Kanye West And Ty Dolla $ign's "Vultures" Experience At Rolling Loud Was All About Missed Potential

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The listening party left fans underwhelmed after such a dramatic build-up.

Kanye West is an artist who's always been able to see the value of a great performance. His career is full of legendary on-stage moments from his rendition of "Hey Mama" honoring his late mother at the 50th Grammys, to him and Jay-Z unpacking a Watch The Throne classic 12 times in a row in Paris, to his brief rekindling with Drake for a special Larry Hoover Benefit show. In the past 10 years of his career, however, he's become a fan of the listening party.

But despite assumptions the iconic moments haven't slowed down a bit since. The unveiling of his Yeezy Season 3 collection alongside the debuting of material from The Life Of Pablo is one of the most recognizable moments of his career. A few years later he captivated fans all over again with a trio of DONDA listening experiences preceding the album's release. Fans watched early material transform over time and shared in the surprise as artists like DaBaby and Marilyn Manson appeared. All of that is to say that a special VULTURES listening party at Rolling Loud Los Angeles was rife with potential to be his next legendary moment. Despite all of that potential, West delivered a night that won't exactly enter the textbooks of rap history.

Kanye West's Underwhelming Evening

Credit: Frankie Perez @sketchyfrankie

To start, many of the fans in attendance were fully expecting a performance instead of just a listening party. Rolling Loud itself didn't exactly build up expectations for a live performance, but they were also careful about their wording. "Vultures headlining," and "Vultures live" were used to describe the set. For fans paying attention to West's recent run of shows it was easy to connect the dots, but it's clear that many others came in expecting a more conventional concert.

Those disappointed fans got the chance to express themselves in the comments of a Rolling Loud post about the show. Underneath pictures of the duo on-stage attendees shared their thoughts. "I’m grateful to see Kanye Live but this was probably his worst performance ever" one of the top comments on the post reads. "This should’ve just been a Fortnite concert" another agrees.

Fans React To Kanye West's Rolling Loud Set

The bulk of Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign's "VULTURES" show was similar to many of the other recent listening parties. It got underway around 40 minutes after the scheduled start time, which felt early by West's standards. The pair made the long walk onto a stage in the center of the crowd sporting ski masks and black jackets. The stage itself sat underneath a dome-like pair of crisscrossing beams. They served as overhead lighting throughout the performance while massive smoke machines covered all the artists on stage in a thick mist.

As you'd expect, the listening party was a star-studded affair. Among the least surprising guests was North West, who brought a group of friends along sporting matching Vultures shirts to dance to her now beloved guest verse on "TALKING." Despite being an expected addition the adorable moment was undeniably one of the highlights of the night. YG was also there which was unsurprising as he's performing at the festival alongside Tyga at the festival on Friday.

A High-Profile Guest List

Credit: Frankie Perez @sketchyfrankie

Throughout the night numerous guests joined. Freddie Gibbs marked the first surprise appearance of the night and fans erupted when he came on stage to mime his standout verse on "BACK TO ME." Additionally Quavo, Rich The Kid, and Bump J were all in attendance for their appearances on various VULTURES cuts. Though the crowd was excited as guests emerged on stage, the allure of seeing a surprise collaborative performance didn't quite transition into a listening party.

As the set went on, more and more attendees appeared to realize that they weren't there for a performance. Compared to viral videos showing seas of hyped crowds at Rolling Loud the demeanor of the audience felt stuck in a permanent state of anticipation. Throughout the night the DJ pulled a classic live performance move and cut out memorable refrains from various songs to let the audience's singing take over. But it was impossible not to notice throughout the night that the enthusiasm was fading.

A Series Of Unfortunate Teases

Credit: Frankie Perez @sketchyfrankie

West and Ty left the stage after around 40 minutes with their performance failing to reach the 9:30 time promised despite getting off to a late start. Around 30 minutes into their set, in full view of the crowd, the pair both dramatically removed their masks and headgear on stage. It would have been the absolute perfect time for them to pick up a microphone and surprise the crowd with an actual performance. But it never came to be and the pair departed the stage after playing shortened versions of every song from VULTURES 1 and the previously debuted Backstreet Boys-sampling "EVERYBODY."

What followed was unfortunately the crystalizing moment of the entire evening. Following a 5 minute interlude where fans waited in bulk for some kind of encore, the crowd erupted in cheers as "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" came on over the speakers. The expectation of the audience was clear, West would come back out and finish his set with a few classics, but that never happened. As one hit after another came on over the speakers, "Flashing Lights," "Runaway," "Fade," and more, fans slowly realized that the show was over.

One of the most fascinating features of Rolling Loud's main stage is that planes fly shockingly low overhead as they land at LAX. It happened throughout the night and fans repeatedly pointed their cameras at the passing aircraft in bulk as they soared by. Around 10 songs deep into the DJs set following West's exit the Watch The Throne classic "Otis" came on the speakers. Just as the song shifted into the intense final verse yet another plane passed overhead, shortly followed by West's lyric "Can't you see the private jets flying over you." Had he been performing the track live, the moment could have been yet another instantly timeless entry into Kanye West's career. Instead fans were left with the perfect lasting image of the VULTURES Rolling Loud set. Watching an accidentally brilliant moment fall short of its potential as more and more of the fans in attendance began shuffling away from the empty stage towards the exit.

About The Author
Lavender Alexandria is a music and culture journalist based in Los Angeles, California. She’s covered dozens of musical genres and styles from the most mainstream to the most experimental and underground on her blog and accompanying YouTube channel that looks at music, pop culture, and Billboard charts since 2017: Lav’s Music Corner. Lavender has produced editorial and listicle content both in written and video form over the past far years and has also interviewed up-and-coming artists like Censored Dialogue. Her experiences covering culture have taken her from Hyperpop parties in LA to underground rap shows in Atlanta, to DIY punk shows in Charlotte. Lavender has also written for iHeartRadio, covering some of the biggest artists in Hip Hop such as Ice Spice, Drake, Doja Cat and Cardi B. She also has bylines with ScreenRant and continues to write for Ringtone magazine. Lavender is a lifelong Charlotte Hornets fan and her favorite rap artists include Clipping, Little Simz, Earl Sweatshirt, and Kendrick Lamar.