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MTV VMAs: Kanye West, Jay-Z remind everyone they released album

August 28, 2011 |  6:49 pm

Kanye West and Jay-Z at 2011 VMAs
Kanye West and Jay-Z were the big early MTV Video Music Awards surprise, although the appearance was leaked/tipped the media long before the show began. Walking out to a sample of Otis Redding's “Try a Little Tenderness,” Kanye and Jay did little with the soul classic on record and little more live, simply adding some pyrotechnics.

It was, however, something of a low-key performance for a song about little more than being rich. Sure, the denim worn by the rappers was likely designer, and Kanye and Jay didn't exactly go the humble route, performing in front of the American flag, but the performance was largely about the give-and-take between the two superstars. That'd be all fine and dandy if the two had anything to say in "Otis," which Kanye declares as "luxury rap."

Not really, as the spliced Redding sample is rather rudimentary, and there's nothing luxurious about reminding much of recession-stricken America that few will ever know the wealth of owning more than one Mercedes-Benz. Yet the appearance did serve as reminder that the recently released "Watch the Throne" was a wasted opportunity between two of rap's strongest talents.



-- Todd Martens

Photo: Kanye West and Jay-Z perform on the MTV Video Music Awards. Credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters