LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hip-hop star Kanye West trashed Radiohead and said the public should give Chris Brown “a break,” during a recent taping of VH1’s “Storytellers.”
But the comments will not make it to air when the episode premieres on the lifestyle cable network on Saturday.
The taping, which took place on February 13 at Sony Studios in Los Angeles, lasted three hours. The show’s producers cut it to 90 minutes, after getting network approval to expand the episode from its usual one hour.
Some of West’s choicer comments ended up on the cutting room floor, but there’s no political conspiracy afoot, said executive producer Bill Flanagan.
“A lot of the stories that Kanye told went long,” Flanagan told Reuters on Thursday. “I tried to get to the essence of his comments.”
One of hip-hop’s most intriguing and outspoken stars, West seems tailor-made for “Storytellers,” in which artists play their songs in an intimate setting and share tidbits with audience about how they were written.
The idea behind “Storytellers” is that VH1 encourages the artist “to just keep talking,” and producers in turn will “eliminate any ‘gotcha’ moments” that don’t work, Flanagan said.
During the taping, according to a Reuters reporter, West was aggrieved that Radiohead singer Thom Yorke had allegedly snubbed him backstage at the Grammys five days earlier. That hurt, West told the audience, because he idolizes the British band, and considers it one of his few creative rivals.
“So when he performed at the Grammys, I sat the f—- down,” West said.
A little later, West asked the crowd, “Can’t we give Chris a break? ... I know I make mistakes in life.” He was referring to R&B singer Chris Brown, who was arrested on the night of the Grammys on suspicion of beating his girlfriend Rihanna.
In the same context, West earned loud applause with his declaration: “Michael Jackson, amazing. Michael Phelps, amazing ... He’s a real f—-in’ person; he makes mistakes,” referring to the champion swimmer’s recent bong pipe brouhaha.
VH1 has cleaned up those comments a bit, and it also included West’s less-popular follow-up observation: “O.J. Simpson, amazing. Is he not? What he did, when he did, what he did. Was he not amazing though?”
In between his speeches, West found time to perform 14 songs. Some, such as “Go Hard” and “Street Lights,” will not appear on the episode. The final set list combines older tunes like “Touch the Sky” and “Stronger,” and tracks from his new album “808s and Heartbreak,” including “Amazing” and “See You In My Nightmares.”
Flanagan said he was “pretty delighted” with the way West opened up to the crowd and took the whole project seriously.
Next up for “Storytellers” is a taping with resurrected rock trio ZZ Top in Chicago in a couple of weeks, he said.
Editing by Jill Serjeant