Justin Charity is a staff writer for Complex. Follow him at @BrotherNumpsa.
For fans of the megastar rapper Kanye West, much has happened in the past couple weeks. The past 24 hours, especially, have been a wonderful hell of provocative tweets, bad blood, red herrings, and false starts. In a sense, Yeezy Season 3—the greatest album listening session of all time; and a parody of runway aesthetics, at least as far as I could see—was the ideal culmination of all these shenanigans. “Yeezy Season 3 Was Like Dying and Going to Fuccboi Heaven,” read a remarkable headline from The Cut.
With just a couple hours notice, my editors sent me to this pop-up heaven at Madison Square Garden, where Kanye West was scheduled to debut his new adidas fashion line while also premiering his new studio album, The Life Of Pablo. At Complex, I work with a team of writers and editors who, due to our crowdsourcing of tickets, were all scattered across the venue, assigned to various sections of the arena. My man Chopz was in the pit. Nostro was down front. I was up in a catered suite.
I introduced myself to a few strangers and mixed a single ounce of vodka into a 20-ounce Diet Coke. I ate a fistful of kale and parmesan as the full Kardashian clan and Kanye West entered the building. I eyed the foil-wrapped sandwiches catered by David Chang’s chicken-sandwich shop, Fuku, and took a seat at the bar. Kanye’s laptop concert began.
It was after track two, “Father Stretch My Hands,” that I decided to stop pretending that kale was going to be enough to fuel me through this monumental moment with Lord Yeezus. I unwrapped the Fuku sandwich and bit an inch into the chicken, which was hot. On the second bite, I crunched a couple of pickles that were even more delightfully crisp than the chicken thigh’s fried skin, stained red with spicy seasoning.
You know how this goes: I ate the rest of the sandwich and then felt full enough, but not quite satisfied, especially as the minutes passed. I mixed a second ounce of vodka into another bottle of Diet Coke. I ate another Fuku chicken sandwich and then, as Yeezy Season 3 disintegrated into a series of loud Macbook notifications and Soundcloud malfunctions, I grabbed a third to go.
With work to do and a deadline in mind, I walked back up to the Complex offices. Per my assignment, I sat down to write 1,100 words about Yeezy Season 3 while eating my third and final sandwich. For Complex, I wrote that the first two songs that Kanye played happened to be the strongest songs on the Madison Square draft of The Life Of Pablo, which drags in the middle.
David Chang jumped nine-stories over the Yeezy Season 3 extravaganza at a sold-out, 18,200-seat arena with just one hot chicken sandwich.
But as my quick-fire first take marinated overnight, something dawned on me: Those two tracks, “Ultra Light Beams” and “Father Stretch My Hands,” also happened to be the only two songs I heard before eating the first Fuku sandwich. Is it possible, then, that my delight upon consuming a good-ass chicken sandwich and my delight upon hearing some good-ass music for the first time—compounded by the dull effect of my vodka’d-up soda—produced some internal conflict of interest? After track two, I was no longer comparing The Life Of Pablo to previous albums made by Kanye West, or to my life experiences prior to consuming that wonderfully spicy sandwich. I was casting T.L.O.P. against the standard set by this mythical meal.
David Chang jumped nine-stories over the Yeezy Season 3 extravaganza at a sold-out, 18,200-seat arena with just one hot chicken sandwich. If only Pablo, the alter-ego fiction, could’ve tasted it himself. Pablo might’ve wept.
I’ve never seen the Mona Lisa. I wonder: If I were to stand there, underground, staring at that masterpiece while sucking on the greatest milkshake ever mixed, or biting into the Platonic form of a chicken sandwich, how might I simultaneously defer the art on the wall? In reality, I’m spared from such a crisis by the Louvre’s custodial policies, which prohibit food and drink.