Kanye West "Love Lockdown"

Kanye West "Love Lockdown"
I've been pretty comfortable going on the record saying that unlike Kanye himself, I'm not a true believer of his genius. I mean, it's easy to fall for the guy — he's got more charisma than 1,000 George Hamiltons. And yeah, he's also produced some of the best records of the last seven years. But I felt Graduation was uneven and ridiculously overhyped, and certainly wasn't superior to Late Registration, which isn't a perfect album either.

But last night, a funny thing happened as I switched between the U.S. Open Women's final and the god awful MTV VMAs (well, Russell Brand was funny, in a coked-up, awkward, British rock star way) — I saw Kanye's genius shine brightly on the dark stage in Paramount's "historic" lot as the closing act. At first I thought it was just that neat little flashing heart light he wore as a corsage on his lapel but no, it was the fact that 'Ye was actually singing his heart out. And I was in awe.

I think it's no secret that West isn't the world's greatest rapper, or as this performance revealed, the best singer either (even with the help of the magical Auto-Tune), but the debut of new single "Love Lockdown" gave me chills. It wasn't a flawless performance by any means, but the superstar bared his heart and soul over his most minimal track yet, a daring feat to really premier your singing voice. It featured a deep, pulsating bass line, a simple piano riff accentuating his vocal melody and a series of marching drummers delivering a pummeling beat when he reaches the chorus.

After the show, West posted on his blog that he "wrote [it] a week and a half ago," and that it's his "favorite song 2 date!! Go where your heart takes you..." I can't agree more with the guy. It sounds like he had an epiphany, one that will provide us with his best album (possibly titled Good Ass Job, and possibly out by the end of the year) to date.

And apologies for using live video footage, but that's all there is at the moment until Kanye leaks the single himself, which is supposed to be today through iTunes. Go buy it once he does because I can imagine it sounds so much better with all of the studio corrections to his vocal imperfections.

Update: You can hear/download the studio version of "Love Lockdown" here.