jerk—s. Baby, I got a plan. Runaway fast as you can.”
Was it self-deprecating, self-aggrandizing – or both? The rapper earned support from the crowd, who chanted his name loudly after he finished the song.
West’s performance came almost an hour after Taylor Swift performed her own haunted folk song, filled with unveiled references to his infamous interruption of her acceptance speech at last year’s Video Music Awards. Clips of the incident played on monitors before she took the stage.
A week before the ceremony, West Tweeted his apologies to Swift and even said he wrote her a song. “I wrote a song for Taylor Swift that’s so beautiful and I want her to have it,” the rapper Tweeted. “If she won’t take it then I’ll perform it for her.”
Could this be what he meant?