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Kanye West shows his 'power' on 'SNL'

Kanye West closed out the MTV Video Music

Kanye West closed out the MTV Video Music Awards with a performance at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. (Sept. 12, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Kanye West sure knows how to get people talking, even when he doesn't do anything controversial.

His "Saturday Night Live" performances were visually stunning, shot in front of an all-white background that was then super-saturated with white light, making him and his troupe of ballerinas stand out even more.

On "Power," he changed the "SNL"-dissing verse to convey a far deeper idea about bucking the system and "disestablishmentarianism," turning graciousness to his hosts into an actual artistic improvement. (He Tweeted before his performance, "Just saw Lorne Michaels ... uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum .... Akwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard LOL!"

"Runaway," with Pusha T, became even more potent than its unveiling at the MTV Video Music Awards. It takes guts to stand alone with essentially the same technology that millions of kids had in their bedrooms in the '90s, that cheap Casio synthesizer with the four sampling pads, and use it as the centerpiece of a 21st century professional performance, but West is a risk-taker.

All those risks have been paying off lately, especially when they're teamed with a whole lot of planning. "Runaway," for example, is now available on iTunes to take advantage of all the buzz the performance has been getting.

West Tweets that he's rushing to finish his album to release it as soon as possible to battle further leaks. Judging what he's shown so far, it can't come soon enough.

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